Oculus TV Debuts as Smart TV for Viewing in Virtual Reality

Oculus officially debuted Oculus TV, a free app and dedicated hub for watching flatscreen video in virtual reality via the Oculus Go headset. By introducing Oculus TV, first announced at last month’s F8 conference, the company makes good on its interest in non-gaming uses of VR. Oculus TV features a virtual home theater with what Oculus says is the equivalent of a 180-inch TV screen, and supports access to streaming video services including Showtime, free web service Pluto TV, Red Bull TV, and Facebook Video. Continue reading Oculus TV Debuts as Smart TV for Viewing in Virtual Reality

Within Debuts WebVR-Enabled Site for Broad VR Distribution

Within, a Los Angeles-based cinematic virtual reality startup, just unveiled a website that allows users to have a VR experience on any device, from a desktop PC or mobile phone to a dedicated VR headset. The company relies on WebVR technology that avoids the need to download additional software to be able to play VR experiences in supported browsers. Users without a VR headset can navigate the content via the web browser, and those with VR headsets use hand controllers and tracking tools. Continue reading Within Debuts WebVR-Enabled Site for Broad VR Distribution

Manufacturers Show Higher-Res VR Headset Display Panels

During Display Week in Los Angeles, several VR headset displays were showcased by companies including Google, LG, Japan Display and Samsung. Google and LG developed a display panel with 18.1 megapixels of detail per eye, which was similar to those from Japan Display and Samsung. The Google/LG panel, at 18.1 megapixels, goes up against Oculus Rift’s 1.3 megapixel per eye and HTC Vive Pro’s 2.2 megapixel per eye. Facebook was also at Display Week, but wasn’t quite ready to show off its Half Dome varifocal prototype. Continue reading Manufacturers Show Higher-Res VR Headset Display Panels

Wireless Oculus Go, at $199, Opens Door to Widespread Use

Facebook has debuted Oculus Go, its standalone $199 VR headset that the company hopes will launch more widespread engagement with virtual reality. Unlike the Oculus Rift, Oculus Go does not require a high-end smartphone or computer, has no wires or cables, and is ready to use out of the box. Early reviews give the VR headset a thumbs-up for its simplicity and convenience, and such features as speakers built into the strap. Also at its F8 developer conference, Facebook debuted a new version of Oculus Rooms. Continue reading Wireless Oculus Go, at $199, Opens Door to Widespread Use

Facebook and RED Partner to Build High-End 8K VR Camera

At Facebook’s F8 developer conference, the company and RED Digital Cinema announced they are teaming up to build a professional VR camera. No further details on price, release date or technical specs were made available. Previously, Facebook demonstrated its depth reconstruction, which enhances 3D imagery, and its prototype Surround 360 cameras. Facebook director of engineering Brian Cabral described RED as an “ideal partner” because the company’s high-dynamic range cameras work well with its depth reconstruction technology. Continue reading Facebook and RED Partner to Build High-End 8K VR Camera

Facebook Said to Be in Early Stages of Developing Own Chips

As part of the company’s recent push to develop new hardware, Facebook is reportedly working toward designing its own custom chips to be used in its consumer devices, data centers and AI software. The social media giant is currently developing devices such as smart speakers and VR headsets, and building its own chips could provide more control over design and development of these projects. Facebook’s strategy follows similar approaches by other tech giants, including Google and Apple. Continue reading Facebook Said to Be in Early Stages of Developing Own Chips

CNET Review: Oculus Go, Facebook’s New $199 VR Headset

Facebook is getting ready to release Oculus Go, a new phone-free VR headset at a price point of $199. According to CNET, the standalone Oculus Go represents “entry-level accessibility” to virtual reality, an area of technology innovation they hope to see grow at a consumer level. While the games and apps available on Oculus Go seem similar to what’s already available via Samsung’s Gear VR, the design is “less clunky, and the integrated, cleaner, softer and smaller construction here is better,” writes CNET.

