Let me guess. You recently got some new tech like a VR headset or a new TV with 3D glasses. But, you’re a cord-cutter and typically use Kodi for your bulk of your TV watching. Now, you’re wondering how you can make Kodi work with a VR headset or a 3D TV. Am I right?
Well, the good news is that Kodi has come a long way in its development and is actually pretty capable in the area of 3D/VR.
In this post, I’ll show you how to setup your Kodi settings to work with a VR headset or a 3D TV.
Different Kinds of 3D Formats
Stereoscopic? Anaglyph? Interlaced? Huh? Before we get into it, I wanted to give you a quick lesson on what these words mean.
Stereoscopic is a generic term that simply means displaying different images or videos to each eye, typically with different perspectives to give the user a sense of depth in 3D space. There are different ways that stereoscopic video can be accomplished. Like…
Side by Side
Side by Side is the way stereoscopic video is achieved when using a VR headset. Each eye looks into a different binocular lens to view only half of the screen. It’s sometimes called split screen. The left side and the right side show a slightly different perspective of the same video.
Or, if the source video is in 2D, you can still watch it on a 3D headset using Side by Side, but the left and right would be identical.
Anaglyph was the original way to get 3D TVs or movies. You had to wear the glasses that tint one eye red and one eye cyan.
The video displayed on the TV or movie screen was encoded with the anaglyph 3D effect which essentially overlayed two different videos on top of each other. Both of them would be colored on those opposite ends of the color spectrum so your left eye would only see the left image and the right eye would only see the right image.
Interlaced is the 3D format that alternates each row between the left view and the right view. This is used with passive polarized 3D glasses with a 3D TV that supports polarized 3D.
The polarized panel on the TV makes it so each row is alternating its polarity between left and right. To the naked eye, you can’t tell the difference between that and a normal TV, but when you have interlaced video and use the polarized glasses, your left eye will see all the odd rows and the right eye would see all the even rows.
How to Setup Kodi for a VR Headset
“Ok, Nate… enough with the lesson in 3D formats. Get to the good stuff!” I hear you. Let do it.
Using a Mobile Phone VR Headset
So, for this part, I’m going to show you how to use a VR Headset like a Google Daydream VR, Samsung Gear VR, or really anything that you can pick up in just about any store nowadays. I actually have these. One from Sharper Image, and one that’s generic, probably made in China.
They are both the type of headset where just put your phone inside of it and watch Side by Side 3D/VR content.
Kodi Settings To Enable Side by Side
On your mobile phone that has Kodi installed on it (the one you plan to use in your VR headset), open Kodi.
In this tutorial, I’m using Kodi 17 Krypton. If you have a previous version, I strongly recommend you upgrade since a lot of add-ons don’t work on Kodi 16 anymore. I’m using the touchscreen-friendly default Estouchy skin.
Note: If you don’t see the settings described here, you may need to switch to advanced or expert mode. In the Estouchy skin, you can switch your mode by selecting the settings cog in the bottom right corner. On Estuary, the mode is displayed in the bottom of the left sidebar. Tap the displayed mode to cycle through the modes (Basic, Standard, Advanced, Expert).
- Go to Settings > Player > Videos, and under the Stereoscopic 3D section, set Playback mode of stereoscopic 3D videos to Preferred mode.
- Now go to Settings > System > Display, and in the Stereoscopic 3D section, set Stereoscopic 3D mode / Current to Side by side and set Preferred mode to Side by side.
- Now, start watching a video.
- When it starts playing, you’ll notice that the aspect ratio has been changed to stretch the image to the full height. Ugh.
- To fix this, click the settings cog in the bottom right corner, and select Video settings.
- Set the View mode to Stretch 16:9.
- You should see the video in the background fix to the proper aspect ratio. But, before you close the window, scroll down and select Set as default for all media. If you don’t do this, your setting will revert you’ll have to do it again the next time.
- Much better!
- Now, put your phone inside your VR headset. Make sure it’s perfectly centered, and be sure to adjust the lenses for each eye so everything is focus and it doesn’t make you sick. Enjoy!
2D vs 3D Content in VR
Now you may be saying to yourself, “But this isn’t 3D at all. It’s still 2D video on a VR headset.” Yes, that’s true that my example screenshots here are watching standard 2D video which are a lot more readily available.
However, if you get a hold of 3D content either using local storage or using a streaming service, Kodi should be able to handle that as well. Then, the left and right sides would be different giving you a 3D experience using your VR headset.
If anyone knows of a good Kodi add-on to watch 3D content, let me know in the comments below. Thanks.
How to Watch 3D Videos on Kodi on a 3D TV
This depends on the type of 3D technology you have on your TV, but if you notice the available options when you select the Stereoscopic 3D mode, you’ll see that you can use a few different Anaglyph color combinations, Interlaced, or even Checkerboard (used on some older DLP 3D TVs).
- Go to Settings > System > Display, and in the Stereoscopic 3D section, set Stereoscopic 3D mode / Current and Preferred mode to the mode that works with your 3D TV.
- If you have red / cyan colored glasses, you could use that Anaglyph setting with any TV.
- If you have a 3D TV that has passive polarized or active shutter glasses, Interlaced will probably work for you.
Comments, Feedback or Tips?
I would love to read your comments. Did you run into issues or not get it to work? Is there anything I missed in this post that would help others? Leave your comment below. Thanks!