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Orange to launch OCS virtual reality pilot service

orange vrOrange is to launch a virtual reality TV pilot service. OCS VR will allow OCS TV subscribers equipped with a VR headset to view movies and TV shows in an “immersive environment”.

The service will be available on Samsung Gear VR from October 12 and on Sony PlayStation VR from the end of October.

According to Orange, the service will initially enable OCS subscribers to view the group’s entire catalogue of premium video content in an immersive VR environment designed to look like a private theatre.

However, from the beginning of December, Orange will also provide the Orange VR Experience, a test programme being run in partnership with Los Angeles-based Wevr, in which Orange’s investment unit Orange Digital Ventures took a stake at the start of the year. Wevr, which provides a video hosting platform for VR programming alongside a VR engine to facilitate the creation of immersive videos, also secured funding from HTC, Samsung, AME Cloud Ventures and Digital Garage.

For the VR Experience, Orange will test distribution of native VR content through partnerships with Twentieth Century Fox Innovation Lab, Warner Bros., Felix & Paul Studios, Apelab, InnerspaceVR, Okio studio and Wevr studio.

The pilot programme will run in France for six months from December 1 and will be extended later to other European countries.

Guillaume Lacroix, SVP, partnerships and services, TV and video at Orange’s content division, said: “At Orange, we see virtual reality as a new medium that’s still in its infancy: everything from the software and technology, to the development of new uses and the development of a business model is still a work in progress. We’re looking at the space to better understand the new ways that content will be delivered and consumed in the future as this will impact our activities as a mobile network operator and Internet service provider.”

Georges Nahon, CEO of Orange Silicon Valley in San Francisco, said: “At Orange Silicon Valley, we are strong believers in the potential of VR. We’ve identified Wevr early on as a pioneer and leader in the field of high-quality virtual reality content production and distribution. Orange has been helping the company’s development especially around Transport, Wevr’s distribution network for virtual reality content.”