California-based company NextVR is making a serious push to become one of if not the leading name in 360 degree video content for virtual reality (VR) head-mounted displays (HMD). The studio has already worked in VR concerts, recording a show from UK giants, Coldplay, and has partnered with the NBA and NHL for live VR sports broadcasting. This week sees the company announce a new partnership, this time with FOX Sports. The pair have been working together to explore live VR streaming NASCAR events.
NextVR’s patented encoding technology was recently used to live stream a NASCAR event at Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, California. The company’s own app was loaded onto a Samsung smartphone and then used with its Gear VR smartphone-based HMD, allowing viewers to watch the event live with head-tracking control, as if they were really there. The footage was shown to executives and producers at FOX Sports in the FOX Sports at-track television compound. Both 180 degree and 360 degree footage was shot, including angles on the pit road and in between the track and pits.
“NextVR has spent the last six years perfecting their VR technology, which made them the logical first choice for FOX Sports to partner with for this test,” said Mike Davies, FOX Sports SVP Field Operations. “NextVR currently is one of the only companies with the ability to transmit live in VR, and their technology is built on a broadcast platform, making it infinitely scalable.”
NextVR is yet to detail when it might make its work available to consumers. The Gear VR itself is already on the market, albeit in a limited fashion dubbed ‘Innovator’s Edition’. The current version of the kit supports the Galaxy Note 4 enlarged smartphone, although a new version that integrates the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge was also recently confirmed. VRFocus will continue to follow NextVR’s progress closely, reporting back with any further updates from the company.