PlayStation VR adds support for 360-degree videos and photos

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The PlayStation 4 will soon support 360-degree videos and photos courtesy of a forthcoming update for the console’s built-in Media Player that will allow users to view 3D content while wearing a PlayStation VR headset.

The update, set for release by the end of the day on Thursday, will also introduce support for FLAC audio while optimizing MP3 and advanced audio coding (AAC) playback quality.

The 3D video and photo support arrives shortly after the launch of PlayStation VR, Sony’s PS4-compatible virtual reality headset. Launching at retail worldwide this week, PlayStation VR delivers realistic virtual reality games and experiences using a camera setup that tracks the position and movement of the player’s illuminated headset.

After installing this week’s firmware update, PlayStation VR owners will be able to view 3D and panoramic content by activating “VR Mode” from the PS4 Media Player’s options menu. After activating the feature, players will then be able to browse 360-degree videos and photos stored on the PlayStation 4’s hard drive or local storage media.

According to Sony, the PS4’s updated media player will support 360-degree videos in MKV, AVI, MP4, MPEG2 PS, MPEG2 TS, and AVCHD formats. The app will additionally display 3D still images captured in JPEG, BMP, and PNG formats.

Also arriving this week is official PS4 Media Player support for FLAC, a lossless compression format that ensures high-quality audio while preserving disk space. The PS4 Media Player previously limited its audio file compatibility to MP3 and AAC (M4A) formats.

Players with large libraries of stored MP3s will also enjoy a boost in overall audio quality following this week’s update, which will introduce audio upscaling powered by Sony’s DSEE HX technology.

“What this means is any MP3s or AACs — files whose space-saving compression strips out some of a song’s subtleties — played through your PlayStation 4 will be automatically upscaled,” Sony explains. “It means your compressed music will now sound much richer as a result.”

Sony’s Media Player update is included as part of a comprehensive PlayStation 4 firmware patch that launches later Thursday in all regions.