CNN is arguably one of the world’s leading online news and information provider. CNN has been known to break frontiers to adopt new technology and revolutionize how news is captured and delivered. CNN’s recent announcement that it will stream the upcoming Republican debate on October 13th live in VR did not come as a surprise to many. CNN’s mantra is “Go there”, nothing delivers on this promise better than virtual reality.
CNN has partnered with NextVR to bring you the debate live in VR and give you the “front-row” seat experience. With the help of virtual reality HMD, users will be able to catch the debate from the same perspective as that of an audience member. The users will be able to focus on a particular candidate even when they are not speaking, something no possible on the traditional telecast. This decision has been bolstered by the success of the VR recording of the previous debate. In partnership with NextVR, CNN was able to record the second Republican debate and later make it available on demand. The response to that is reported to have been overwhelmingly good.
This move has not been without criticism, though. Jaunt, a competitor of NextVR, thinks Virtual reality technology is not ready for the mainstream just yet. In his interview with Racked, Jaunt’s Scott Broock asserted that VR technology still needs about a year and a half of fine tuning before its ready for live streaming. He argues that the technology is in its early stages and is still encountering challenges from instance low resolution and dropped frames. He urges VR users and enthusiast that up until then, they should be contented with virtual reality gaming.
NextVR is however not bothered by the criticism. It continues to expand its roster of partners having already worked with NBA, NASCAR, NHL and MLB. It is also looking to broaden it the types of events it covers. It is reputed to be the only company in the world that has live-stream in VR. Their partnership with CNN is therefore expected since they have something in common. They lead; others follow. Earlier, this year, Next VR did a trial by live-streaming a soccer match between Man-U and Barcelona in virtual reality. The experience is reported to have been positive. The screen is described to have been crisp and the action easy to follow. The fisheye lenses are however said to have made the player look farther than they actually were. It is hoped that this won’t be the case during the presidential debate.
It is however feared that many people may not participate in the ushering of VR in news coverage since many people do not have virtual reality headsets. The recent move by Samsung to half the price of their VR headgear and the influx of manufacturers in the virtual reality HMDs is expected to lower the prices of these devices. Many companies have also promised to release more affordable and more superior products.
Don’t be locked out of this historical moment. Get yourself a virtual reality HMD and watch the candidates battle it out.