Virtual Reality Broadcasting Is Here

NextVR partnered with CNN for the first-ever live broadcast of a news event in virtual reality for Tuesday, October 13th’s Democratic debate. All important actions include risk. This major milestone for virtual reality and the future of broadcasting showed that.

We learned a lot from the #DemDebateVR and are sharing some of those lessons with you below in these 5 takeaways.

5 Takeaways from completing the first-ever live virtual reality broadcast of a news event #DemDebateVR

1 Optimize for the best user experience today.

An intersection of HD virtual reality hardware displays and stereoscopic camera capture needed to reproduce life as we experience it isn’t perfect. Yet.

A better experience of the #DemDebateVR would be an addition of techniques:

Overall, one of the most memorable moments from #DemDebateVR was when Hillary Clinton waved at me after Sheryl Crow sang the national anthem. Moments in first-person virtual reality can have personal impact; this moment impacted me in a more personal manner than I have ever experienced when watching media on a traditional screen.

From ConvrgeVR during #DemDebateVR

2 Be aware of the hardware limitations.

NextVR captures all of our experiences in 6K resolution per eye. As the Gear VR displays around 2.5k resolution, with an effective resolution of about 1000 pixels per eye.

  • NextVR image quality strongly correlates to hardware display improvements. As hardware displays improve, so will all of NextVR’s experiences.
  • Live-action virtual reality is not HD today. It is getting better. Much better.

This isn’t the HD on TVs or mobile retina displays. Cellphone displays are crisp, when held at arm’s length. When you have a display 2 inches from your eyes, with a magnifying lens in between, it’s a different pixel game. Our vision’s “pixel density” is far superior to any displays available today (go humans!).

3 Have easy-to-access technical product support.

We learned from the Twitter reactions during Tuesday’s #DemDebateVR. The current Samsung Gear VR and Oculus Home software is dubbed as an “Innovator Edition” for early adopters and enthusiasts, with a consumer-ready Gear VR coming this Black Friday.

Gear VR headsets that hadn’t been connected to the internet in a while produced the most complicated user experience. If someone was trying to tune into the #DemDebateVR on Tuesday as their 1st time using the Gear VR, you may have run into a number of uninstalls and reinstalls.

4 Developers need deep-linking from Oculus Home.

Having a direct link to send Gear VR users right into the #DemDebateVR would have helped streamline the experience. This isn’t yet available, but it’s coming.

5 “Be open, be curious.” — Peter Guber

Lastly, the first-ever virtual reality broadcast of a news event did not happen without shortcomings (Were you stuck at a Coldplay concert?). Despite that:

  • Virtual reality broadcasting is here.
  • And it’s not perfect.
  • One day the image quality will be indistinguishable from reality.

This is only the beginning of the beginning.

What’s Next? Watch the #DemDebate for yourself (or check out CNN’s Don Lemon trying virtual reality for the first time). Reach out to me on Twitter, use the #DemDebateVR hashtag on social media, or respond below.

Follow me on Medium and Twitter, I will be sharing more of my thoughts on Virtual Reality regularly.

I am the Virtual Reality Evangelist at NextVR. I spend a ton of time flying around the world to personally give business leaders their first virtual reality experience. I champion for the best human experience in virtual reality and NextVR technology. Hired as the 4th employee at NextVR, I work at the intersection of marketing, business development, and product.

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