YouTube has announced that it now supports virtual reality videos, allowing anyone with an Android smartphone and a Google Cardboard headset to explore 360-degree virtual worlds in 3D.
There is already a selection of virtual reality videos available on YouTube, including the Hunger Games Experience and TOMS Shoes Giving Trip. People can also capture and share their own VR videos on YouTube using technologies like Jump.
However, Google said that Android users can now watch any YouTube video using Google Cardboard, and experience “a kind of virtual movie theatre”, by selecting the new “Cardboard” option from the watch page menu in the app.
“Using the same tricks that we humans use to see the world, VR video gives you a sense of depth as you look around in every direction. Near things look near, far things look far,” said YouTube VR product manager Kurt Wilms in a blog post.
For videos that weren’t originally meant to be viewed in virtual reality, YouTube will reformat the footage to make it feel like you are watching in an Imax theatre. Viewers have said they don’t look particularly different to regular videos, though.
YouTube said the feature will come to the YouTube app for Apple’s iPhone soon, but did not give a specific date.
Earlier this year, YouTube began supporting 360-degree videos, allowing users to rotate the viewpoint to suit themselves.
Users can watch the videos via the Chrome internet browser on a computer, steering the point-of-view with a mouse on on a smartphone phone via the YouTube Android or iOS app.
By tilting and swiveling the screen, users can get whole new perspectives on everything from Icelandic pop pixie Björk to the bottom of the sea to the entire Milky Way.