NextVR’s Resolution Upgrade Is A Game-Changer

by Ian Hamilton • January 16th, 2018

Newport Beach-based NextVR offered a trio of updates as CES announcements last week. The first announcement was that the company is planning gradual support for full freedom of movement. The second was that the company will be streaming WWE soon. The third update was, in my opinion, the biggest of all — a resolution bump to broadcasts.

The importance of full freedom of movement cannot be understated and professional wrestling is a perfect match for NextVR’s capture system, but demos of the resolution update seen inside the higher resolution Samsung Odyssey showed just how immersive the company’s reality capture could feel.

I saw sections from a “Monster Jam” on the Fox Sports Channel in VR. The content is already on the NextVR app but the increased resolution I saw in the Odyssey isn’t available publicly just yet. It was incredible how much the improved resolution (tuned to take advantage of Odyssey’s 1440×1600 per eye display) enhanced my sense of presence.

The monster trucks popped from the background and seemed to soar through the air in slow motion, impressing me with their size and power the same way they might if I was watching the event live. At one point dirt and dust kicked up from the track and swirled in the air in intricate patterns — a bit of detail I don’t recall ever noting in a VR broadcast before. The sense of presence it produced was so powerful I found myself wishing the company had included environmental effects like wind to further enhance the feeling.

NextVR said it is exploring social broadcasts — so you can watch something like an NBA game together with a friend — and its full freedom of movement and increased resolutions should work together on headsets that can support it. So a headset like Samsung Odyssey may offer a greater sense of presence when both advances are shown together in a single broadcast.

Overall there is a big year ahead for NextVR as it works to scale to more headsets and higher quality than the startup has ever achieved before. We’ll keep you updated on the company’s roll-out as the year progresses.

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  • Nate

    My dream is to be able to throw on my headset, and be able to pay a fee to watch any NFL, NBA, or Premier League match I want in VR with multiple potential viewing angles.

    Being able to connect with my family and friends in different parts of the world and chat with them about whatever game would be awesome too.

    • Downvote King

      Face and hand scanning for interactions, and possibly even body scanning or interpolation would go a long way to making it feel like you were sitting together at the game as well!

      • rich1051414

        Realtime lidar with cameras doing texture mapping would be insane, and feasible. It would allow people to physically stand on the field while a game is being played.

        • Downvote King

          LIDAR would be a great way to capture the field and players, although using this to capture the viewer, I feel like you’d need to dress up to go out in VR then – could be better for dating than watching sports in your underwear 😉

          It would be really cool though. I think outside the boardroom, or yeah maybe dating, it would be a good use of R & D to determine the most you can do for face, hand, and body tracking from inside the headset, allowing it to be truly portable. Especially as AR and VR continue to converge on smaller and smaller headsets, it would be fantastic if you could be anywhere and still have convincing VR telepresence.