Nokia Brings Real Time Virtual Reality to TV Broadcasts

Nokia OZO VR Camera

After almost a three-fold reduction in revenue thanks to the most disastrous CEO of all times, ex-Microsoft management disaster called Stephen Elop, Nokia is finding its new path as the largest network backbone provider. The company mantra of focusing on delivering and distributing content through its own channels (new consumer devices from Nokia coming this year), it looks like the time has come to disrupt another firm industry.

At the launch of OZO virtual reality camera, Nokia stated that this is just a beginning for the company, and that they plan to significantly disrupt the conventional 2D spaces, especially in broadcast and film industry. Given the 3D modelling capabilities of new OZO VR camera, it’s just a question of time before the recorded VR space gets augmented by layers of digital information (such as ones we see in popular sports) and then broadcasted to wide audience.

During the NAB 2016 conference, which takes place in Las Vegas, Nokia announced live broadcast capability for OZO camera. Apparently, more than ten different partners signed up for the camera, meaning we might see trial real-time broadcasts being demoed as soon as September 2016, with first live championships coming next year (2017). Details from the official press release:

  • “The Live VR broadcasting solution for OZO, available to selected partners in Q2 2016 and broadly in Q3 2016, will make the VR experience stronger through 360-degree audio and video, thus enabling viewers to experience events at the same time they are occurring, regardless of location. During NAB, Nokia will be demonstrating a series of live VR experiences including performances from select artists in partnership with Capitol Records Group – a relationship that first demonstrated live full 3D VR audio & video in November at the Los Angeles launch event of OZO, where Best Coast performed on the rooftop of the iconic Capitol Records building. Attendees of NAB can view these live VR experiences from multiple booths during the conference, including Nokia Technologies, Elemental Technologies and Akamai, Nokia Technologies’ partners in the initial VR live broadcast trials.
  • OZO Creator will ship in April with 3D VR stitching functionality, free of charge to OZO customers. With this new feature, Nokia Technologies has removed the complexity from 3D 360-degree footage, making it simpler than ever for creators to produce seamless, immersive content. The feature dramatically accelerates the turnaround time from content capture to consumption, making it possible to distribute refined VR experiences soon after an event has occurred.
  • Nokia Technologies is also making a multi-platform VR player SDK available to OZO customers in Q2 2016. The SDK will support creation of immersive audiovisual applications and experiences with the highest quality playback of OZO content, while also providing support for standard VR video and audio formats. Nokia plans to support all major VR platforms, and does not limit customers’ ability to distribute OZO content with any other technology. This SDK removes the barriers to effortlessly creating and delivering great VR experiences to a wide audience.”

If you don’t have $60,000, which is the price of OZO camera, Nokia made rental program available as well, even though – truth to be told – $60,000 is not exactly expensive. Ten years ago, we used a Sony broadcast camera in our studio… which retailed for $96,000, and it wasn’t even recording in 1080p (720p / 1080i). RED came out with the One, crashing the price of a cinema camera to $20k plus lenses, and now you can get a VR camera for as low as $10k, if you go with Google.

But a broadcast camera capable of real-time streaming still goes in six-figure range, meaning Nokia has a good potential to disrupt this space. Especially with the $15,000 discount if you sign up to their OZO Pioneer program.