How do you best display a 360-degree video file on a rectangular video screen? YouTube has an answer.
Among the company’s efforts to optimize the virtual reality experience, YouTube Inc. has introduced a new technology called Projection Independent Mesh. The tool provides a model for how a VR video should be projected onto a viewer’s display. Not only does it map pixels to simulate a 360-degree environment, but it also tries to map them in the best way possible to overcome the limitations of how much information can practically be transmitted on today’s infrastructure and played back on today’s devices.
To start, YouTube has tested different ways of projecting VR video. In a blog post, the company outlines three different approaches: equirectangular projection, cubemap projection and equi-angular cubemap projection, or EAC. In its testing, YouTube has found that EAC projection typically provides the best results. Instead of placing pixels on a rectangular display according to their equal distance on a cube display, EAC places pixels on a rectangular display based on the angular change occurring in the cube environment.
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