Sports June 11, 2018 by Innes Garden

BBC to show World Cup in VR!

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 In a ground-breaking move the BBC is to deliver live World Cup coverage in VR, allowing audiences to watch the World Cup like never before.

The BBC’s first VR World Cup brings audiences live coverage of all 33 BBC matches from Russia through the dedicated BBC Sport VR – FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 app. It’s coming soon for free on Apple, Android, Gear VR, Oculus Go and PlayStation VR.

Users will be transported to a fully immersive stadium experience, through headsets, as if they are sitting in their own hospitality box. If there’s a game on, they can watch from the best seat in the ground by heading over to the box’s giant viewing window and looking out onto the pitch from their BBC Sport sofa.

From here, audiences can access a range of live match stats that pop-up from the virtual coffee table, or they can switch their view and choose to sit behind either one of the goals to get up-close to the action.

When there’s no game-taking place, fans can watch a daily highlights package and other on-demand content on one of the virtual big screen TVs available in other areas of the private box.

Access will be via the BBC Sport VR – FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 app, which will be available to download for free on Apple, Android, Gear VR, Oculus Go and PlayStation VR nearer the time. It will enable users to watch the 33 matches the BBC is covering in real time. Unfortunately it will not be available on HTC Vive or Oculus Rift.

For best performance when viewing the World Cup matches through VR, a connection of at least 10Mbit/s over WiFi is recommended, and when downloading the VR application, iOS 10 and above and Android 5 and above are needed.

This VR experience will not get you right there on the pitch, in the middle of the action, as your favourite player bears down on you or a team mate launches a lob in your direction. However it will give you a three dimensional view of the game and make you better able to appreciate the perspective. Indeed it will be like watching a match in the flesh – but with the ability to change your seat and perspective as the game progresses.

It will be interesting to see how well this opportunity to experience a major sporting event in VR goes. It could be the start of something big! Credit to the BBC for exploring the potential.

Indeed generally the BBC has been working on a number of research and development projects in recent years to prepare for a digital future. This includes the possibility of virtual reality TV in the future, as well as content based on a person’s interests and location.

Matthew Postgate, BBC Chief Technology & Product Officer, says: “The BBC has brought major live broadcasting breakthroughs to UK audiences throughout the history of the World Cup. From the very first tournament on TV in 1954 and England’s finest hour in 1966, to the first colour World Cup in 1970 and full HD in 2006. Now, with these trials we’re giving audiences yet another taste of the future.”

Keep your eye open for the BBC Sport VR – FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 app appearing on Android and iOS very soon.


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