BBC to Stream World Cup in VR

Two controllers PSVR watching World Cup in VR.

The summer’s most significant sporting event will be coming to VR and 4K, the BBC has announced. The World Cup, starting on June 14th, will see a trial run in both Ultra HD and virtual reality. Ever since the first tournament was shown on TV in 1954, the BBC has been committed to providing the very best sports coverage of the event. Over the years, they’ve continued to innovate football broadcasting on the world stage. Football (or soccer) fans will have the chance to experience the tournament in new and exciting ways. In this article, we’ll find out how the streaming will work, and how you can watch the World Cup in VR.

How Will World Cup VR Streaming Work?

It’s worth noting that the BBC is only trialling this technology. This means that the 4K aspect won’t be available to everyone. Exact numbers haven’t been released yet, but according to their website, it will be in the ‘tens of thousands’ of spectators who will be able to watch all 33 of the BBCs games in 4K. As for VR, they claim that anyone with a smartphone and VR headset will be able to watch the games. The BBC has designed an app specifically for the event. It will allow participants to stream the content live from Russia.

Viewers will have their own private ‘box’ at the stadium where they can view the games, with the option to switch seats to behind either goal. Stats about the games will be viewable from the virtual coffee table in the room. Viewers will be able to access a daily highlights package of the day’s action when games aren’t being played live.

What Do I Need to Watch the World Cup in VR?

The app to watch the football in VR will be available to download on various app stores. The supported devices include Apple and Android phones, Samsung Gear VR headset, Oculus Go headset, and PlayStation VR headset. There are some software requirements though; it requires at least Apple iOS 10 and Android 5. On their website, the BBC suggests that an internet connection of 10Mbit/s or above is ideal. Streaming the games live is fairly data intensive, so it’s recommended to do so over Wi-Fi rather than on a data package.

Russia 2018 in VR

For fans that are unable to attend the World Cup in Russia, the BBC is giving the next best solution. In other articles, we’ve discussed just how immersive the virtual reality experience can be, so hopefully, this trial does the technology justice. We can hopefully expect to see further events shown in this medium if it does indeed attract a lot of attention. The technology is still in its infancy, so any high-profile trial such as this will help it gain some momentum.

As we saw with the Oculus Venues app, there could very well be a market for live entertainment in VR. The crucial aspect is capturing the atmosphere and sense of drama and bringing it into people’s homes.

Planning to watch a match in VR? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Samsung Gear VR Front Closeup - view of the front of the headset.
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