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NBC has promised to broadcast 85 hours in the 2016 Rio Olympics in virtual reality. The opening and closing ceremonies, plus men’s basketball, gymnastics, track and field, beach volleyball, diving, boxing, and fencing events will be available for the Samsung Gear VR headset, via a special section from the NBC Sports app. Besides needing a Samsung smartphone, viewers will demand a paid TV subscription, since they would to observe NBC’s non-VR broadcasts online. Samsung S8 NBC’s VR programming will probably be released using a delay, from August 6th — your day after the opening ceremony — to August 22nd, following your closing. While virtual reality video is frequently viewed as flatscreen 360-degree video with no headset, it’s uncertain whether that is going to be the case here.
Olympic Broadcasting Services, which supplies footage to NBC, announced captured that it could well be partially filming the games within VR and “Super-Hi Vision” 8K video. Likewise, the VR-happy Samsung is rumored being working on an Olympics-themed exclusive edition of its Galaxy S7 Edge. While Samsung and Oculus’ Gear VR isn’t as cheap or broadly compatible because generic and relatively low-quality Google Cardboard headset, meanwhile, it’s probably the most accessible VR headset otherwise available — and another that video companies have paid more awareness of than the gaming-focused Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
The Olympics will be the kind of visually compelling, exclusive event that’s considered great for virtual reality video, especially since other professional sports have already been shot in VR. The 2016 games include the first to happen since the format came into common use; the 2012 London Summer Olympics were held a couple of months before Oculus started raising money for the first Rift VR headset, and also the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi occurred shortly before Facebook acquired Oculus, arguably starting off the current VR boom in earnest.
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