VR to usher in an era of interactive and immersive content | Infrastructure | News | Rapid TV News
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Tapping into an ecosystem as well as widespread support for application development on mobile platforms, 360° video, interactive and immersive content formats are set to generate US$6 billion dollars of revenue by 2022, according to ABI Research.

vrABI 9august2017Looking at the current virtual reality (VR) market, the analyst says that today producers, content owners and distributors are experimenting with the mediums and learning new creative tools. It notes that 360° content has been tested in major genres including the highest profile events like BT’s distribution of the 2017 Champion’s League final; music such as Deutsche Telekom’s Magenta Musik service; news such as New York Times VR; and adoption by subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) giant Netflix which has just launched its first interactive content with children’s programmes Puss in Boots and Buddy Thunderstruck designed to increase engagement.

“Immersive content promises to marry Hollywood style content, tapping into the production elements of video games,” commented Sam Rosen, managing director and VP at ABI Research. “New technologies exist to conduct fully spatial and/or light field mapping of spaces, as well as to generate holographic models of actors. Combining these techniques with artist-generated layers and interactive storytelling elements, such as speech synthesis, opens the door to using gaming technologies to deliver immersive entertainment to large audiences. Early on, content will probably only target location-based VR installations, but broader reach of the genre could come when a larger number of standalone VR headsets launch in 2018.”

Yet despite its optimism, ABI also struck a note of caution in its 360 Degree Video Workflows report, observing that 360° video faces a variety of filming and distribution challenges. It suggests that from a camera perspective, stitching is a critical challenge and algorithms and workflows vary widely between live and file-based workflows. Also, from a delivery standpoint, delivering the full panorama to the user requires about four to five times the displayed resolution, depending on the field of view of the headset, yet said ABI, attempting to deliver only the required video requires low latency delivery which places artificial limitations on head movement (in degrees per minute) or results in extreme pixilation of images.

“The 360° video market presents a struggle for content creators,” Rosen added. “On the one hand the new technology enables them to tell stories in a more impactful and immersive way, but it also requires new expertise, workflows and hardware. Add to this the limited installed base and still developing business models and it quickly becomes difficult to green light a project if ROI only looks at the near-term. The development of the market will depend on both smaller firms testing experiences with modest budgets, as well as larger firms investing in full scale projects and sponsoring internal and external innovation in the market.”