Windows Mixed Reality isn't just about games, albeit there is going to be plenty on that front (especially when SteamVR support arrives). By the very nature of being immersed inside a head-mounted display (HMD), you're putting yourself at the center of whatever content you're enjoying.
360-degree video has been growing in popularity, but we're looking beyond just content that's there to showcase the technology. What about enjoying sports in Windows Mixed Reality? Thanks to NextVR, that ball is already rolling.
NextVR isn't exclusive to Windows Mixed Reality, nor does it seem to offer full 360-degree video content. But what it is offering is a unique angle on sports like NFL and NBA. There's a whole heap of content that isn't sports related, but it's coverage of these two that have initially got us pretty excited. There's also a Fox sports VR channel, though right now it's less well stocked.
Navigating the app is really simple, you just have to move your head and look at the item you want then pull the trigger on the controller. NextVR also supports a range of voice commands. For example, when you're watching a video, simply saying "go home" is the quickest way to get back to where you started.
You can enjoy immersive video content in the Movies & TV app, but NextVR is a step above this as it has created a broadcast platform dedicated to this type of content. The video isn't 360-degrees, rather taking in a 180-degree view in front of you. Behind you might find some ancillary content, like scoreboards but mostly it's stuff that won't distract you.
The range of content on offer goes from highlights to full game replays, and you'll be watching from angles you wouldn't be able to experience on a TV. How about watching a touchdown pass from under the posts or standing on the sidelines? Or even watching NBA highlights from above the net?
Video quality is decent, so long as you go into it knowing what this kind of video is capable of right now. It's nowhere near as sharp as it'll be on any TV, but on my Lenovo Explorer it looks really good. The casters look sharp and well focused and even in a fast-paced environment like sports, it's perfectly easy to follow the action. It feels weird at first but you'll soon settle in.
The most current content comes from the likes of the NFL, but there's a selection of other sports to enjoy including Wimbledon tennis and the recent International Champions Cup soccer event that took place in the U.S. I didn't spend much time with the non-sports content, but it's the same idea just without balls being involved.
Right now, NextVR feels like a proof-of-concept, and it may well be that in some regards. This kind of content is still very early in its life but services like this are a solid foundation. NextVR offers a unique way to experience sports through the power of Windows Mixed Reality, and we're really excited to see what the future holds.
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