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NBC to provide live VR coverage of Winter Olympics

Virtual reality VR Edinburgh Digital Entertainment FestivalUS TV network NBC is to provide over 50 hours of live virtual reality coverage of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in partnership with Intel.

NBC will use Intel’s True VR technology to deliver VR coverage of the games to authenticated users with Windows Mixed Reality headsets, Samsung Gear VR, and both Google Cardboard and Google Daydream, with compatible iOS or Android devices via the NBC Sports VR app.

According to NBC, this will be the first time that Olympic VR programming will be available live in the US on siuch a wide range of devices and platforms.

The 50 hours of live VR programming, which will be supplied to the broadcaster by Olympic Broadcasting Services, will include the opening and closing ceremonies as well as coverage of alpine skiing, curling, snowboarding, skeleton, figure skating, short track, ski jumping, ice hockey and big air.

NBC will also provide VR replays of previously live-streamed events, one daily 360° degree video of a sport not available in VR the previous day and packaged highlights from the previous cay’s events.

Intel’s True VR technology employs multiple camera pods at each event to create interactive 360° virtual reality environments. Viewers will be able to customise their experience by switching between multiple vantange points, hear natural sound captured at each camera location to provide a truly immersive experience, and enjoy real-time stats, leaderboards and post-event results.

“The Olympics have long been an opportunity to showcase emerging media technology. With the help of Intel’s industry-leading virtual reality technology, NBC Olympics will deliver a transformative experience that will bring to Olympic fans an entirely new perspective on the speed, thrills, and excitement of an Olympic Winter Games,” said Gary Zenkel, president, NBC Olympics.

“The Olympic Games is a unique opportunity to bring people from around the world together to build camaraderie and cheer for their favorite athletes. We are enabling a truly immersive experience, where fans get closer to the action than ever before allowing them feel like they are sitting in the stands for a front and center view of history being made,” said James Carwana, vice president and general manager of Intel Sports Group.