Pixvana, makers of the cloud-based 360 video creation studio SPIN, today announced that their software services—integrated at the core of Valve’s own Steam 360 Video Player—will be launching today into beta. This effectively lets SPIN users publish their VR videos directly to the Steam Store, but more importantly means VR headset owners will be able to browse and watch high-quality streaming content (up to 12K) directly in Steam using their Steam VR-supported headset.

First announced at last year’s Steam Dev Days, Valve’s partnership with Pixvana and cloud computing company Akamai set out to create a VR video player that would let you watch adaptive, high-quality 360 video with the idea of only consuming a fraction of the bandwidth you might normally use.

To do this, Valve integrated Pixvana’s SPIN Play SDK, which enables playback and streaming of VR/360 content in multiple formats via the company’s free and open standard, the Open Projection Format (OPF). While the video player has the ability to chug through multiple types of encoded content including standard spherical video, the secret sauce of offering video at what Pixvana calls “up to 12K VR master at HD bitrates” (mentioned at Dev Days to be between 8K-10K) actually comes down to Pixvana’s own tile format, which streams the content in individual sections to reduce bandwidth usage. Pixvana calls its method Field-of-View Adaptive Streaming (FOVAS).

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Depending on where you look within the 360 projection determines which tile is rendered at its highest quality—a clever trick to deliver good-looking video without having to render the entire sphere at top quality.

“We’re working hard to help all content creators and consumers create immersive experiences that look sharp and feel life-like. We are excited to partner with Valve to bring these solutions to a vast audience so that people everywhere can experience VR’s true potential,” said Pixvana Co-Founder and CEO Forest Key.

SPIN also includes a content management and encoding tool to let users prepare, review, and encode high-resolution mono or stereo content ready for playback on Steam with just a few clicks. If you’re interested in using SPIN, you can grab a free beta trial account today.

image courtesy Pixvana

“Pixvana’s SPIN SDK has been a great asset in our efforts to empower VR content creators and provide an integrated solution for experiencing linear VR content on Steam,” said Valve’s Sean Jenkin.

You can check out a selection of SPIN-powered content on the Steam 360 Video Player directly on Steam, including Fox’s Alien: Covenant VR experience, Warner Bros.’ LEGO Batman: The Batmersive Experience, Rooster Teeth’s Red vs. Blue 360 episodes, The Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Silent Resonance, and more.

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  • Christenh

    “up to 12K VR master at HD bitrates”. Does this mean only the input for transcoding could be up to 12K? What’s the output resolution? What users can actually see by using this player? This sounds like a language game that is trying to hide its limitation and actual performance. After all, both headsets working with Steam can only display up to 4K resolution now.