Opera was the first browser to support 360-degree video and 3D configurators in real time in virtual reality headsets. This new developer update includes an integrated VR 360 player for leading headsets such as HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and other OpenVR-compatible devices and opens up the immersive world of 360-degree video to Opera users.

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VR will change the way we experience the web forever.

The rapid growth of 360-degree video and WebVR is synonymous with an exciting revolution for VR content on the Web. However, with limited software support, VR headset owners found it difficult to use the rapidly growing 360-degree content library on YouTube, Facebook and other video portals.

Previously, they had to use inconvenient workarounds: First download the video, then spend time finding a “download” button and waiting for the download. Then quit your browser and launch a separate player app. It wastes time and bandwidth blindly downloading a video.

Opera wants to offer its users the best web experience. For this reason, the browser developer has begun to focus on creating and embedding direct VR playback in the browser. This functionality allows users to view VR videos and standard 2D videos directly from their VR headset.

A seamless VR video streaming experience.

The latest Opera developer version has an activated VR 360 player function and automatically detects an installed VR headset. When a user navigates to a video, a button named “View in VR” appears above the video. A simple click takes the viewer into the 360-degree world of the video.

It is also no longer necessary to look around the video when using a keyboard or mouse. Just turn your head in the direction you want to look.

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All videos can be played in VR.

Opera’s new video playback will support not only 360-degree videos, but also standard videos. You can start any of your favorite 2D movies or standard 180-degree videos from your headset, creating a fantastic, personal cinematic experience.

Opera has worked hard with its UX and design team to create a simple and intuitive user interface that allows VR headset owners to enjoy any number of online videos.

What`s next?

This is just the first step towards a fully immersive and compatible VR experience in a web browser. With the ever-growing resource of 360-degree content from independent filmmakers and major media and sports companies, it’s still difficult for today’s VR to keep up with our imagination.

The following video simulates a Formula 1 race. Try it out in the Opera browser:

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The new features are designed to make life easier for VR enthusiasts by allowing them to instantly play VR videos on their headset without additional software. Opera will continue to work with its partners to test and support other popular models of VR headsets as they come to market.

Opera will continue to work on the VR functionality of its browser. It is also planned to offer full WebVR support once this standard is more mature and ready for great VR content.

Tips & Tricks.

VR equipment and software can be challenging and you can get stuck on a few things. Take a look at this list if you have problems playing videos in VR:

  • If you enable VR playback, but the video looks “funky & unnatural”, this means that you have to adjust the geometry and stereoscopy settings. Video containers do not contain such metadata. Use the display mode controls in the player to switch between 2D, 180, 360, and cube projections and additionally adjust the stereoscopy (none, side by side, or bottom).
  • If you do not have a touch controller, it is still possible to use the VR 360 Player with Oculus. Use your Oculus Remote to show and hide the player interface with one click. When the user interface is visible, a tracker is on its line of sight. Look at the menu item and click on your remote control to activate it.
  • VR SDKs do not always correctly detect whether a VR headset, sensors and controller are connected. It’s always worth using apps like SteamVR to check if your system recognizes all devices and tracks them correctly.

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  • Opera has implemented OpenVR support. If you are using Oculus Gear with Opera, please install Steam and SteamVR to switch from Oculus to OpenVR.
  • Some laptops or desktops with a dedicated GPU may not allow hardware acceleration for video decoding and switch to software decoding instead. It’s about decoding VP8 and VP9 video formats that are mainly hosted by YouTube. Opera has not yet implemented this path, but you can force Opera to use the dedicated GPU of your system. Alternatively, you can force h264 YouTube video encoding with an extension like h264ify.
  • This VR 360 player does not work with phone based mobile VR devices like Google Cardboard.

Other changes and fixes made in this build are the following:

  • Windows: The button “Mute Tab” was displayed wrong.
  • Mac: The folder icon for bookmarks has been updated in the bookmarks bar.
  • Mac: The selection of the internal / dedicated GPU support was aborted.
  • MacOS High Sierra: Exit fullscreen – black line between tab and menu bar.
  • Allow Ctrl+C while capturing the screen to copy the selected items.
  • Show the spinner while the wallpaper is being installed.
  • Correction for animated wallpapers in the last wallpapers section.
  • Update the VPN icon in the address bar.
  • Correction for pop-up blockers.

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