Virtual Reality is Coming to the Olympics Will Anyone Care?

The Olympic Committee has made big news with its announcement that it will be creating 85 hours worth of virtual reality programming during the Olympics. The only drawback is that it will only be available to those who own a Samsung smartphone with the $99 Gear VR headset.

Since it is only going to be available for those who own Samsung devices, it does lead to the question, will this make anyone go out and buy a $99 Gear VR headset?

Reports On the Olympics in VR

From US News & World Report: Rio 2016 Will Be the First Virtual Reality Olympics

Hundreds of millions of people are expected to watch the summer Olympics in August, but only users of Samsung phones with a paid TV subscription will have the chance to watch the tournament in virtual reality for the first time, NBC Sports announced on Thursday.

The London summer Olympics in 2012 attracted 217 million viewers, making it the “most-watched event in U.S. television history,” according to NBC, which aims to make this year’s games “the most live Olympics ever” by taking steps including this partnership with Samsung.

Using Samsung Galaxy smartphones compatible with the company’s $99 Gear VR headset, viewers will be able to watch 85 hours of the games in virtual reality through the NBC Sports app after being verified by their television provider, the network announced in a press release.

From Here come the virtual reality Olympics … for Samsung users

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.

From Fortune: NBC and Samsung Want to Broadcast the Olympics in Virtual Reality

“The world’s greatest sporting event is always a showcase for cutting edge technology, and we’re thrilled to partner with Samsung and OBS to bring our viewers even closer to compelling Olympic action with virtual reality,” NBC Olympics president Gary Zenkel said in a statement. “Olympic fans can be transported to iconic venues such as Maracana Stadium for an unprecedented view of the Opening Ceremony, and Copacabana Beach for an immersive beach volleyball experience in the sport’s ultimate setting.”


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