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Aug-16-2016 12:43printcomments

Sports in 360: Video Technology in Rio and Beyond

This type of viewing gives all angles of an experience to watch

360 VR
Rio Olympics - 360 Tour of RIO
Photo: 360 VR

(SALEM, Ore.) - The way that people are watching sports is changing. More people tap their mobile devices for live sports coverage than ever before, with 26 percent of teens completely abandoning TV in favor of digital sports watching.

People want a more engaging sports viewing experience than a flat screen alone offers and technology developers are working overtime to meet the growing demand for better sports watching options.

It’s not just the “how” of watching that is changing, though.

The lens through which fans can view their favorite games is evolving too, thanks in large part to 360 video. Also called “immersive video,” this type of viewing operates exactly as it sounds: by giving viewers all angles of an experience to watch.

Industries like tourism have already picked up on the 360 video trend and transported travelers instantly to locations they’ve only experienced on flat screens in the past. Immersive video gives viewers a lot more to see and engage with than 2D, or even 3D, offerings.

It only makes sense that sports viewing is following suit. Just in time for summer Olympics coverage in Rio, the BBC network announced live 360-degree viewing options for sports like volleyball, fencing, and boxing.

The opening ceremony was streamed live in 360 and the closing ceremonies will be too. For the millions of fans who cannot physically travel to Rio to cheer on their favorite athletes, 360 video offers an alternative that’s up close and personal.

Other media outlets are also experimenting with 360 video during the Rio games. Time uploaded a 360-degree video tour of Rio on its website, and Sport Illustrated posted “scenes” from Rio in 360 degrees.

Both of these video options represent the best of what 360 video technology offers: immersive viewing of places people really want to be. While neither option is specifically sports-minded, it ties into the theme of the Olympics and adds context to the sports that people do watch in all formats.

Olympic sports aren’t the only ones that look good in 360 views. Recently a large poker tournament used 360-degree video technology in Aspers Casino in London.

The experiment marked the very first time 360 video has been used during a poker tournament. Fans of big-name poker players like Andy Cole and Kara Scott got a closer, more engaging look at their favorites in the heat of the game and a real-world, exploratory panorama of the event was documented.

The technology of 360 videos has the potential to forever change the way sports are watched – and it will be an advantage to fans who will get to see even more of the players they love, and in higher quality.

While 360 video may never replace the feeling of actually being at a sporting event or tournament, it could come pretty darn close.

Source: Salem-News.com Special Features Dept.

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