KT Broadcasts Opening Baseball Game Via Virtual Reality
Michael Song, April 11, 2016, 8:07 a.m.
KT broadcast the opening game of the KT Wiz’s season live through virtual reality (VR), the first mobile 360-degree live broadcast shared on the sports game site. The crowd wore exclusive VR cardboard viewers handed out by KT, and enjoyed a more dynamic view of the game. Even those sitting in the cheap seats could see the players move clearly. The crowd was fascinated by the 360-degree video, which showed the game when they looked ahead, and cheerleaders when they looked back.
However, the VR footage lagged by 20 seconds. The time gap made some viewers miss important moments. Also, the device caused dizziness when used for a long period of time. KT placed a recording device made by connecting five Sony digital cameras near home plate and first and third bases. Five different video feeds taken with fisheye lenses were combined into a 360-degree video using stitching software. KT distributed VR viewers worth 2,000 won to 1,000 people who came to watch the game. The VR footage was provided through Olleh TV Mobile, mobile IPTV, and ‘Wiz App’, an application exclusive to KT Wiz. The viewers could select the resolution of the videos.
The fast Wi-Fi connection allowed for live VR streaming despite the high data capacity. KT Wiz Park has free Wi-Fi that is as fast as 20Mbps even if 20,000 people access the service at once. KT plans to continue the live VR broadcasts until April 7. The company also plans to launch VOD services that provide clips of highlights in 360-degree videos.
The videos can be watched anywhere by installing the smartphone application. People watching the game at home can experience the atmosphere of the ball park as if they were there. Features that allow viewers to watch 360-degree videos without a VR viewer are also available.
The VR broadcasts of the baseball game could be a test bed for the live VR broadcasting KT plans to provide during the Pyeongchang Olympics. KT officials hope that the company will be able to provide new experiences and new content after the live VR broadcasts.