The Official Blog of Patcoola

Im just a dude watching over my parents,
and trying to make cartoons and video games from home.

My Unhappy Smartphone VR Experience

, By Patcoola

I wanted to try virtual reality (VR) just to see if it was a thing worth the hype. Using the VR Shinecon headset I tried the iPhone 5c and Nexus 7 tablet. In my experience, the problem isn’t in the phone but in content and delivery. My experience with Google Cardboard has been a poor and frustrating one.

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Straight away I’ll tell you this much, the technology is here. VR is a real thing to stay, however, the content has a lot of catching up to do. Their is a serious lack of standards for VR video, and a lack of controls. I spent hours trying to download VR videos online just to fail.

Non optimized video resolutions and compression makes the video far above the hardware’s power which is easily fixable with proper encoding. Many high quality videos were unplayable even on a desktop computer. 180 and 360 video required special software to play. Many video players had too many image manipulation options (hacks), many in which didn’t work for me. I spent hours trying different players and playing with settings, which no one should never have to.

Controls have also been a big issue with Google Cardboard. Most Bluetooth controllers don’t work for all players; and many don’t work due to a change in the operating system that the controller’s maker can’t seem to figure out how to fix. Some applications have a on-screen dot to interface with the application, however, if you’re like me and your headset’s position is all over the place, moving your head is a huge issue.

The start or center position for a head tracking video is never in the right place. I find that when I start a 180 or 360 video, my start position is always in a weird place. I have to constantly turn around to see what I want and videos cutting to different scenes are a huge pain as I have to move again.

Not all videos are VR. The awful truth of videos on the internet is that their not all VR. Most videos are only 180, 360, or side-by-side (SBS) and are not VR. In order to be true VR, the video has to be at least 180 with SBS 3D.

So far YouTube has been the most reliable and dependable source of video. However, I found that the video quality of 360 video is much lower when switched to SBS mode for headsets, and YouTube currently doesn’t support true VR videos. SBS 3D has been really cool with pop out 3D, however, I find some pop out 3D to be very unnatural.

Overall, proper standards need to be in place to improve the VR experience. Recently Google has announced project “Daydream” which may provide such a standard but only time will tell. My VR experience with smartphones has not been an enjoyable one.

 

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