Greenlight Insights Provides State of the Virtual Reality Industry at NAB Show 2016

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Today, Clifton Dawson, Founder & President of Greenlight VR, was invited as a featured speaker at the National Association of Broadcasters Show (NAB Show®) in Las Vegas. Clifton’s talk focused on assessing the forecasted growth and development of the VR industry.

Here are few of the takeaways from his talk:

  1. VR is the most bandwidth intensive technology, but solutions are developing. 360 video for VR comes with a unique set of challenges, including even bigger incoming raw file sizes to warped, stitched-together imagery to streaming without buffering. Facebook has been very open about the numerous engineering challenges it has faced with 360 video and how they’ve solved them. Watch for important advances in how VR/AR content is processed in the front and distributed to applications and mobile devices in a way that doesn’t impair bandwidth.
  2. Carrier involvement may prove major catalyst for consumer adoption. For anyone who has tried live-streamed video in a VR headset, it’s immediately clear that the experience will become dramatically improved by the availability of 5G wireless technology. While an exactly timeframe for when 5G will be broadly available is unclear, Verizon and Samsung recently teamed up to begin testing 5G. The tests are being conducted inside buildings, and inside a special truck marked "Samsung 5G" on the side. Last September, the nation's largest carrier said that some level of commercial deployment up and running in 2017.  However, once we see carriers like AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile partner with streaming sites to deliver content at a subsidized cost, then we’ll know we’re ready for primetime.
  3. A sorting out process is still a few years off on the path to mainstream adoption. Various hardware configurations will likely evolve to optimize specific vertical use cases, and this process may be confusing and frustrating for consumers. A look back at the sorting-out process in the earlier generations of VR headsets, console gaming, smartphones, tablets, PC/laptops, and VCR, and DVR product categories offers clues to some of the issues VR may face – conflicting standards, compatibility issues, technological dead-ends and market failures. One example of this sorting out process at play is the primary distribution platforms for VR content. We might expect some producers to seek to monetize content on the same digital platforms where viewers can today stream or download movies. This will provide an opportunity for cable providers and broadcasters to build more video streaming capabilities and apps into the box itself, and deliver on-demand and streaming options - which is a alternative model than the present app store model.

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