& cplSiteName &

Getting Real About VR Video

Alan Breznick
4/6/2018
50%
50%

Will virtual reality video turn out to be the next 3D-TV fiasco for the video industry?

That's one of the big questions as TV programmers, broadcasters, pay-TV providers, OTT distributors, tech providers, consumer electronics makers and other players in the massive video chain descend upon Las Vegas this weekend for the latest edition of the annual National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show. Burned by their epic failure with 3D-TV earlier this decade, video industry executives are more than just a bit leery about unleashing another promising but largely unproven technology on consumers.

VR advocates freely acknowledge such concerns. But they argue that VR video's fate will be decidedly different than 3D-TV's because the new technology is far more viable. Among other things, they cite the growing number of VR broadcasts in recent months, particularly of sporting events like the Winter Olympics, NBA All-Star Game and NCAA men's college basketball tournament. (See What's the Reality of VR Video? )

Advocates also argue that consumer demand for VR video appears to be much stronger at this early stage than it ever was for 3D-TV. They note that VR headset sales are rising steadily with the growth of VR video games while VR-enhanced TV programs are drawing more viewers for longer periods of time. The NBA, for instance, has reported that the average viewing time for its VR TV broadcasts has climbed from seven minutes per game initially to 42 minutes per game, although that still pales in comparison to an average of three hours per game for traditional TV broadcasts. (See Intel to Power NBA's VR Coverage.)

But that doesn't mean VR video is a slam dunk to succeed. Not by any means. Major bandwidth and latency issues must still be resolved before video providers can start delivering high-quality immersive experiences to large numbers of viewers. For example, Broadband Forum has calculated that it will take up to 68 Mbit/s per stream to deliver an elementary 360-degree VR video experience to viewers. And the group estimates that it will take a staggering 8 Gbit/s per stream to deliver a truly rich, full-featured VR video experience. (See CTA Bullish on AR/VR, but Challenges Remain.)

Then there's the pesky headset issue, which helped doom 3D-TV. While VR headsets have gotten lighter, more comfortable and more affordable, aiding their rise in popularity, they are still nowhere close to being a mainstream household device. And how many viewers really want to wear clunky headsets just to watch TV?

Given all this, what are the prospects for VR video? How can the technology's potential be realized and the hurdles overcome? In a special Light Reading breakfast forum at next week's NAB Show -- run in tandem with the Streaming Video Alliance and the VR Industry Forum (VRIF) -- experts from across the video spectrum will address the current state of VR video, explore its opportunities and challenges and chart a path forward for the new technology.


Want to learn more the state of VR video, technology opportunities and challenges? Register now for Light Reading’s The Reality of VR Video Breakfast at the NAB Show on April 9 in Las Vegas. The event is FREE for all NAB attendees – don’t miss out!


In a series of short presentations and fireside chats followed by a broader panel discussion, our featured speakers will include: Michael Davies, Senior Vice President, Field & Technical Operations for Fox Sports Media Group; Mark Fisher, Vice President, Marketing & Business Development at Qwilt; Rob Koenen, President of VRIF; Richard Mills, Technical Director of Sky VR Studios; Jason Thibeault, Executive Director of the Streaming Video Alliance; Dirk Van Dall, VP of Multimedia Technology at BAMTECH Media; T.J. Vitolo, Director of Product Management at Verizon; Evan Wimer, Co-Founder & Chairman of C360, Inc.; and Thomas Wrede, Vice President, New Technology & Standards at SES.

So please join us on Monday, April 9th at the Las Vegas Convention Center for this special breakfast forum, which is free to all NAB Show attendees. Sign up here now to register for the breakfast forum. We'll have plenty of coffee, eggs and bacon to start your day off right and keep you going. (See The Reality of VR Video @ 2018 NAB Show.)

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, >Light Reading

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
More Blogs from Breznick Unbound
Light Reading will tackle the big technology and business changes buffeting the European cable industry at our inaugural Cable Next-Gen Europe conference in London on Nov. 6.
In new studies and reports, it's clear that pay-TV operators must incorporate OTT video services into their offerings if they wish to survive and thrive.
In a Big Communications Event panel, AR and VR experts will examine whether immersive media experiences offer realistic new revenue opportunities for service providers.
In a special Light Reading breakfast forum at the NAB Show in Las Vegas next month, top technologists will explore the opportunities and challenges of immersive, 360-degree VR video.
Featured Video
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
September 24-26, 2018, Westin Westminster, Denver
October 9, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
October 23, 2018, Georgia World Congress Centre, Atlanta, GA
November 6, 2018, London, United Kingdom
November 7-8, 2018, London, United Kingdom
November 8, 2018, The Montcalm by Marble Arch, London
November 15, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
December 4-6, 2018, Lisbon, Portugal
March 12-14, 2019, Denver, Colorado
All Upcoming Live Events
Partner Perspectives - content from our sponsors
One Size Doesn't Fit All – Another Look at Automation for 5G
By Stawan Kadepurkar, Business Head & EVP, Hi-Tech, L&T Technology Services
Prepare Now for the 5G Monetization Opportunity
By Yathish Nagavalli, Chief Enterprise Architect, Huawei Software
Huawei Mobile Money: Improving Lives and Accelerating Economic Growth
By Ian Martin Ravenscroft, Vice President of BSS Solutions, Huawei
Dealer Agent Cloud – Empower Your Dealer & Agent to Excel
By Natalie Dorothy Scopelitis, Director of Digital Transformation, Huawei Software
All Partner Perspectives