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Virtual & Augmented Reality

Innovative streaming improves the reception of 360° videos

Large amounts of data are generated when streaming virtual reality videos. The Fraunhofer Institute has developed a new transmission method to better manage this issue.

29 Sep. 2017

Thanks to VR glasses, viewers can thoroughly enjoy the entirety of 360° videos – something that does not always work, because the user often does not have enough bandwidth for perfect streaming. The videos have to be transmitted in high resolution, otherwise the desired 'being in the moment' feeling does not occur.

A new technique called viewport-dependent streaming now provides a solution, and was presented by the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications (Heinrich Hertz Institute) at the IBC Conference & Exhibition for Media in Amsterdam. It's intended to significantly reduce the high data rates that are incurred when VR videos are being transferred.

To do this, the researchers divide the VR videos into individual frames, which are processed and encoded separately. This makes it possible to display in high resolution only the area of the video that the user is currently viewing. All other frames show a lower film quality. This way the resulting volume of data can be significantly reduced.

The Moving Pictures Experts Group ( MPEG ) wants to use the Omnidirectional Media Application Format (OMAF) to stream the videos; this standard is to be adopted this year and will include viewport-dependent streaming.