How to watch videos on the HTC vive and Vive Pro

Watch 2D, 3D or 360 degree content on your HTC Vive / Pro

We all know that watching a video on an HTC Vive or HTC Vive Pro headset takes your level of immersion to a whole new level.


The real question is how do you watch either 2D, 3D, or Full 360 degree content on the Vive?

In this guide, we're going to go through the setup you need in both the videos and software to ensure you have a smooth sailing experience when setting this up.


The software you need to install

Before we even jump into the types of videos you need to have a great experience we've got to make sure you have the right applications/software installed to get started.


Step 1 - Steam & Steam VR

First off make sure you have Steam and Steam VR setup / configured. If you already have this setup, you can skip to step 2, if not keep on reading.

You need to install the Steam Client onto your PC and create / login to your Steam Account.



Once logged in you can just plug in your HTC Vive headset after which you'll either be prompted with a request to download Steam VR or see a VR icon in the upper right hand of the screen. 

Click it and download the Steam VR addon. After this has been done make sure you have run your room set up, so the headset is ready and raring to go.


Step 2 - The Vive Video App

After some extensive testing, we have found that there is no better free app than the official Vive Video utility.

This utility offers the ability to view immersive, cinematic experiences in standard, 3D, 180˚ and 360˚.



There are plenty of other applications out there that claim to offer a better experience but seeing as this was created directly by HTC's Creative Labs and is entirely free to download we can't understand why this wouldn't be your best option.

When we are ready to use the utility, you will need to navigate to the folder in which your videos is stored. 

Now you have this downloaded we can move on to make sure you have the right kind of videos.


Setting up the videos for use

There are a few different video types that you can use on the HTC Vive. 


We've listed the ones that the Vive Video Utility can efficiently use and included a bonus for streaming,


Watch "Standard" or 2D Video on the HTC Vive

Plain old 2D video can be watched on any regular screen and its almost guaranteed that this is what you currently use on a day to day basis already.


2D video needs to set Vive Video to the following:

  • You can load 2D video  into Vive Video without changing any of the default settings.


It should be able to play straight off the bat on a cinema-sized screen. If you want to watch just regular 2D movies, then we'd also suggest installing Bigscreen which allows you to choose a range of different environments to watch your movie in.

On Bigscreen, you can just play the video on your desktop in fullscreen, and it should show up on the environments screen with no difficulty at all.


Watch 3D Video on the HTC Vive

On your desktop, these videos may look offset and blurry, but once configured correctly within VR, they look stunning and pop out at you.


3D video needs to set Vive Video to the following:

  • Click the eye icon
  • Choose Stereo, either "Over Under" or "Side by Side"


Once set to this Vive Video will automatically change the view to make it 3D. Unrotantly we can't tell you exactly if you'll need to use "Over Under" or "Side by Side" which means you'll need to swap between the two until it looks right.


Watch 180 / 360 Degree video on the HTC Vive

Whilst 3D video is great, you're still viewing it on essentially a flat screen.

180-degree video allows you to look at everything in front of you and slightly off to the sides of your field of view, whilst 360-degree allows you to look in all directions (even behind you).


180 / 360-degree video needs to set Vive Video to the following:

  • Click the eye icon
  • For 3D choose - Stereo, either "Over Under" or "Side by Side" and 180 or 360
  • For-Non 3d choose - Mono and 180 or 360


Watch Streamed VR videos on the HTC Vive

If you haven't downloaded a video or simply don't want to then there is always the option to stream a 2D, 3D or 180 / 360-degree video.

There is an official YouTube app, published by Google that allows you to view content from the platform on your headset. Alternatively, if you don't like the Youtube Videos on offer, you can view content on specific apps like Jaunt VR or Disney Movies VR.

Streaming VR video tips

  • Streaming video in Virtual Reality tends not to be as high in quality, over content you have downloaded.

  • Streamed content has very large file sizes. Make sure you have sufficient download speeds overwise your quality may drop.


What to do next?

It's time for you to start exploring the wonderful world of Virtual Reality videos. To get you started why not take a look at the award-winning nominations for Interactive VR Media / Film of the Year from the VR Awards?


Relevant Feature: Most anticipated, upcoming VR Games for 2018


Alternatively, there are plenty of videos on Youtube to get you started, and Vive Video comes with some demo content for you to enjoy. If you have any questions or need further advice email [email protected]


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