NBC to offer virtual reality coverage of PyeongChang Olympics

NBC will provide more than 50 hours of live virtual reality coverage powered by Intel True VR during the XXIII Olympic Winter Games from PyeongChang, South Korea, to authenticated users with Windows Mixed Reality headsets, Samsung Gear VR, and both Google Cardboard and Google Daydream, with compatible iOS or Android devices via the NBC Sports VR app.

This effort will mark the first time ever 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.

The more than 50 hours of live VR programming, supplied to NBC Olympics by its partner Olympic Broadcasting Services, will include the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, alpine skiing, curling, snowboarding, skeleton, figure skating, short track, ski jumping, ice hockey, big air and more.

In addition, NBC Olympics will offer VR replays of all events previously livestreamed; 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 between multiple vantange 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, tour Olympic venues and different areas throughout Korea.

“The Olympics have long been an opportunity to showcase emerging media technology,” said Gary Zenkel, president, NBC Olympics in a statement. “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.”

“The Olympic Games is a unique opportunity to bring people from around the world together to build camaraderie and cheer for their favorite athletes,” said James Carwana, vice president and general manager of Intel Sports Group. “We are enabling a truly immersive experience, where fans get closer to the action than ever before allowing them 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 prepare 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 Rio Olympics in 2016. Most programming was presented on next-day delay.

Schedule

  • Fri., Feb. 9: Opening Ceremony 8 p.m. (same day delay); 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.
  • 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. (same day delay)

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