360 videos … What headset? What app? What videos?

Mission of the day: watching 360 videos.

The VR headset

VR headsets 360

I start by rationalizing: I have a smartphone, so no need to spend a fortune in an all-in-one headset (with built-in display).
So I opt for a cheap helmet, but that still seems comfortable enough to be worn for a few dozens of minutes, the Homido.
After my first tests, the result is rather mixed.

The Homido headset is made of plastic, looks pretty solid, but it is a bit heavy and not very practical to use with conventional smartphone applications.

The smartphone

I’m addicted to Apple. So I do have an iPhone.
Thing is I’m not Croesus. So I do have an old iPhone.
Problem: my 5S screen is neither wide enough nor sufficiently powerful to enjoy the optimum reading comfort for VR. The resolution is not comfortable, and the screen is not wide enough to cover the 110° visibility that nature has offered to all homo sapiens who have a set of functional eyes.

Once the phone is placed in Homido glasses, the iPhone is kind of lost in this holder, too big for it. It takes a while to find its right place, so that the image is not blurred. By removing the smartphone to tap on its screen and put it back into the headset, the screen protection of my iPhone ended up fracking. Too bad, but finally, I prefer that it is the screen protection rather than the screen itself.

Assessment: I want to buy an all-in-one headset, with built-in display. Problem: it costs an arm and a leg (and a few fingers).

Cat vs computer

The apps

Once the iPhone in the Homido, I’m in search for a good 360 video app …
The eponymous application to the helmet is not good enough, I give up quickly.
Only advantage: there is no need to remove the phone from the headset to navigate the app, just point the look in the right direction. But the application does not respond well to my wishes (too fast, or off track).
Unpleasant experience, I give up.

To watch my own videos, I opt for the VRPlayer app. First the free version, then the paid version.
I regret that the application does not remember my settings. For each new video, I have to reconfigure: spherical video, VR headphone’s side-by-side vision (the picture is separated into two parts, one facing each eye).
Loss of time and energy.

I try the YouTube app, which already offers an impressive 360 videos catalog (by their number … and mediocrity).
After each video, I have to remove the iPhone from the headset to choose a new video, select the VR viewer and then put the iPhone back into the headset.
Loss of time and energy.

Same story with the Vimeo app, and same conclusion (except for the catalog quality).

In search of quality videos, I download the Arte360 app, from a Franco-German TV channel, well none for the quality of its programs.
The result is the same: I have to remove the iPhone from the headset to navigate the application …

After trying – in vain – to insert my finger into the headphones to reach the screen, my conclusion is: the headset alone, without remote control, is really not comfortable.

360 videos


Once settled the concerns of phone, headset and application, remains the problem of the content quality.
There are thousands of 360 videos, but very, very, very few are worth watching.
Even the Arte360 application, which should offer only Premium videos picked for their artistic quality, is not up to the task.

Finding an interesting 360 movie is a real challenge.
The cinephile that I am can only be saddened by such a statement.
The filmmaker that I am can only rejoice!

*translated by Google*