Tata, Formula 1 complete world’s first truly live 360° video trial | Infrastructure | News | Rapid TV News
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Lewis Hamilton’s dramatic win at the Singapore Grand Prix was more than a race, with a proof-of-concept by Tata Communications and Formula 1 showing how F1 fans can be immersed in race action using virtual reality (VR).

Tata F1 challenge 29 May 2016The aim of the trial was to show how while watching the live race on TV, fans could build their own F1 race experiences through 360° video feeds. Tata noted that to-date, any VR and 360° video experiments in sports have been hampered by a 30-second delay between the 360° video and live TV feeds, and the fact that not everyone owns a VR headset. The Singapore proof-of-concept was said to be the first time when live 360° video feeds and TV broadcast have been shown in complete sync.

There were two 360° cameras at the Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore in the trackside and paddock to show how viewers at home could immerse themselves through a VR-like environment via the Official F1 app. During the Grand Prix build-up, fans could access a live 360° video feed from the paddock or during a race, as a driver pulled into the pits, they could complement the action on TV with a 360° view of everything that is happening in the pit lane in real-time.

“We’ve done this test to show how a fan could watch Lewis, Sebastian or any other drivers coming into the pits on TV, grab their tablet and get a second, completely in sync 360° view of everything going on around him while he is there - not 30 seconds after he has driven off,” explained aid Formula 1 chief technical officer John Morrison. “In a sport like F1, where every millisecond matters, there are huge opportunities to empower fans to take control of key Grand Prix moments and create their unique, personalised race experiences through the powerful combination of live TV and 360° video.”

Added Mehul Kapadia, MD of Tata Communications’ F1 business: “This proof of concept shows the potential of live 360° video to augment the F1 TV viewing experience and bring VR mainstream in live sports and entertainment. Eliminating the delay in 360° video means that, for the first time, it’s possible to offer fans truly live 360° video experiences on a global scale. This will enable sports and entertainment organisations to engage with their audiences in new ways and generate new revenue streams – helping the 360° video and VR market achieve its USD $60 billion potential.”

The live 360° video proof-of-concept follows close collaboration between Tata Communications and Formula 1 during the last five seasons to lay the foundations for the sport’s digital transformation, testing in action technologies such as UHD video and live broadcasting and over-the-top (OTT).