ETC Organizes NAB Cloud Innovation and VR Conferences

NAB and the Entertainment Technology Center at USC are coproducing two major conference programs at the NAB Show next week in Las Vegas: a Virtual Reality Summit on Wednesday, April 20, from 1:00-5:00 pm and the Cloud Innovation Conference, a 2-day gathering of industry leaders on Tuesday, April 19 and Wednesday, April 20. Both events are at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The Cloud Innovation Conference (CIC) covers the current status and future direction of the media cloud, providing professionals with essential knowledge. The half-day Virtual Reality Summit features hands-on practitioners who will discuss the technical and business aspects of producing content in this emerging marketplace. For more information about this year’s conference, visit the links above or the NAB Show website. Continue reading ETC Organizes NAB Cloud Innovation and VR Conferences

What Began as April Fool’s Day Joke is Now $49 VR Headset

Google Cardboard is no longer the only inexpensive VR headset around. From Oakland, CA-based hardware collective Next Thing Co. comes Pockulus, a $49 portable game console that consists of a palm-sized computer and 3D-printed facemask. The tiny computer that runs Pockulus is CHIP, which was the company’s successful seller at $9 per unit. The idea to repurpose CHIP as a VR controller was an April Fool’s Day joke that is now a real product. It requires some DIY, mainly 3D printing the bezel that fits the display on the face. Continue reading What Began as April Fool’s Day Joke is Now $49 VR Headset

Microsoft Demos Live 3D Holoportation System via HoloLens

Microsoft researchers from the U.K. created a holoportation system, which projects a live 3D hologram of a person into another room, anywhere in the world, where it can interact in real-time with whoever is present. The researchers, who focus on 3D sensors and machine learning, spent two-and-a-half years with the HoloLens team in Washington state to develop holoportation. The system requires a lot of horsepower and high-quality 3D capture cameras, as well as a HoloLens (or other VR/AR headset) on the receiving end. Continue reading Microsoft Demos Live 3D Holoportation System via HoloLens

ILM and Disney Unveil Compelling VR Experiences for Movies

Industrial Light & Magic’s Experience Lab (ILMxLAB), the Lucasfilm R&D division that prototypes interactive, immersive cinema for VR, augmented reality and theme park attractions, debuted a VR experience of “Jurassic World” at Sundance. Now, it’s rolling out “Trials on Tatooine,” a VR demo using the same CG models created for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Lucasfilm’s parent company Disney also just released a new 360-degree video, “Cold Lairs,” to tease its upcoming “Jungle Book” remake. Continue reading ILM and Disney Unveil Compelling VR Experiences for Movies

Nvidia’s Tesla P100 Chip Enables Speedy Machine Learning

Nvidia has entered the field of artificial intelligence with the debut of its Tesla P100 chip, which contains 15 billion transistors — about twice as many as its previous high-end graphics processor and, says Nvidia chief executive Jen-Hsun Huang, the largest chip ever made. Nvidia is creating the DGX-1 computer with eight Tesla P100 chips and AI software; computers from third parties integrating the chip are expected to be on the market by next year. Huang hints its first use is likely to be for cloud computing services. Continue reading Nvidia’s Tesla P100 Chip Enables Speedy Machine Learning

HTC Vive Gets Enthusiastic Reception, Ideas for Improvement

The HTC Vive virtual reality headset, priced at $799, just released and at least one review gives it a thumbs-up. Although the Vive didn’t get the high-profile attention afforded the Oculus Rift, which was released a week ago, consumers who try it are impressed, says one critic, who avers that it “certainly beats the Rift in terms of immersion.” A VR system is made up of numerous components and the Vive doesn’t compare favorably in every single one, but one reviewer says it’s on track to create an ecosystem beyond gaming. Continue reading HTC Vive Gets Enthusiastic Reception, Ideas for Improvement

NAB and ETC to Present Virtual Reality Summit in Las Vegas

NAB and the Entertainment Technology Center at USC are coproducing a Virtual Reality Summit at the annual NAB Show on Wednesday, April 20, from 1:00-5:00 pm at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The half-day summit will address key concepts and lessons learned regarding VR production. Hands-on practitioners will discuss the technical and business aspects of producing content in this emerging marketplace, which some consider to be a new media type and art form. You can register for the Virtual Reality Summit and learn more about the NAB conference at the event’s website. Continue reading NAB and ETC to Present Virtual Reality Summit in Las Vegas

