First 8K 360 YouTube Video Features a Striking Time Lapse of Dubai


Dubai360, a studio dedicated to bringing high quality 360 still images and videos of Dubai, has released a number of staggeringly good 360 videos that boast 8K quality.

Their first of many 8K videos shows a 24-hour time lapse featuring an impressive visual contrast above Dubai International Airport, the world’s busiest airport for international traffic.

With early consumer-level contenders like HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift both featuring 1080×1200 per eye resolution, and 4K televisions barely a foot in the door (let alone 8K), 360 studios are stretching the limits when it comes to video quality—and for an important reason. 360 degree video is begging for it.

VR enthusiasts have long gripped about the low quality of HD video when viewed in 360, which is in part due to the way 360 video essentially stretches the image around—making apparent resolution seem much lower than advertised.


You can download the video by getting any number of HD YouTube video downloaders and plugging in the URL. As a result, it’s possible to watch it with a DK2, and although the headset’s 960×1080 per eye resolution can’t fully capture the 8K video’s clarity, super sampling does provide noticeable benefit. For this method we suggest using Virtual Desktop to watch any locally stored 360 film, but be advised: a powerful setup is recommended to achieve the best results.

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Update: Readers have brought it to our attention that the 8K version of the video is not playable on Virtual Desktop at this time, but the 4K version currently is. This was due to an unfortunate slip-up I made mistaking the 4K version for the 8K version of the video after having ripped both from YouTube. No 360 player we currently know of can replay the full resolution video. If you know of one that can handle 8K, leave us a comment below!

YouTube supports side-by-side viewing for Android devices (and soon stereo 3D 360 video) but apparently the resolution is locked at a maximum of 1440 (2.5K). If You know any way to get around this, leave us a comment!

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  • love2scoot

    Actually, 8k may be totally sufficient for now (and maybe for one more HMD generation).

    Here’s my logic around this:
    CV1 given FOV = 100deg diagonal (approximated)
    Per eye display ratio of 9to10 (1080H to 1200V)

    * Non-stereoscopic video per eye
    * Square pixels

    horizontal FOV = 66 2/3deg
    vertical FOV = 74deg
    (Checking math: 66.666^2 + 74^2 =~ 100^2)

    Breaking this down:
    8k = 7680×4320 @ 360deg FOV
    CV1 / VIVE= 1080 @ ~66 2/3deg horizontal FOV
    CV1 / VIVE= 1200 @ ~74deg vertical FOV

    8k has 7680/360 = 21 1/3 pixels per degree horizontal resolution
    8k has (4320 x 2)/360 = 24 pixels per degree vertical
    HMD has 1080/66.666deg = 16.2 pixels per degree horizontal resolution
    HMD has 1200/74deg = 16.2 pixels per degree vertical resolution

    So, with 8k video we actually have an average pixel density per degree
    32% higher horizontally
    48% higher vertically
    than the HMDs currently on the market.

    So even if the next gen HMDs increased display resolution to 1440×1600 (while maintaining FOV and aspect ratio) we would still approximately see a 1:1 pixel ratio of video to display density.

    The unknown aspect of the above is how the video is ultimately stored. Obviously square video applied to a sphere requires some significant distortion, which is why the 360video we see within YouTube is distorted. So if the distortion on any *portion* of the video is greater than 33% compression, then when this video is applied to the sphere (and the distortion corrected) than that portion of the video will actually have less than 1:1 resolution when viewed through the CV1/VIVE.

    That said, since we actually need less information at the bottom and top of the sphere and the most information at the “equator”, the distortion of the image may actually be *gaining* us resolution by allocating the video proportionally to the sphere. In this case we would get more pixels at the equator of the sphere and fewer pixels for each ascending latitude, but comparable quality across the entirety of the sphere. In this case, we would actually have even higher density video which would give us even more headroom for growth before we hit the 1:1 pixel ratio of video content pixel to display pixel.

    Does anyone have access to the distortion modelling used on applying spherical video to a rectangular container? I imagine this is now a standard for how this video is stored on YouTube.

  • sasian

    Damn, 2 years later and I still can’t find a way to play 8k 360 VR videos on my CV1… Frankly I’m not even sure if my 980 ti would be powerful enough to handle it lol