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NHL and OTOY Prepping VR Live Streaming for Hockey Games

Last week VRFocus reported on news that NextVR was expanding its 360-degree sports coverage beyond the NBA into the NHL. As it turns out, this isn’t the only company looking to combine virtual reality (VR) viewing with hockey; Los Angeles-based Cloud graphics company, OTOY, is also working with the NHL to deliver live streaming of the sport in 360 degrees. The pair intends to bring this service to a number of devices in the future including Samsung’s Gear VR smartphone-based head-mounted display (HMD).

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OTOY previewed the technology last week at the LA Kings and San Jose Sharks game at the Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. The preview allowed viewers to watch practice sessions of games and more before giving them a view of the match itself. The normal camera was placed above the glass, allowing players to get a full view of game itself or turn around to look at the crowd. Crucially, viewers could look towards goal posts to be transported just above the position, allowing them to look down and inspect goals themselves. A view from the top of the stadium was also available.

OTOY also captured the event in 6K for non-live streams and intends to use experimental light field cameras in future recordings for higher quality.

“Virtual reality affords us a tremendous opportunity to enjoy experiences we might not otherwise have the ability to,” said OTY CEO Jules Urbach. “Whether you’re a fan living on the other side of the country, or you just couldn’t snag a seat to the big game in your own backyard, virtual reality lets you be as close to the action as any ticket holder. The NHL has always been incredibly progressive about how it uses technology to give fans access, and we’re excited by the possibilities of harnessing OTOY’s virtual reality technology to help the league get fans even closer to the game they love.”

Those that follow OTOY will know that the company is also working on a VR experience based on Batman: The Animated Series. VRFocus will continue to follow the company’s work closely, reporting back with any further updates on it.