During the last few months, several VR video players have been introduced to the masses. Some of those may be reviewed on this blog as well. However, let’s start with a deserving player that is quite popular already!
Many users know Skybox from one of their first releases for Daydream on Android. It was one of its kind at that time and you could watch Youtube videos combined into a virtual theater with a large screen 🙂 . The latest iteration on Oculus Quest makes it even better, so I decided to test it thoroughly and write down my impressions! And if you prefer watching your videos in “real life” via Netflix at home instead, you can always collaborate with friends who bought an OculusQuest and enjoy watching videos together in the same virtual room 🙂 .
Skybox VR Video Player for Oculus Quest offers many options to control video playback. So let’s start with them! You can press Y if you want to swap between your headset controls, your gamepad or your touch controllers so you can move around while playing (I prefer using my gamepad). And just like its predecessor Skybox on Daydream, you can easily use it while sitting down whether you’re wearing only one controller or two. However, it does not auto-adjust screen size when worn without a second Dualshock 4 controller which means that you may have to re-adjust the screen size by yourself every time depending on how many controllers are connected.
Since it lets you watch normal 2D videos as well, I decided to search for my favorite show “Les Guignols de l’info” which is a French parody news program. And oh look, there are several episodes available on Youtube 🙂 . As with all 360° content you can either use your headset’s touchpad or the trigger button on the gamepad to navigate within the video. The controller you’re wearing will follow in real-time what your head is looking at. This way of controlling videos felt familiar to me since it works exactly like Skybox on Daydream did before switching to Oculus Quest mode. One small inconvenience when using only one controller though: you cannot stop the video by pressing Y anymore but must instead click the touchpad.
Besides watching videos, you can also stream them from your PC which is very convenient if you’re at home and don’t want to transport the entire Quest headset to watch your favorite movie 🙂 . The player will show up as a window on your desktop so there won’t be any problems watching it with someone else either! As mentioned earlier, you can also control YouTube videos via their website in this mode which has been one of my favorites features when using Skybox on Daydream. Clicking on something like “Watch in VR” when possible makes it even more awesome 🙂 .
Just like its predecessor, Skybox lets you visit websites in virtual reality but this time around it’s much nicer since they’ve added the possibility to browse the web with touch controllers as well. That’s right, no more flicking and scrolling with your headset touchpad! I gave it a try and was quickly able to access Google Maps which allowed me to navigate the streets of Paris using my virtual hand 🙂 . The touch controller will also serve as your mouse pointer so you can easily click on links or menus. And one feature request that I have is for them to add the ability to use the headset touch controller as a laser pointer when controlling websites in VR mode, just like the Chrome browser does for Daydream by tapping twice with two fingers on the touchpad.
In this video player, you’re able to adjust many different settings depending on whether you watch a 360° or 2D video. You can for example adjust the screen size or change the virtual room lighting (while watching 360° videos only though):
For 360° videos, you’re able to play with several options such as FOV (field of view), size and level of immersion:
On top of that, there’s also a choice between two modes where one will be more suitable when sitting down either on a chair or on a sofa:
I guess I should mention the fact that games and apps created in Unity and/or Unreal Engine 4 are supported but keep in mind that not all VR-ready titles run smoothly without stuttering so it’s really up to whoever made them add support for this player. For instance, my test game “SuperStardust Ultra VR” ran very well but my other game “Racket Fury: Table Tennis VR” stuttered a bit more than I would’ve liked. But don’t worry, it still works as expected so feel free to try your favorite Unity or Unreal Engine 4 games and let me know in the comments below if you had any issues with them!
Overall, Skybox has done another fantastic job adding support for Oculus Quest which makes the player even more convenient since it offers additional features, is much easier to transport compared to Daydream headsets plus it’s also compatible with both Riftcat and Trinus VR!