PowerDVD 16 gains 360-degree video playback: Here's how it works

The best retail video player has a new feature, and it's very cool.

If you’ve been waiting for the most powerful consumer software video player on the planet to do 360, your patience has been rewarded. PowerDVD 16 now supports panning, tilting, and rotating of 360-degree video. It’s a free upgrade for current owners.

What? You weren't waiting? What's 360-degree video, you ask? I’m with you. I was barely aware of the format's existence before I saw the email from Cyberlink saying PowerDVD 16 now supported it. Google Street View was the closest I’d come. Being able to look up, down, around, and backwards is quite cool; but with Google Street View, it's a bit of a slow and somewhat static experience. At least on its own. And yes, I just complained about yesterday's wowser technology.

360 video is the same spherical coverage concept, except that it’s moving. That makes all the difference because it relieves you of those ponderous navigation duties. All you do is pan and tilt while the action transpires. With PowerDVD 16, you adjust the perspective with either the on-screen control or by simply clicking and "pulling" the image about. It's a silky-smooth experience either way.

powerdvd3608 360Heros

The view aft of the pilot and aircraft.

powerdvd36013 360Heros

The view looking forward down the runway.

powerdvd3609 360Heros

The view to the left.

Not yet perfect

But that silky tilt and pan spoiled me; now I want silky manual movement back and forth in time. You can move about the timeline as you can with any video, but it's comparatively balky and jumpy. PowerDVD 16 does fast forward, but it lacks a rewind function--you can't just smoothly reverse to that glimpse of scenery that you found interesting. Hopefully that's next on the list on the list of upgrades.

The company told me that if there's a 360 tag in the metadata for a file, PowerDVD will automatically switch to equirectangle mode (that's the 360-degree-tilt-and-pan mode). All the files I downloaded for testing required right-clicking and then selecting this mode manually from a context menu. The point being is that this technology is not yet completely standardized.

powerdvd36015 360Heros

Airborne!

Way better than 3D

But why complain about something that's a whole lot of fun, and--unlike 3D (a technology that sounds related, but isn't)--actually offers some benefit beyond titillation. I’m guessing it won’t be too long before 360 degree is employed in orientation and guide videos, not to mention online advertising and the like. I can also see all sorts of entertainment applications, especially in sports. And how about Google Street View?

Note that there are a number of cool demos and downloadable 360-degree videos such as the one these screenshoots came from available at 360heros.com. Take a look.

powerdvd3607 360Heros

Raw 360-degree video before Power DVD 16's equirectangular view was engaged.

If you own any version of PowerDVD 16 (Ultra, Pro, or Standard), 360-degree video playback is available via a free update. If you don't own PowerDVD 16, which, by the way, does the nicest job of rendering video of any software player on the planet, it’s available as a rental for $45 per year, or $15 for three months. The standalone version is $100 (MSRP).

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jon L. Jacobi

TechHive (US)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?