One of the big features being touted by Apple is Vision Pro’s ability to play back spatial video captured on iPhone 15. The data miners were right, and Meta has confirmed it with the release of its v62 software: Quest now natively supports the MV-HVEC video codec, stealing just a bit of Apple’s thunder.

Update (February 1st, 2024): Meta announced that, using the Meta Quest mobile app, you’ll be able to upload and playback spatial video captured by iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Max on your Quest headset.

“With this new feature, you can experience your memories and media content like never before,” the company says in a blog post.

The original report follows below:

Original Article (January 29th, 2024): The information was obtained by X (formerly Twitter) user M1Astra, who notes a number of strings found within a beta version of Meta’s app for iOS. The strings that most likely refer to native support for the MV-HVEC codec include:

  • “Immerse yourself in your favourite memories by uploading videos on the Meta Quest app.”
  • “Enable spatial video in your camera settings. {link}”
  • “Upload spatial video” “Spatial video ready”

M1Astra notes there are some possibly related strings that refer to Apple’s spatial video too:

  • “Your videos are ready!” “Your video is ready!”
  • “From the Meta Quest app gallery, upload videos to view them in VR”
  • “Go to the cloud gallery of the Files app in your headset to experience your videos”
  • “Uploaded videos are stored on Meta servers. Your headset will need to be connected to the Internet to view them.”
  • “View uploaded videos on Meta Quest in the Files app Synced media tab”
  • “Cancel upload?”
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Quest users can already view iPhone’s spatial videos, however official support is set to not only make it easier, but more closely align Quest 2/3/Pro’s feature set with Vision Pro.

Notably, spatial video capture is only available on iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max—in addition to the $3,500 Vision Pro itself, which is set to ship out to pre-order customers starting on February 2nd. It’s thought that spatial video will be a more prominent feature moving forward, possibly arriving on a wider swath of iPhone 16 models in the near future.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • Brian Elliott Tate

    It’s worth noting that MV-HVEC isn’t an “Apple technology”, it’s just the open format that Apple decided to call “spatial video” instead of its original MV-HVEC name. I’m not sure it’s fair to say that it was “originally intended for Vision Pro” (though Apple is certainly the ones to make it more popular & include a way to shoot it with your existing iPhone!)

  • Brian Elliott Tate

    “Style” has always been Apple’s selling point. Windows mobile / CE smartphones & Blackberries also did everything the iPhone did when it launched, but function alone didn’t really help their case and keep everyone from still at least wanting an iPhone anyway.

  • WilliamTellit

    A used Yugo can do most everything a Corvette can do… You pay for beautiful styling and incredible performance… Same goes here… No comparison. And I will be able to confirm that Saturday morning at noon. Yahoo!

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      It’s a bit more than style and getting there faster. More like a Yugo vs. a Roll-Royce with tow hitch, winch, and a motor the sales person only describes as “strong enough”. Which can do a number of things a Yugo just can’t do, not even slowly or badly.

      The very high resolution in AVP is what makes it usable as an extra Mac display. The controls completely based on hand/eye tracking plus voice enable application that require also handling real world objects objects, not really possible while holding VR controllers. The very high performance allows effectively running existing productivity apps. And the cubic ton of sensors will enable true AR applications with object detection, something mobile devices are currently only capable by outsourcing it to the cloud, like the (impressive) Meta/Ray-Ban smart glasses.

      Have fun with it.

  • fcpw

    Why not- it’s nothing proprietary. They’d have to expressly not support it if they wanted to.

  • Christian Schildwaechter

    MV-HEVC is used on Vision Pro/Quest, but wasn’t designed specifically for HMDs, and is in fact much older than both.

    MV-HEVC is the “multiview” extension to HEVC/h.265, added in 2014 in the 2nd “High Efficiency Video Coding” spec, which itself is used by all modern phones/GPUs. MV-HEVC is the successor to MVC, the multiview extension to AVC (Advanced Video Coding)/h.264 that is used to encode 3D video on Blu-ray.

