YouTube wants to make 360 and VR videos look more realistic and they'e recently detailed how they're going about reaching this goal, so that they can bring even more immersive and enjoyable content to the viewers who visit their platform for these sorts of videos. YouTube isn't doing this all on their own and is actually partnering up with the team behind the Daydream platform to make things happen, and one of the ways they're improving the realism of 360 and VR videos is through the improvement of projection methods.
According to YouTube, by improving the projection methods that are used they can move beyond some of the hurdles that are keeping them from being able to match human visual acuity. These hurdles are the varying internet connection speeds and hardware capabilities that each user has. While YouTube started with a projection method called Equirectangular Projection because it was easy to work with, in their search for a better method they played with Cubemap and Equi-angular Cubemap Projections, and then they tested these methods internally, finally settling on EAC. They also wanted to test the EAC method in the real world with various users by asking them to rate two different projections without telling them which one was which. Out of Equirectangular, which was their currently used method, and Eequi-angular Cubemap, people often rated EAC as the better projection.
In addition to finding a new and improved projection method to use, YouTube has also come up with an industry standard for VR content that it's referring to as a Projection Independent Mesh, which essentially will allow them to continue improving on their projections and using them with new content. Users will already be able to experience some of the 360 and VR video content that uses the new projection method on their Android devices, and YouTube notes that these experiences will also be available on the desktop and iOS platforms of YouTube in the near future, though they didn't mention exactly when they would appear. While a lot of the details that YouTube described are fairly technical and won't mean much to the average user, or perhaps most users, the end result is providing users with better 360 and VR videos which is great for anyone who watches this type of content.