Having problems with SteamVR's media player? We might be able to help.

SteamVR added a built-in media player to the beta branch of its software, offering users a quick and effective way to watch local media in VR. Most are enjoying the media player without issue, but others have run into a few problems where it crashes when attempting to play a file. Let's take a look at what might be causing the issues and some potential fix.

How to use the SteamVR media player

Not sure how to opt into the beta in order to access the SteamVR media player? Just follow these steps.

  1. Launch Steam from your Start menu, desktop, or taskbar.
  2. Move your cursor over the Library tab.
  3. Click Tools in the dropdown menu.

    Move your cursor over the Library tab. Click Tools.

  4. Right-click SteamVR.
  5. Click Properties.

    Right-click SteamVR. Click Properties.

  6. Click the Betas tab.
  7. Click the dropdown menu below Select the beta you would like to opt into.

    Click the Betas tab. Click the dropdown menu.

  8. Click beta - SteamVR Beta Update. In our case, we're already opted in, but you should see a download begin.
  9. Click Close.

    Click beta - SteamVR Beta Update. Click Close.

Now that you've opted into the SteamVR beta, you can launch the media player through the SteamVR window.

  1. Click the VR button in Steam to launch SteamVR.
  2. Click the dropdown arrow next to SteamVR beta.
  3. Click Run Media Player.

    Click the dropdown arrow. Click Run Media Player.

That's it! You can now choose which local media files you'd like to play.

SteamVR media player takes time to load 360-degree video

What might seem like a crash or freeze might just be the media player taking its sweet time to load a video, especially when it comes to 360-degree format. If you suspect the video has crashed or frozen the media player, give it a few minutes to work out whatever it's going through. If the video still doesn't play, keep searching for a solution.

SteamVR media player will not play MKV files

One big cause of the problem might be that you're attempting to play MKV files in the SteamVR media player. Attempting to play one of these files might cause the player to crash or freeze, but you'll likely just see an error pop up letting you know that it cannot be played.

To solve, either convert the video file or find a similar file in a different format.

SteamVR has problems playing H.265 codecs

Some users in the Vive subReddit have experienced an issue where videos with an H.265 codec will not play properly in the SteamVR media player. However, videos using H.264 seem to play just fine.

To check what codec your video is using, you can take advantage of a free program called MediaInfo, which analyzes a video file and delivers a long list of specs, including whether or not the video is H.264 or H.265.

Download MediaInfo (free) at MediaArea

  1. Launch MediaInfo from the Start menu, desktop, or taskbar.
  2. Click the Select Multimedia File button. It looks like a music note behind a magnifying glass.
  3. Select a media file to examine.

    Click the Select Multimedia File button. Select a media file.

  4. Click the Change means of viewing information button. It looks like a number of stacked documents.
  5. Click Tree.

    Click the Change means of viewing information button. Click Tree.

Under the Video category, you should see a Format section. In this case, it reads AVC, which means H.264. If this section reads HVEC, the video is H.265.

Examine the format section in the Video category.

Any other problems with SteamVR media player?

If you've experienced any other issues with the SteamVR media player, please let us know in the comments section!