Continue reading CNET Review: Oculus Go, Facebook’s New $199 VR Headset

FoxNext VR Selects ‘Planet of the Apes’ for its First VR Game

On April 3, 20th Century Fox’s FoxNext VR Studio will release “Crisis on the Planet of the Apes,” its first virtual reality game, for Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR. Priced at $14.99, the first-person game is set between the stories of the “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” and “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” and allows the user to experience the world from the point of view of an ape captured by humans who attempts to escape the research facility. According to Variety, “the game was produced in partnership with UK-based Imaginati Studios, and was first announced at CES 2017.”  Continue reading FoxNext VR Selects ‘Planet of the Apes’ for its First VR Game

VR Series ‘Spheres’ Sells for Seven Figures at Sundance Fest

At this year’s Sundance Film Festival’s New Frontier, VR financing/distribution company CityLights purchased “Spheres: Songs of Spacetime,” a three-part virtual reality series that explores the depth of space. The exact purchase price was not revealed, but it is reportedly in the seven figures, and is being hailed as the first VR film to be acquired for such an amount. The series, presented by Oculus Studios and Protozoa Pictures, and directed by Eliza McNitt, is slated for release on the Oculus Rift sometime this year. Continue reading VR Series ‘Spheres’ Sells for Seven Figures at Sundance Fest

HTC Beefs Up Resolution and Adds Headphones to Vive Pro

HTC’s new Vive Pro VR headset made a major splash this week in Las Vegas and received notable Best of CES awards, including the Best Gaming Product from Engadget and the Best VR/AR award from The Verge. HTC added built-in headphones to this version and increased the resolution of the dual-OLED displays 78 percent to 2,880 x 1,600 (1,400 x 1,600 per eye). The headphones offer spatial audio support, but no noise-canceling functionality. HTC added dual microphones and dual front-facing cameras, which should attract developers. Continue reading HTC Beefs Up Resolution and Adds Headphones to Vive Pro

Qualcomm, Machinima Partner to Produce VR Reality Series

Qualcomm recently launched a reality TV show competition for its new virtual reality platform, using the Snapdragon 835 VR developer kit. “VR Developer Challenge” matches game developers with YouTube celebrities to create VR experiences. The series goes behind the scenes, showing how producers create the programs. So far, the series features Sam Maliszewski, Jordan Mann and E McNeill, three VR developers chosen by Warner Bros.-owned Machinima. Qualcomm co-produced the series with Machinima. Continue reading Qualcomm, Machinima Partner to Produce VR Reality Series

AWS Debuts Amazon Sumerian to Build VR, AR and 3D Apps

Amazon Web Services announced a new service called Amazon Sumerian during the kick-off event for its AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas. The service was created for developers to quickly and easily build virtual reality, augmented reality and 3D applications with minimal coding for a range of platforms including browsers, head-mounted displays, mobile devices and digital signs. Initially, Sumerian-built apps will run on any browser that supports WebGL or WebVR rendering, which includes Google’s Daydream, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and iOS devices. Continue reading AWS Debuts Amazon Sumerian to Build VR, AR and 3D Apps

Paramount Pictures to Launch Virtual Reality ‘Movie Theater’

Paramount Pictures, in partnership with Bigscreen and in collaboration with Oculus, Samsung, HTC and Microsoft, is launching its first VR movie theater. On December 3, anyone with any brand of VR headset can sign onto Bigscreen’s website and watch “Top Gun 3D” for free. The viewer walks into a virtual movie theater with theater seating, and watches trailers prior to the main film. Viewers are seated in a virtual audience and can chat before the movie, which is shown in 30-minute increments over the following 24 hours. Continue reading Paramount Pictures to Launch Virtual Reality ‘Movie Theater’

Pixar Makes Its First Foray into Virtual Reality With ‘Coco VR’

On November 22, Disney-Pixar will release the animated feature “Coco,” which takes place during Dia de los Muertos, a Mexican holiday honoring the dead. Pixar has also debuted its first VR experience, “Coco VR,” created in partnership with Oculus. “Coco VR” is available on Rift headsets, with a Gear VR version out next week. Pixar dubs the experience a “social adventure” where participants embody skeletal characters and explore the Land of the Dead and the holiday, to learn about the film, the festival and the traditions. Continue reading Pixar Makes Its First Foray into Virtual Reality With ‘Coco VR’

Microsoft HoloLens Finds New Life for Corporate Applications

Microsoft hasn’t given up on HoloLens. The company believes it is more suited for corporate training than gaming, and now Japan Airlines is using it is a good example of that. Two years ago, the Japanese company sent pilot Takashi Wada to Microsoft headquarters to try out the HoloLens; now he teaches HoloLens-equipped trainees how to flip virtual switches in a cockpit, prior to using flight simulators. Microsoft isn’t alone in pursuing such applications, with Alphabet, Apple and Facebook following suit. Continue reading Microsoft HoloLens Finds New Life for Corporate Applications

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