Comcast owned NBCUniversal has launched NBC Olympics VR by Xfinity, an app which makes more than 150 hours of its Beijing Winter Olympic Games coverages available for viewing in virtual reality and 8K resolution to its U.S. Pay TV customers. Viewers can authenticate with their TV Everywhere credentials and watch live and on-demand VR coverage of six sports – including figure skating, hockey and snowboarding – while being able to switch between camera angles in select events.
The app also has highlights from events in ten additional sports (including alpine skiing and bobsled) as well as coverage of the Closing Ceremony and the Opening Ceremony where viewers will have an “athlete-level view of the event and get to experience the rush of walking for their country as an Olympian”. NBCUniversal customers will have the ability to host Olympics Watch Parties in which they can invite up to three friends to join them in a “virtual suite” where they can interact as if they were in the same room and watch Olympic games coverage together.
NBCUniversal demonstrated its early interest in 8K resolution in 2012, when it began running invitation-only demos of 8K technology in its headquarters using Summer Olympics coverage. Gary Zenkel, President, NBC Olympics Partnering, says: “With global colleagues across Comcast, our 8K virtual reality experience for the Winter Games offers fans a one-of-a-kind viewing experience where they feel as if they’re fully immersed in their favorite sports, cheering Team USA athletes to victory.”
China Media Group – China’s predominant state media company – has also used the Olympics as an opportunity to push forward with broadcasting in 8K resolution, establishing the dedicated 8K channel, CCTV-8K. During the Beijing Winter Olympics, CCTV-8K Olympics coverage has been re-broadcast across hundreds on ultra-high-definition large screens across the country.