Virtual reality is finally making its way into the mainstream, and NextVR is one of the companies ready to tap into the sports opportunities.
"There was radio, there was the TV, now there is VR," says Brad Allen, executive chairman of NextVR. "We should have 10 million products out by this time next year."
In February, NextVR partnered with the NHL to bring the 2015 Stadium Series game between the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings to the virtual stage. Then in July, it worked with the International Champions Cup to stream Manchester United's 3-1 victory against FC Barcelona.
Although Allen was hesitant to say when we would see an NFL game streamed in virtual reality, he confirmed that the two other leagues among the big four of pro sports are coming soon.
"From the start we have looked to engage all the stakeholders," Allen says. "We've worked with the NBA, NHL, MLB, NASCAR, you name it."
The biggest obstacle for VR, according to Allen, is overcoming resolution deficiencies in mobile phones.
"Most phones are about 2K resolution," he says. "We are shooting in 6K with these cameras."
Fortunately for prospective virtual sports fans, NextVR has its roots in data compression and transmission.
Additionally, several different VR headsets are set to make their debut next year. Samsung's newest, consumer-ready Gear VR headset is scheduled to be released before Black Friday. HTC/Valves' Vive and Sony's Project Morpheus are expected to follow.
Another major component to capturing a live sports event in an immersive way is delivering quality sound. Allen says NextVR is using high-tech microphones and binaural audio to enhance its live streams.