Oculus Quest to Launch With YouTube VR’s Million Videos

When Facebook’s Oculus Quest debuts on May 21, Google’s YouTube VR and its more than one million public VR videos will be available as an app. The app — first launched in 2016 — is already released for Oculus Go, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, PlayStation VR, Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream View. YouTube VR will allow Quest headset wearers to search for videos via voice and find VR (and non-VR) YouTube content with a “VR-optimized interface.” The VR movie theater Bigscreen will also launch on Oculus Quest and the Rift S headsets. Continue reading Oculus Quest to Launch With YouTube VR’s Million Videos

Study: High-End VR Activity Increased Significantly in 2018

According to a new report from research firm IDC, consumer interest has waned recently for smartphone-dependent VR devices, while tethered and standalone models are growing more popular. IDC surveyed 1,643 VR users across France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States and learned that the number of “high-performance” VR headsets increased 60 percent from 2017 to 3.9 million devices in 2018. The study identified different categories of users, based on their amount of time spent with VR devices, including a “hardcore” group (12 percent) that spent 16 or more hours monthly with VR. Continue reading Study: High-End VR Activity Increased Significantly in 2018

Fraunhofer Compression Tech Used to Stream VR Over 5G

German research organization Fraunhofer, known for its extensive work in applied sciences, including its contributions to compression tech used for today’s MP3 audio and MP4 video, is now working on 5G virtual reality streaming software. Last year, Fraunhofer revealed its high-speed VR microdisplay hardware. It is now demonstrating new video compression software based on the MPEG-OMAF standard, which allows for streaming of 360-degree video over 5G networks. The goal is to minimize the problems related to resolution, compression artifacts and latency commonly experienced when streaming VR content over 4G and Wi-Fi networks. Continue reading Fraunhofer Compression Tech Used to Stream VR Over 5G

Two Facebook Groups Are Developing New Voice Assistant

Social giant Facebook confirmed a report that it is working on developing its own voice assistant. Originally, two former Facebook employees described the plans to CNBC, which broke the news. The company has been developing its own voice assistant since early 2018 in its augmented reality/virtual reality group based in Redmond, Washington. Facebook Assistant and AR/VR director Ira Snyder leads a team that has been “contacting vendors in the smart speaker supply chain,” according to sources. Continue reading Two Facebook Groups Are Developing New Voice Assistant

Production in the Cloud Growing, But Still Poses Challenges

Western Digital global director of M&E marketing Erik Weaver introduced production in the cloud by relaying his experiences producing “Wonder Buffalo” at USC’s Entertainment Technology Center. The production included volumetric capture and photogrammetry in a VR pipeline in a cloud-based workflow, including the C4 identification system to track assets. During a panel this week at NAB 2019, Equinix, Google and Wasabi execs described their cloud-based solutions, and a client from Technicolor described the pitfalls of a cloud service. Continue reading Production in the Cloud Growing, But Still Poses Challenges

Immersive Digital Experience Alliance Launches at NAB 2019

The Immersive Digital Experience Alliance (IDEA) has debuted, with the stated goal of creating royalty-free specifications for all immersive media formats, including light field technology. The Alliance’s founding members include CableLabs, Charter Communications, Light Field Lab, OTOY and Visby. The Alliance has started developing the Immersive Technology Media Format (ITMF), slated for release in 2019, which the group believes will “serve as an interchange and distribution format that will enable high-quality conveyance of complex image scenes.” Continue reading Immersive Digital Experience Alliance Launches at NAB 2019

Innovators, Analysts Examine New Entertainment Paradigms

At 30 Ninjas, chief executive Julina Tatlock noted that “the urge for immersion” is one of the chief disruptors that she and her partner, director Doug Liman, see in the M&E industry today. Whether it’s augmented reality, virtual reality or 360-degree imagery, she challenged the members of an NAB 2019 panel on emerging entertainment to pick the one they think will impact production in the next two years. Greenlight Insights VR/AR analyst Alexis Macklin picked all of them — plus cloud computing and AI tools. Continue reading Innovators, Analysts Examine New Entertainment Paradigms

U.S., South Korea Carriers Claim Title of First to Roll Out 5G

Verizon Communications debuted its first 5G wireless service in parts of Chicago and Minneapolis, the same day that South Korean carriers rolled out their services in parts of Seoul. Both groups sped up their 5G launch to lay claim to being the world’s first to offer 5G services. South Korea’s two largest carriers, SK Telecom and KT Corporation (formerly Korea Telecom), claim to be first to sign up 5G subscribers. Being first in 5G is a way to advertise technology strengths, but it’s not very important to consumers choosing their wireless providers. Continue reading U.S., South Korea Carriers Claim Title of First to Roll Out 5G

