PyeongChang 2018

PyeongChang 2018: NBC Olympics, Intel To Deliver 50+ Hours of Live VR Coverage

Intel announced at CES 2018 it will team with OBS to produce content for NBC, other rightsholders

During the XXIII Olympic Winter Games from PyeongChang, South Korea, NBC Olympics and Intel True VR will provide more than 50 hours of live virtual-reality coverage via the NBC Sports VR app to authenticated users with Windows Mixed Reality headsets, Samsung Gear VR, Google Cardboard, or Google Daydream and compatible iOS or Android devices. It will mark the first time that VR will be available for a Winter Olympics and that Olympic VR programming will be live in the U.S on a wide range of devices and platforms. 

In a CES 2018 Opening Keynote, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich revealed plans to deliver VR content from the Winter Olympics.

The live VR programming, supplied to NBC Olympics by its partner Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS), will include the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, alpine skiing, curling, snowboarding, skeleton, figure skating, short track, ski jumping, ice hockey, and big air. In addition to NBC Olympics, OBS and Intel will be producing content for a cavalcade of rightsholders worldwide.

In addition, NBC Olympics will offer VR replays of all events previously live-streamed, one daily 360-degree video of a sport not available in VR the previous day, and packaged highlights from the day before.

The VR experience is enabled by Intel True VR technology, which uses multiple camera pods at each event to create interactive 360-degree virtual-reality environments. Viewers will be able to customize their experience by switching among multiple vantage points, hear natural sound captured at each camera location to provide a truly immersive experience, and enjoy real-time stats, leaderboards, and post-event results. Viewers will also be able to “fly” through the Olympic world, touring Olympic venues and different areas throughout Korea.

“The Olympics have long been an opportunity to showcase emerging media technology,” says Gary Zenkel, president, NBC Olympics. “With the help of Intel’s industry-leading virtual-reality technology, NBC Olympics will deliver a transformative experience that will bring to Olympic fans an entirely new perspective on the speed, thrills, and excitement of an Olympic Winter Games.”

Says James Carwana, VP/GM, Intel Sports Group, “The Olympic Games is a unique opportunity to bring people from around the world together to build camaraderie and cheer for their favorite athletes. We are enabling a truly immersive experience, where fans get closer to the action than ever before, allowing them to feel like they are sitting in the stands for a front-and-center view of history being made.”

NBC Olympics will also provide content prior to the start of the Games, with behind-the-scenes content captured with Intel True VR technology. VR users will be able to experience a winter-sports athlete’s preparations for the Games; witness the culture, sights, and beauty of Korea; and explore the PyeongChang Olympic venues.

Programming will span every day of the Games — with the exception of Feb. 18 — beginning the day of the Opening Ceremony on Friday Feb. 9 and concluding with the Closing Ceremony on Sunday Feb. 25. The content will be available to authenticated users on Samsung, Google, Windows, and Android and iOS devices through the NBC Sports VR app.

NBC Olympics’ first foray into VR was for the 2016 Rio Olympics. Most programming was presented on next-day delay.

Virtual reality immerses the viewer in an environment, whether real or imagined, creating either a lifelike experience at a place in the real world or putting a viewer into simulated environments, such as in a VR game.

Following is a VR Live schedule:

Date Coverage Time (ET)
Fri. Feb. 9 Opening Ceremony 8 p.m.*
Alpine Skiing (Men’s Downhill – Training) 9 p.m.
Sat. Feb. 10 Alpine Skiing (Men’s Downhill) 9 p.m.
Sun. Feb. 11 Curling (Mixed Doubles Semifinal) 7:05 p.m.
Mon. Feb. 12 Curling (Mixed Doubles Semifinal) 6:05 a.m.
Snowboard Halfpipe (Women’s Final) 8 p.m.
Snowboard – Halfpipe (Men’s Qualifying) 11 p.m.
Tues. Feb. 13 Snowboard Halfpipe (Men’s Final) 8:30 p.m.
Wed. Feb. 14 Figure Skating (Pairs’ Free) 8:30 p.m.
Thurs. Feb. 15 Skeleton (Men’s Final) 7:30 p.m.
Fri. Feb. 16 Skeleton (Women’s Runs) 6:20 a.m.
Figure Skating (Men’s Free) 8 p.m.
Sat. Feb. 17 Short Track (Men’s and Women’s) 5 a.m.
Alpine Skiing (Men’s Giant Slalom) 8:15 p.m.
Alpine Skiing (Men’s Giant Slalom) 11:45 p.m.
Sun. Feb. 18
Mon. Feb. 19 Ski Jumping (Men’s LH Team) 7:30 a.m.
Figure Skating (Ice Dance) 8 p.m.
Tues. Feb. 20 Alpine Skiing (Women’s Downhill) 9 p.m.
Wed. Feb. 21 Ice Hockey (Women’s Gold Medal Final) 11:10 p.m.
Thurs. Feb. 22 Big Air (Women’s Final) 7:30 p.m.
Fri. Feb. 23 Big Air (Men’s Final) 8 p.m.
Sat. Feb. 24 Ice Hockey (Men’s Gold Medal Final) 11:10 p.m.
Sun. Feb. 25 Closing Ceremony 8 p.m.*

*Indicates same-day delay

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