Vimeo Takes On YouTube, Facebook With 360-Degree Video Support

Vimeo announced the aptly named Vimeo 360 service to let people upload, stream, and sell 360-degree video content. The company also said it would highlight this content on a curated channel, publish lessons to help creators learn more about 360-degree videos, and otherwise support the format.

At launch, Vimeo 360 will be available on the web, Vimeo's mobile apps, and platforms such as Samsung's Gear VR, Zeiss VR One, and Google Daydream. (There's no word on when popular HMDs like the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive will be supported.) Users can also directly publish 360-degree videos with Adobe Premiere Pro and Sony Vegas. All told, it seems like Vimeo is diving right into the deep end with 360-degree videos, not just dipping its toes in.

That's probably a good thing, given that YouTube added 360-degree video support in March 2015, and Facebook did the same that September. Both have also pushed 360-degree video on creators--YouTube added support for live-streaming in the format, and Facebook announced at the F8 developer conference in 2016 its Surround 360 Camera with 360-degree video capabilities, 60fps, and 8K resolution per eye, to complement its software.

Vimeo 360's biggest advantage over its competitors is the fact that it doubles as a marketplace. Video creators don't have to publish 360-degree videos and hope ads make up for their investment in the required camera, software, and other equipment. Instead, they will be able to sell their videos to consumers, allowing them to make some money without having to worry about not attracting enough views to make any meaningful cash via ads.

The service also supports 8K resolution--Facebook restricts 360-degree videos to a maximum length of 30 minutes and 5GB size, which rules out longer and higher resolution videos--and will allow people to download 360-degree videos for offline viewing. As on other platforms, 360-degree videos watched on a PC or smartphone will allow people to look around by moving their cursor or dragging their fingers around the display, respectively.

More information about Vimeo 360 is available on the Vimeo website.

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