More the 26 million people around the world watched the opening ceremonies for the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games on Friday night – but for the first time ever, some of them watched it in virtual reality.
That’s right – this year you can feel like you’re in the middle of the action without spending thousands of dollars on a ticket to be there. NBC has agreed to broadcast 85 hours of this year’s Olympics in VR – including the opening and closing ceremonies, men’s basketball, gymnastics, track and field, beach volleyball, diving, boxing, and fencing events – through a special section of the NBC Sports app. But there’s a catch: viewers need the Samsung Gear VR headset, a Samsung smartphone, and a paid TV subscription (which they’d need to watch NBC’s non-VR streaming broadcasts as well).
While only a small percentage of viewers will likely watch the Olympics in virtual reality, this signals a new era of technology integration. How long will it be until broadcasting events in VR is the new norm? Is VR the end of TV screens altogether?
For a deep dive into these questions about virtual reality, click here.
Here are a four other “firsts” from the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games:
- This is the first time athletes born in the 2000s are competing in the Olympics. The rules state that competitors’ birthdays must be before Jan. 1, 2003 (although many sports have stricter age requirements).
- This is the first time the Olympic Games will be held in a South American country.
- This is the first time in 112 years that the Olympics will feature golf. The last time it was played during the Games was in 1904.
- This is the first time a group of refugees will compete in the Olympics as a team. The ten athletes are from Syria, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Innovation is what defines us here at ADG. We’re committed to understanding and getting ahead of the world’s “firsts,” while telling extraordinary stories along the way. Ready to become an ADG Olympian? Join our team.