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VR Video: Boom or Bust?

A new study by Unisphere Research reveals a mixed assessment of VR video by media and entertainment industry professionals, but a strong interest in live OTT video streaming.

VR Video

A Unisphere Research study commissioned by Level 3 Communications shows a marked uptick in interest in virtual reality video delivery.

The study, titled “The OTT-Video Services Market: Today’s Trends and What Is Next for 4K, HDR, HFR, and VR,” is based on a survey conducted in partnership with Streaming Media magazine. In all, 628 people from media and entertainment companies across the globe responded to the survey and gave their insights into many over-the-top (OTT) topics, from high-dynamic range (HDR) and high frame rate (HFR) enhancements to 1080p video as well insights into their thinking about emerging formats such as Ultra HD (UHD or 4K) and VR video.

Level 3 was quite interested in understanding virtual reality better, and the survey responses provided keen insight into the world of VR. To add interest around the survey, Level 3 offered a VR-centric prize: Respondents were entered in a drawing for an Oculus Rift VR headset.

After assessing the survey data, contributing editor Tim Siglin, who authored both the survey questions and the final analysis, said his mind had changed about the potential for VR video delivery.

“When I started the process of crafting questions for this second annual survey on OTT for Level 3, I was a VR video skeptic,” Siglin says. “But it became clear during the analysis phase that a VR video strategic decision has tremendous mindshare for those companies already offering OTT services.”

Interest in VR video fell heavily along lines of survey respondents offering OTT services, which accounted for about half of all responses. Other respondents were either thinking about launching OTT services or were part of not-for-profit groups using online video platforms (OVPs) or augmenting internal delivery with an external content delivery network (CDN).

OTT service providers favored VR video by a slight margin, with just over half stating they were at least researching VR’s potential. That group included those who were either getting ready to launch or have already launched VR video content delivery.


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