In the coming days, sports fans will once again be hooked to their screens to follow the Winter Olympic Games. This time around, those screens will include a variety of virtual reality headsets, where viewers will be able to watch 30 events as 360-degree broadcasts — including a live feed of Friday’s opening ceremony.
“This is the biggest production experience that we have delivered to date,” explained Intel Sports managing director David Aufhauser during a recent interview. Intel is producing the VR version of the Olympics in partnership with Olympics Broadcast Service (OBS), and then distributes 360-degree videos to 10 broadcast partners around the world.
In the U.S., Intel is partnering with NBC, the official Olympics broadcaster. Viewers can tune in by downloading the NBC Sports VR app, which is available for both Samsung’s Gear VR and Google’s Daydream VR headsets as well as for Windows Mixed Reality headsets.
Anyone who doesn’t own a VR headset yet can also download the app for iOS or Android phones on the App Store or Google Play, and watch 360-degree videos in a magic window-mode, tilting their phone to look around. Finally, NBC will distribute some videos on the web and social as well. Viewing on the web typically still attracts more eyeballs, admitted Aufhauser, but Intel has seen a shift towards VR viewing. “The idea is that fans will graduate from one to another,” he said...[continue reading]