NBC to Live Stream 2018 Winter Olympics in VR for Pay-TV Viewers

This photo taken on Aug. 3rd, 2018, shows a monument of Olympic games and a hotel , Sky Bay Gyeongpo, under construction in Pyeongchang, South Korea. PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games will be held for 17 days from 9 to 25 February 2018.( The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images )

NBC will present more than 50 hours of virtual-reality coverage from the 2018 Winter Olympics next month in South Korea — available live to viewers in the U.S.

It will mark the first time that Olympic programming in VR will be delivered live in the U.S on a wide range of devices and platforms, and the first time that any Winter Olympics has been in VR. For the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio, NBC delivered 85-plus hours of VR content in partnership with Samsung but most of that was available on a next-day delay.

To access the VR content from the games in PyeongChang, American viewers will need to subscribe to a pay-TV provider and log in using their subscriber credentials.

NBC’s VR coverage of the Winter Games is being powered by Intel True VR technology, which uses multiple camera pods to create interactive 360-degree virtual-reality environments. Also on Monday at CES 2018Intel announced the opening of an L.A.-based studio space dedicated to the production of VR and augmented reality.

The 50-plus hours of live VR programming, supplied to NBC Olympics by the IOC’s Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS), will include the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, alpine skiing, curling, snowboarding, skeleton, figure skating, short track, ski jumping, ice hockey, big air and more.

In addition, NBC will offer VR replays of all the Winter Olympics events previously live-streamed; one daily 360-degree video of a sport not available in VR the previous day; and packaged highlights from the day before.

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SOURCE: Variety, Todd Spangler