cbt615 virtual reality takes streaming tv on new path

 Virtual Reality has captured the imagination and revenue potential of streaming TV providers and broadcasters but industry executives warn that it could risk going the same way as 3D TV.


 TV executives at the MIPDoc conference in Cannes in April said that  if the quality and quantity of content does not keep up with  VR technology’s recent hype it could be as hit and miss as 3D.

The CEO of German broadcaster Arte Germany and Arte/ZDF, Wolfgang Bergmann, said VR had huge potential but currently suffers from a dearth of quality content.

Bergmann is one of the few broadcasters actually investing in VR content currently.  “My fear is the hype, technical development and high investment being done all over the world will speed up the whole thing up and the situation overheats,” he said. “We are at an early stage where we should have time to think, experiment, learn and move in the new space.”

Research by Futuresource Consulting in the US suggests the content that people want most in VR is movies and games, with 39% of consumers sampled interested in experiencing movies, 38% in gaming, and 26% in experiencing VR sports.

Facebook and YouTube started supporting 360-degree video last year, and that is where some of the TV players have started their journey to full VR.

Virtual reality has already secured early supporters in Netflix and Hulu, which have announced plans to launch new virtual-reality apps that will give users a 3D way to explore content.

Hulu is also planning to produce original content and curate films for VR platforms, starting with a short film as a bonus feature for series “RocketJump: The Show.”

Netflix has worked with Facebook’s Oculus VR to develop an app for Samsung Gear VR, set to go on sale later this year for US$99.


The app features  a“Netflix Living Room”, which provides a user interface designed for the virtual-reality headset.


Hulu’s VR app, is set to feature immersive 3D environments that will allow subscribers to stream the service’s 2D library as well as original VR content.

“Providing viewers with dynamic environments of their choice and themed around their favorite shows provides a whole new level of engagement, which together with our cinematic VR experiences makes Hulu an exciting VR destination,” said Julian Eggebrecht, Hulu’s VP of device platforms.

Meanwhile Comcast and Time Warner have invested in VR live-event specialist NextVR, and Disney, ProSiebenSat.1, Sky and Participant Media all contributed to a funding round for Jaunt, the end-to-end VR company that creates cameras and VR tech.

Immersive entertainment is only one application of VR with a range of other possibilities and applications across areas including healthcare, military training, architecture, engineering, travel and retail.



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