Woohoo, better image quality in VR video really, really makes an impact on immersion and user engagement, and in our relentless pursuit of those goals, we are excited to introduce major improvements to Pixvana’s SPIN Studio and SPIN Play for delivering VR video on the Oculus Go.
Following Facebook’s special re-release of Henry using John Carmack’s latest technology for crystal clear playback in VR headsets, we released an update to our SPIN Play app that implements the same technique for achieving a new level of image sharpness and quality.
From 12K 60fps stereo videos to 2K videos from hobbyists just getting started — we see a lot of video come through our system. Seeing any video now in the new version of SPIN Play playback elicits “Wow!”s from all of us in the office. The compositor layer is one of the biggest leaps we have seen in 360 video playback quality, and it all is in built into our player. This is all possible with the same horsepower, so you can expect the same good battery performance on your Go.
For a quick comparison, we’ve added some images below from one of our 8K sources to give you an idea of the changes, but don’t let that take away the full impact of the effect in headset. These images don’t do it justice. We strongly recommend you don your Oculus Go and experience the difference in VR!
Here is a frame grabbed from inside the Oculus Go headset (approximately the same frame but not quite, as we had to have fleet fingers on a keyboard to capture the as-seen-in-headset-moment) shown with and without the Compositor layer turned on. The “New Quality” image is on the left, showing greatly enhanced clarity. The “before” quality on the right, is commensurate with the best VR video quality that can be achieved on all other headsets in the market whether they be Android or Windows based, as of June of 2018. This is a tremendous improvement, and a sign of yet more great things to come in our industry as hardware and software work together to increase quality and immersion.
Now let’s take a look at more detailed areas of this frame, improved quality on left, “before” quality on the right. Use the slider to swipe between the A/B image, and the thumbnails to change the area of detail. Notice sharper bread, beans, and couch details. All of these make a greatly improved image experience in the Oculus Go headset.
We’re shipping this new high-quality playback for fully immersive 360 degree mono playback at up to 60fps in SPIN Play on the Go, so that your videos will look this good for both streaming and downloaded playback. Our public playlist has been updated to take advantage of this new playback technique, and we encourage our community to take a look! We think you will find the quality to be on par with what Oculus has shown with Henry.
The technique, which utilizes the Oculus compositor layer, allows the player to bypass the typical rendering path and sends pixels directly onto the screen in front of your eyes. In the past, Oculus has referred to this technique using different names, including the Compositor layer, Overlay, or TimeWarp layer.
How your videos look in the headset still depends greatly on the quality of the source and encoding. Shoot your videos in 8K or above, preserving the sources as headsets catch up to be able to take advantage of the extra resolution. For more information on our take on quality, check out Forest’s blog post: VR Video Quality Camera Test – Part 1.
Stereoscopic support with compositor layer playback is working in our labs and will be ready in the coming weeks. We will also bring support to a broader set of Android and Windows-based devices as we continue further testing, starting with GearVR.
Pixvana is fully committed to providing high quality playback to all our customers. As always, our platform makes it easy to upload your own content and stream it to an Oculus Go (and other devices like Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Gear VR, and Daydream). If you haven’t tried SPIN Play on your Go, download from the Oculus Store and try it today!