Written by Kaylee Wood | Last updated: April 30, 2020
VLC adds 360 feature to its version 3.0 to finally make it possible for you to click and drag the mouse over the 360° spherical videos in all directions on computer and mobile. However, VLC 360 not working happens a lot because of the immature techniques, though VLC 3.0 is tested to smoothly play 360 degree videos even up to 8K. So, this guide tries to offer possible workarounds when your VLC is not playing 360 panoramic videos.
5KPlayer, the free 4K UHD video player, has become a professional 3D 360 video player to help you view 360° 180° 3D 4K 1080p 720p HD etc videos up and down, or side by side at will with your mouse on computer.
Symptoms you may see when VLC 360 playback problem is here:
1. Can't rotate the video using your mouse or the arrow keys on your keyboard.
2. Crashes every time when you try to open a 360 video when the resolution is high.
3. Quality of VLC player playback of 360 videos is really bad.
4. VLC can't play the downloaded 360 videos from online sites like Vimeo, but they are played well with 360 effects on the site.
To make sure that VLC 360 is not very powerful and has such problems when playing 360 degree videos, I have downloaded 360 videos from https://vimeo.com/215984568 to have a test. Put specifically, the downloaded Vimeo videos are four different versions of the same video, and they performs well with 360 effects on Vimeo. After playing with VLC, the results are:
The 1366x684 720p version: VLC media player 360 can't rotate the video but shows in normal mode as picture displays below.
The 1920x960 1080p version: VLC 360 not working, can't rotate and drag the video with the mouse.
The 2732x1366 1440p version: VLC 360 also can't pan around the video.
The 4096x2048 4K version: VLC media player plays this version successfully with the possibility to click and drag the 360° video from all directions. However, VLC also performs choppy when handling the high-res 4K video and the image quality is really bad.
To ensure that the downloaded videos are not corrupted or destroyed, I've also used another 360 degree video player 5KPlayer to play these 360 videos. The consequence is that 5KPlayer is fully compatible with this spherical video format and play all the downloaded Vimeo 360 videos HD 4K smoothly with 360° effects. However, both 5KPlayer and VLC can't play 360 videos downloaded from YouTube in my experiment, maybe because the downloaded YouTube 360 videos are formatted in equiangular.
To sum up, all the disappointments of VLC 360 playback problem can boil down to two factors: VLC 360 player itself is not that powerful to play all 360 videos, and the 360 video media is corrupted or is not in the right form. Don't worry, we will try our best to solve the VLC 360 not working error and help you play 360 degree videos successfully.
Solution 1: When the 360 video is not in the right form
By comparing the 4 Vimeo 360 videos mentioned above, the only one that VLC plays is formatted in an equirectangular projection (from the round image to a distorted landscape projection). That is to say, VLC will render the 360 effects from such videos. So, make sure that the 360 videos you downloaded from online or imported from 360-camera should be encoded in equirectangular projection. The 360 videos from some 360-camera can be exported directly to equirectangular, while there seems no good tools to turn the downloaded 360 video into the one that can render 360 effects.
Solution 2: When VLC is not that powerful
Please update your VLC media player when VLC 4.0 download is available. The VLC developer has revealed at FOSDEM 2019 that VLC media player 4.0 has improved the 360 feature a lot to allow for more fluent 360 video playback.
Alternatively, try 5KPlayer to solve VLC not playing 360 videos. 5KPlayer is a brand-new media server that is capable of playing, downloading and streaming 4K UHD 1080p 720p MP4 MKV MOV etc videos and MP3 AAC FLAC etc music. Now, 5KPlayer steps into the field of 360 world and tries to become the No.1 360° 3D video player to help amplify the unprecedented experience to the most. In 5KPlayer's plan, 5KPlayer's 360 feature will enables you to click and drag the 360 degree videos in all directions, play the 180° 3D videos from top to bottom, side by side view 180° 3D videos at will, and even force-activate 360 mode to any normal videos.
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