Make us your home page
Instagram

Here come the virtual reality Olympics … for Samsung users

NEW YORK — Athletes in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will compete to be the fastest sprinter and highest jumper at the Olympics in August. But there's another test under way, as well: How well can virtual reality capture sporting events?

NBC says it will provide 85 hours of virtual reality programming during the Rio Olympics, which run from Aug. 5 to 21 — though only to users of Samsung Galaxy smartphones and the Samsung Gear VR headset. It's the first time Olympics programming will be available in VR.

Virtual reality coverage of sports, essentially 360 video, has been growing since VR headsets such as the Samsung Gear and Oculus Rift became widely available this year. Sports broadcasters are betting that virtual reality will be the next big game-changing way to watch sports. But right now, the audience is limited to those who have smartphones and VR headsets, which can be pricey.

Still, coverage is growing. In May, NBC broadcast the Kentucky Derby in 360 video. The NBA has broadcast some of its games in virtual reality, and Fox Sports broadcast VR streams from the U.S. Open golf championship in June.

Gary Zenkel, president of NBC Olympics, said Rio will be a showcase for the "cutting-edge" technology.

The Olympics video, which will be presented on delay during the games, will include opening and closing ceremonies, men's basketball, gymnastics, and track and field. Other virtualized sports will include beach volleyball, diving, boxing and fencing. NBC will also release VR highlight packages of those sports.

The VR video itself will be captured by Olympic Broadcasting Services, a unit of the International Olympic Committee that provides video feeds to international broadcasters. Viewers will need Samsung devices and the NBC Sports app. Samsung is the official smartphone sponsor of the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Compatible phones include the Samsung Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge, Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy S6 Edge+ and Galaxy Note 5 phones.

Other Olympics sponsors have been jumping on the virtual reality bandwagon, too. Kellogg's, which sponsors Team USA, shot Olympic swimmer Tom Shields in 360 video as he practiced underwater for a marketing effort that appeared online and at an event in New York.

Here come the virtual reality Olympics … for Samsung users 06/30/16 [Last modified: Thursday, June 30, 2016 8:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Port Tampa Bay makes public/private commitment for $60 million expansion project

    Business

    TAMPA — Port Tampa Bay approved a public-private partnership agreement with four other entities to divvy up who will pay for a $60 million widening and extension of the Big Bend Channel.

    Port Tampa Bay approved a participation agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Florida Department of Transportation, Tampa Electric Company and Mosaic Company at the port's monthly board meeting on  Tuesday. Port Tampa Bay President & CEO Paul Anderson signs the agreement as Ram Kancharla; Port Tampa Bay's vice president of planning & development, Brandon Burch; project manager at United States Army Corps of Engineers, Lois Moore; of Alcalde and Fay and Charles Klug; Port Tampa Bay principal counsel, and Tim Murphy; deputy district engineer of the Army Corps., looks on. [Company handout]
  2. One of St. Petersburg's newest condo projects is sold out

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — Reflecting the continued demand for condos in downtown St. Petersburg, The Salvador, completed earlier this year at 199 Dali Blvd., has sold out. Records show that a 2-bedroom, 2-bath unit sold Friday for $620,000 in an all-cash deal. Two other units — a 3-bedroom, 2-bath penthouse and a …

     Reflecting the continued demand for condos in downtown St. Petersburg, The Salvador, completed earlier this year at 199 Dali Blvd., has sold out. 
[Rendering courtesy of aalliiggnn LLC]
  3. Reload your SunPass account. Roadway tolls return Thursday.

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida residents will no longer get a free pass traversing most stretches of the Florida Turnpike or certain local expressways across the state.

    With a push by the Florida Turpike to encourage more drivers traveling the Veterans and Suncoast Parkway to buy a Sunpass, motorists will begin to see more lanes converted to handle Sunpass. [Tampa Bay Times]
  4. Tampa Heights project gets $21.5 million in funding

    Real Estate

    TAMPA --- The Tampa-based Heights Community Development District got a financial boost from a $21.5 million tax-exempt bond issue to fund the waterfront community being built along the Hillsborough River just north of downtown Tampa. Proceeds from the bond issue are expected to used for new roads, sidewalks, the Tampa …

    Tampa's Heights Community Development District got a financial boost from a $21.5 million tax-exempt bond issue to fund the waterfront community being built along the Hillsborough River just north of downtown Tampa.
[Courtesy of Aerial Innovations, Inc.]
  5. Grocery chain Aldi hiring for 500 positions across Florida

    Retail

    Aldi, the German grocery store chain, is hiring for 500 positions across Florida, including at its locations in Tampa Bay. The company will hold a "one-day hiring spree" Thursday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. at all Aldi stores in the state, a Tuesday release said.

    Aldi, a German grocery store chain, is hiring for 500 positions across the state. | [Times file photo]