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10 Things You Should Know About VR Streaming

VR streaming services

All the projections and surveys suggest that VR adoption is on the verge of acceleration. Much of that will be down to the impact that VR streaming will have on consumers. 


Here are 10 things you need to know about the impact of VR streaming and its potential appeal.

1. It’s still relatively new

When in partnership with TF1 and several technology partners, we live streamed the France vs Russia friendly soccer match in Ultra HD VR on March 29 last year, it was a world’s first. No sports event had ever been seen that way before. 

VR Streaming - sports

2. The demand is there already

Sales figures for 2016 are still being analysed, but it is estimated that anywhere between 1.5 and 7 million dedicated VR headsets (Sony Playstation VR, Oculus, HTC Vive etc) were sold in 2016. Meanwhile, at CES 2017 Samsung confirmed that there are over 5 million Gear VR headsets in use globally.


VR Streaming - Samsung Gear VR
Samsung Gear VR - 5m units worldwide and counting


3. The delivery infrastructure is also there already

YouTube introduced 360 degree live streaming in April 2016, while Twitter’s Periscope 360 live streaming service launched in December. Facebook Live 360 is rolling out through 2017.

Discover how to deliver premium video experiences and fulfil the VR360 promise

4. The potential audience is massive already too

YouTube’s most watched 360-degree video has had over 53 million views and counting.

5. Virtual Reality vs. 360-degree video

Though the phrases tend to be used interchangeably, there is a difference between Virtual Reality and 360-degree video, in that VR technically includes 3D CGI elements.

6. Amount of cameras

The amount of cameras capable of capturing 360-degree video is exploding all the time.  Mirroring other sectors of the camera industry, it stretches from the €40,000 Nokia Ozo at the high-end broadcast section of the market, to the €180 consumer-oriented LG 360 Cam.

 VR Streaming - Ozo at Obama

A Nokia Ozo in situ at Barak Obama's farewell address

7. VR streaming workflow

The VR streaming workflow has some important differences from that of conventional 2D media, in that more attention needs to be paid to the directionality of the audio. As images are captured from a number of cameras pointing in different directions, there is an additional stitching process that needs to occur before encoding and delivery.

8. VR streaming events

Following our pioneering test last year, the amount of VR streaming events going live is ramping up enormously. Olympic Broadcasting Services delivered 85 hours of live VR content alone to a total of 14 Rights Holding Broadcaster organisations, representing 31 territories.The NBA announced in October that it will produce one game a week in the format. The amount of sports organisations investigating the technology is rising all the time and includes the likes of NASCAR, the NFL, and UEFA.


VR Streaming - OBS
OBS streamed 85 hours of live VR coverage from Rio 2016.


9. Big-ticket live events

It’s not just sports either, as other tent-pole, big-ticket live events are also being cued up for coverage. USA Today live streamed Donald Trump’s inauguration as US President as the first live stream event featured on its VRtually There channel.

10. Quality counts

A good quality 360-degree video will typically be encoded at around 20-30Mbps using the H.264 codec. That means that maintaining the feeling of immersion over current networks requires clever technology, such as the Tiledmedia VR Streaming technology we utilise in our end to end VR streaming solution. This concentrates on providing high quality video in the user’s field of view, and not the whole 360-degree image. This allows quality to be maintained over much lower bandwidths.

To find out more about VR streaming and how we can help you conquer the still significant challenges inherent in producing a reliable, robust and high quality stream, read more VO's secure video player

Andy Stout

Andy Stout is a broadcast and technology journalist, who, over longer than he cares to think about, has written for most of the major publications in the industry. He is fascinated by technology and its evolving impact on society, and enjoys bringing an eclectic viewpoint to the Viaccess-Orca blog. He was awarded a First Class BSc from the Open University and lives with his family in Northern Ireland.
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