YouTube Gaming Focuses on Live, Mobile Capture, 360 VR

YouTube’s gaming video site draws hundreds of millions of gamers watching 144 billion minutes of game videos every month, half of which are on mobile devices. YouTube Gaming content creators have posted videos on more than 25,000 games. The channel’s fans are 30 percent women, 30 percent over 34 years old and 47 percent parents. Now 11 years old, YouTube continues to evolve its gaming ecosystem, with a push to do more livestreaming of games, a new “mobile capture” feature and an emphasis on 360-degree VR game videos. Continue reading YouTube Gaming Focuses on Live, Mobile Capture, 360 VR

Critics Greet Long-Promised Oculus Rift with Mixed Reviews

After many months of anticipation, Oculus finally rolled out its Rift VR headset into the hands of many eager technology journalists. There have been numerous reviews, and most — but not all — of them are enthusiastic. What they like is that the system is well-made, accessible, easy to set up and comfortable to wear. But a few critics find the 30 VR “experiences” rolled out with the headset to be less than compelling, and others bemoaned the lack of Touch controllers and more VR games and experiences. Continue reading Critics Greet Long-Promised Oculus Rift with Mixed Reviews

Sony Creates Amped-Up PlayStation for Use with VR Headset

Sony is planning to unveil a new version of PlayStation 4 that will be powerful enough to handle high-end game experiences including virtual reality, say sources. Sony’s move signals a radical change to the typical six-to-seven-year cycle of game console releases; the PlayStation 4 debuted in 2013. At the same time, Sony plans to continue production of the existing PlayStation 4, which has sold more than 36 million units globally. Sources say the two versions will likely share the same software catalog. Continue reading Sony Creates Amped-Up PlayStation for Use with VR Headset

Hulu Unveils its First VR App, Content for Samsung Gear VR

Hulu debuted an app for Samsung’s Gear VR now available in the Gear VR Oculus Store, the first of several VR apps for different platforms that the company plans to unveil. The app allows users to watch Hulu’s 2D TV/film content library in a 360-degree immersive environment, choosing from several settings (a living room, a big screen movie theater, a beach). Among original content is Hulu’s first VR film, “The Big One,” produced in partnership with Lionsgate and featuring Freddie Wong and his RocketJump brand. Continue reading Hulu Unveils its First VR App, Content for Samsung Gear VR

VR Faces its Moment of Truth as Headsets Become Available

Virtual reality is finally available for consumers. Oculus will ship the much-anticipated Rift VR headset next week, HTC will deliver its Vive VR headset one week later, and Sony is also readying the launch of its PlayStation VR headset. Although there are technical kinks to be worked out and business models to emerge, early signs that consumers want VR are positive. The Rift is back-ordered to July, the Vive to May, and, on Amazon, the PlayStation VR Launch Bundle pre-order sold out within minutes of going live. Continue reading VR Faces its Moment of Truth as Headsets Become Available

GDC 2016 Tops Attendance Record, Celebrates Past & Future

The 30th edition of the Game Developers Conference (GDC) set a record for event attendance, with more than 27,000 game industry professionals at last week’s conference in San Francisco’s Moscone Center. One of the major draws this year was the debut of the Virtual Reality Developers Conference (VRDC), an event dedicated to the creation of new video games, entertainment and technology around virtual and augmented reality (AR), which was held alongside GDC 2016. VRDC brought greater focus to the nascent field of virtual reality development. Continue reading GDC 2016 Tops Attendance Record, Celebrates Past & Future

Nokia Reimagines Hardware with OZO Virtual Reality Camera

Nokia just debuted OZO, its $60,000 virtual reality camera and the first hardware product the company has made since it sold its mobile phone business to Microsoft in 2014. OZO was productized by Dolby Laboratories veteran Ramzi Haidamus, hired by Nokia in July 2014 to figure out the future of its hardware division. When Haidamus saw an early prototype of the virtual reality camera, he says, he was sold on the idea of developing it. He declined to say how many OZOs Nokia has sold thus far. Continue reading Nokia Reimagines Hardware with OZO Virtual Reality Camera

Sky Opens VR Studio to Produce Virtual Reality Video Content

European pay-TV company Sky launched Sky VR Studio to create immersive video content for VR platforms. The first content will involve sports and, later, entertainment and news. Majority-owned by 21st Century Fox, Sky, which was an early investor in VR startup Jaunt, has 21 million subscribers. Sky’s VR content will first be ported to third party platforms such as Facebook 360, Oculus and YouTube 360, for users with Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR. Its ultimate goal is to develop its own VR app and host and stream VR content. Continue reading Sky Opens VR Studio to Produce Virtual Reality Video Content

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