    It’s a very efficient compressions scheme. While MVC stores 3D in two separate streams, one per eye, each consisting of full (I-frames) and frames only storing the difference to the previous/next one (B-frames), MV-HEVC additionally stores the second view as D-frames, containing only the difference between the two eyes. Which is generally rather small, and practically zero for objects further away than a few meters. MV-HEVC also stores all data in a single stream, marking frames as primary and secondary view. Existing HEVC capable devices like smartphones only show the primary view, so any spatial/3D video encoded in MV-HEVC for AVP or Quest can also be played without any issues on any phone or computer from the last decade (as monoscopic).

    MV-HEVC has been a video standard for 10 years, nothing about is proprietary, and the videos can be edited in existing software that understands the multiview extension. Apple released a “HEVC Stereo Video profile” document describing their implementation of the standard as part of the developer documentation in mid 2023, so no surprises here.

    • Thomas Kumlehn

      There’s a minor and optional additional feature, Apple added recently to this standard that is meant for stereo3D feature film streaming.
      An extra channel can provide a lowRes disparity buffer that will be used to properly place text captions in space.
      But that may not be needed for family recordings.

    • Marc-André Désilets

      Thanks for taking time to share all the technical info :)

      In the end, when users hands, the mass majority of them won’t really care about how it works.

      Vision user : “My 3500$ apple headset support special videos, it’s amazing”.

      Quest user : “Yeah we can also do that on our headset, it’s pretty much a video with a depth map with a standard compression”

      Vision user : “Your head set is like the blackberry of virtual headset where mine is like an iphone!”

      It’s not a tech or feature talk anymore it’s back to a good old brand fight.

  • Andrew Jakobs

    “spatial video”, pfff, Apple really likes to rename stuff that’s already available. These are just 3D video’s.

    • xyzs

      More precisely, stereoscopic videos.
      But yeah, they are king of entering the competition late and ignore what was agreed upon to set their own rules.
      No way I replace the term XR with stupid spatial computing.

      • VR5

        Spatial computing is more narrow in meaning though, I’m thinking of work and productivity when I hear that term. Or at least email, chat, video conferencing.

        Media consumption and games aren’t what I associate with computing*. So the AVP actually is more than just a spatial computing device, it’s a proper XR device. XR encompasses but isn’t limited to computing.

        *Although you can because technically it is, making game consoles also computers. But that’s not the common usage of the term.

        And calling fixed perspective stereoscopic videos spatial might be slightly overselling them. I’m thinking more hologram, i.e. I can walk around the spatial image. Calling 3dof spherical videos VR is already pushing it, I think if they’re 3D they’re “VR enough” but for monoscopic I prefer the broader term immersive media (which also includes the stereoscopic “actual VR” type).

        It’s clear that Apple wants to use spatial computing/media as their brand and they use it even if under- or oversells the actual product.

  • Lucidfeuer

    I can’t fucking stand those Apple degenerates, if they take people for goons it really mean the consumers they target are the lowest tier of sub-human dumb dumbs of our society.

  • philingreat

    Quest 3 has eye tracking?

  • Hussain X

    I keep fingers crossed MVC video codec support will also be added to Quest, the codec used in 3D blu rays. Maybe even added to PC like on VLC and Nvidia without having to go through hoops to get it working there.

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      Technically the MVC codec is the same as the h.264 the Quest 1/2/3 and even Oculus Go already support. Pretty much only the way data is stored in the MPEG-4/QuickTime container format is changed. So as long as the SoC is fast enough to decode two streams at the same time, even a third party could release a video player capable of showing MVC content on existing Meta headsets, no need from Meta or the OS required.

      Apps like VLC already support alternate container formats like Matroska and either delegate decoding to dedicated hardware or do it in software, allowing for any abominable codec combination. You want 1997 QuickTime 3 Sorenson video with 9.1 channel Dolby Atmos? Here you go! MVC support would be useful to play (easily available) 3D Blu-ray content, but it is not a particular useful format for HMDs in general due to the huge file sizes. I assume that the new D-frames in MV-HEVC are just a form of P-frames, so anything supporting h.265 should be able to handle MV-HEVC with a capable player too, making it an interesting format for transcoding due to smaller sizes and playback compatibility with phones.

  • Ardra Diva

    a shame my lowly, poor, bourgeoisie, you-buy-this-you-get-a-free-bowl-of-soup-or-something, iPhone 14 Pro Max just doesn’t make the cut. Shame, Apple.