Valve Plans to Introduce its Valve Index VR Headset in May

In May, Valve Corporation will unveil a virtual reality headset, dubbed the Valve Index. In 2016, the company teamed up with HTC to launch the SteamVR headset. Valve, which has a dedicated website for the new VR headset, will only reveal that it features two sensors flanking the front and supports a 135-degree field of view (FOV), which is greater than HTC Vive and Oculus Rift’s 110-degree FOV. Valve doesn’t mention SteamVR Knuckles controllers, which it has promoted via developer outreach since 2016. Continue reading Valve Plans to Introduce its Valve Index VR Headset in May

Nintendo Intros DIY Labo VR Kit With Mini-Games For Kids

Almost a year ago, Nintendo debuted Labo, a DIY cardboard virtual reality kit for Switch. Now, the company is introducing its fourth kit, this one an intro to VR for children. Labo’s VR kit includes “simple and shareable” mini-games for multiple players, but requires users to hold the handset up to their faces. With the version for children, mini-games are designed for kids to pass around the screen and take turns, which Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser said encourages “both virtual and real-world interactions.” Continue reading Nintendo Intros DIY Labo VR Kit With Mini-Games For Kids

Oculus Reveals its Upcoming PC-Connected Rift S Headset

Oculus unveiled a new version of its Rift VR headset at GDC 2019 yesterday. The $399 Rift S, available this spring, will feature a new design, higher resolution display (up to 1280×1440 per eye), two updated Oculus Touch controllers, and embedded sensors for tracking (rather than cameras). The current $349 Rift relies on an array of external webcams to sense the environment. The new Rift S will require a PC in order to power its high-res graphics, while the wireless Oculus Quest, also available this spring for $399 will not need additional power. Continue reading Oculus Reveals its Upcoming PC-Connected Rift S Headset

March Madness Live VR App Signals Future for Sports Fans

In the age of television, sports fans typically watched their games on the couch or, if they were lucky, in arenas or stadiums. With the advent of virtual reality, however, that paradigm is about to shift. The future of sports promises to be more accessible, interactive, personalized and immersive. The fan might still sit on the couch — or at an office desk — but technologies including the Oculus Go VR headset and Intel’s True View will deliver the game in exciting new angles and a 3D view of everything on the field or court. Continue reading March Madness Live VR App Signals Future for Sports Fans

Disney, ILMxLAB and The VOID Introduce ‘Ralph Breaks VR’

The 2018 CG animated movie “Ralph Breaks the Internet” raked in more than $500 million in box office revenues last year and, this year, visitors to The VOID in the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas will be able to have the immersive “Ralph Breaks VR” experience. Located in the Grand Canal Shoppes, the experience — from Disney and Lucasfilm’s ILMxLAB in partnership with The VOID, allows four players to enjoy features not possible in a home VR experience. “Ralph Breaks VR” is available in eight locations including Las Vegas. Continue reading Disney, ILMxLAB and The VOID Introduce ‘Ralph Breaks VR’

Nvidia Demos New Products at Deep Learning & AI Confab

Nvidia made a number of compelling announcements at this week’s GPU Technology Conference (GTC 2019) in San Jose, California. The company unveiled its GauGAN AI image creator that uses generative adversarial networks (GANs) to turn sketches into nearly photorealistic images. As part of its cloud pursuits, the company unveiled its latest RTX server configuration that is designed for Hollywood studios and those who want to create visual content quickly (each server pod can support up to 1,280 GPUs). Nvidia also announced partnerships with 3D software makers including Adobe, Autodesk and Unity to integrate Nvidia’s RTX ray-tracing platform. Continue reading Nvidia Demos New Products at Deep Learning & AI Confab

Analyst Predicts Apple’s AR Headset to Launch in Mid-2020

According to a recent note to investors written by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who is known for frequently having inside information on Apple’s product plans, Apple could begin mass production of its augmented reality headset by the end of 2019 and unveil it as early as mid-2020 — although he admitted the timeline is optimistic. In May 2018, however, Loup Ventures founder Gene Munster predicted we wouldn’t see the Apple AR headset until late 2021. Kuo stated his belief that Apple’s first AR device will only be a display, with the iPhone performing all the rendering, data connection and GPS. Continue reading Analyst Predicts Apple’s AR Headset to Launch in Mid-2020

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