How to Play 360 Video in VLC

VLC is one of the best open-source media players available today. Recently, the developers released the VLC version 3.0. The best thing about this version is that it supports playing 360-degree high-definition videos and photos. With these videos all the rage online, it is easy to see why this feature is so practical. If you can’t figure out how to play 360-degree videos with VLC 3.0, you’ve come to the right place.

How to Play 360 Video in VLC

What Are 360 Degrees Videos?

A 360-degree video is a high-definition clip captured with an advanced omnidirectional camera. This camera can record a video in every direction at the same time. Photographers often capture videos with many cameras if they don’t have a dedicated omnidirectional device. Then, they stitch the videos together to make a 360-degree video.

Unlike the classic forward-looking camera, an omnidirectional device provides an all-around viewing angle. These clips offer a unique way to capture and preserve the most memorable moments. In this era of endless information search, people don’t have a choice but to capture it with technologically advanced 360 degrees cameras. Most video streaming websites accept 360-degree videos, including YouTube, Facebook, VeerVR, etc.

How to Watch 360-Degree Videos in VLC

Watching a 360-degree video is different from playing standard videos on your phone or computer. You require a media player that supports the format. On a Windows computer, you can use the Movies and TV player, but VLC 3.0 is more streamlined. On the other hand, VLC 3.0 is your best choice if you own a MacOS computer since its native media player does not support 360 degrees videos.

Currently, VLC 3.0 supports Windows 7 and newer versions. Users of Mac should have version 10.10 or later. Click the appropriate installer and download the program file. If you have an older VLC version on your computer, upgrade it once the installer prompts you to do so.

To play these videos on VLC 3.0, follow these steps:

  1. Move to the left edge of the menu bar and click on “Media.”
  2. Choose “Open File.”
  3. Find the directory containing your 360-degree videos.
  4. Double-click the file you want to view first. Another way is to push ”Ctrl + O” keys together to access the same directory.
  5. Select a video file and click it to open.

After opening a 360-degree video file, play it this way with your computer mouse:

  1. Navigate the video clip with the computer mouse by holding down the left button.
  2. Control the vertical and horizontal viewing angles by drifting in the respective direction.
  3. “Zoom In” or “Zoom Out” using the scroll mouse button.

An alternative playing technique entails the arrow keys on the keyboard. Here’s how to use it:

  • Use the “Page Up/Page Down” keys to “Zoom In” or “Zoom Out.”
  • Improve the vertical viewing angle with the “Up” and “Down” arrows.
  • Use the “Left” and “Right” arrows to boost the horizontal viewing angle.

If you prefer a particular display mode, the VLC 3.0 provides the “Reverse little planet,” “Little planet,” and “Zoom” options.

What if VLC 360 Stops Working?

VLC 3.0 can play 360-degree videos vertically or horizontally. Unfortunately, it can refuse to play your 360-degree video clips sometimes. If this happens, you might notice the following weird symptoms:

  • The player can’t rotate your video even if you follow instructions well.
  • Crashing while opening a high-resolution 360-degree video.
  • Poor quality 360-degree playbacks.
  • You can’t play a downloaded 360-degree video from a particular streaming site, yet it plays beautifully online.

If you encounter these problems, check the format of the 360 videos you are trying to play. Theoretically, the VLC 3.0 Media Player can play all 360 degrees videos. However, it might not play every downloaded 360-degree video file excellently. Also, if you play corrupted videos, you will notice that your VLC playbacks have poor quality. If you encounter this problem, try these solutions.

Choose an Equirectangular Projection Video Format

As you download or import 360 degrees videos from an online source, opt only for those featuring the equirectangular projection format. If you prefer recording your videos, then choose this format to improve the rendering of 360 effects.

Select a More Powerful VLC Alternative

If you can’t play 360 degrees videos with VLC 3.0, the cause could be that it can’t handle it. The tool might not have adequate power to play that sort of video. Thus, download VLC 4.0 version and try to play the same 360 video. The 360-degree support in version 4.0(still in beta mode) will probably be more advanced. If pictures and other effects still render poorly, try a different media player that can play 360 videos.

Other Advanced Features in VLC 3.0

Once you upgrade to VLC 3.0, you will realize that it provides 360 degrees video support and other features. Using all these features together can give you the best experience. These features include the following:

Improved Visual Features

The professionals behind the development of VLC made its logo more appealing. Its design appears more flattened than before while the colors look slightly faded. The VLC 3.0 for Mac provides a darker theme and a new menu bar that simplifies your interaction with the tool.

Chromecast Support

VLC started supporting Chromecast in 2014. However, the VLC 3.0 version produced it better and made it available across many platforms. All supported formats can now play on Chromecast. Android and iOS users will find the Chromecast button at the top of the screen when using the VLC app as a playback controller. Computer users with MacOS or Windows should click on “Video,” “Renderer,” and “Scan.” Then, switch on Chromecast if it is off.

4K and 8K Playbacks

Even when using a device that naturally runs on less power, you can still do VLC 3.0 for 4k and 8k playbacks. They will burden your CPU and battery in exchange for the smoothest experience.

Hardware Acceleration and High-Efficiency Video Coding

VLC 3.0 now supports hardware-accelerated High-Efficiency Video Coding (HVEC) videos. Hence, you can use VLC to play non-decompressed 4k videos on Android or another device.


What does a 360-degree video look like?

A 360-degree video includes views from all directions captured concurrently with a single camera or many cameras. It is more immersive and amusing to view than any video you’ve captured with a typical camera.

Why is it that my 360-degree video can’t play on my smartphone?

If you want to play 360 videos on your phone, you need the proper tools. First, download the Google Cardboard app. Then, get the VR Checker app to check if your device has a Gyroscope sensor and 360-degree video support. You need to tune the sensor if it is not working.

Play 360 Videos in VLC 3.0

If you enjoy viewing spherical videos on your computer, you can rely on VLC 3.0. It is pretty simple to download, install, and launch the correct VLC application for Windows or MacOS PC. You should browse the video files directory by clicking “Media” and “Open File.” After selecting the files to play, use your mouse or keyboard to improve your viewing angle. If you encounter issues, try using a different tool.

Have you attempted to play your 360-degree videos with VLC? Did you follow the instructions in this article? Let us know in the comments section below.

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