Opera has released a new developer update bringing VR headset support to watch 360-degree videos from the Web. The latest Opera Developer 49 (for Linux, macOS, Windows) comes with a built-in VR 360 player and supports headsets like HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and other OpenVR compatible devices.

The VR 360 player integrated in the latest Opera Developer 49 version will automatically detect an installed VR headset. Therefore, when a user browses a video, a button above the video (next to Opera’s video pop out button) labelled Watch in VR will appear. Clicking on the button will open the video in the installed VR headset easily. Furthermore, you don’t need a mouse or a keyboard to more around the video, and a simple gesture of the head will work. Opera also notes that the new video playback will not only support 360-degree videos but standard videos as well. You can launch any 2D movie or standard 180-degree video through the headset as well. Also, it’s worth mentioning that this VR 360 player does not work with phone based mobile VR sets such as Google Cardboard.

Opera claims that it is the first browser to support 360-degree videos in virtual reality headsets. Earlier, to watch an online video from the desktop on VR headsets, the video needed to be downloaded first, and then opened in a separate player app for it to work. However, with Opera Developer 49, this workaround can easily be evaded, saving precious bandwidth.

Krystian Kolondra, Head of Opera browser, said in a statement, “This is just the first step on the path for a fully immersive and compatible VR experience on a web browser. With the ever-growing resource of 360-degree content from independent filmmakers and major media and sports companies, it’s hard for VR capabilities to keep up with our imagination. To start, we want to make life easier for VR enthusiasts by providing instant VR video playback to your headset without the need of additional software. We will continue to work with our partners to test and support other popular models of VR headsets as they enter the market. Our efforts to bring the best VR web experience will not stop. We also plan to have full WebVR support, once this standard is more mature and ready for great VR content,” he said.

Mind you, this support is still under testing, and if you want to use the in-built 360 video player right away (may be buggy), you need to download the latest Opera developer version from here.

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