Virtual Reality At This Moment
We are at the very early stage of virtual reality and, now that a ton of headsets are out or about to come out soon, we’re going to see a flood of content ranging from games, to shorts videos, to complete movies. And, as almost anyone could have predicted, we’re already witnessing the rise of virtual reality porn.
Google Cardboard, Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR are some of the main VR headsets. HTC Vive was just released as well.
The Oculus Rift has a very immersive VR platform, but Gear VR is also good and Google Cardboard is a great introduction to virtual reality for a very affordable price. Home delivery subscribers and customers of the Sunday New York Times received a free Google Cardboard headset last November so they could watch virtual reality videos that were created by the Times.
What Are The Issues with smartphone powered VR headsets?
Both Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR use a smartphone platform for both video and audio feed and base. For Samsung VR, you need a working Samsung Galaxy phone, but Google Cardboard functions with a smartphone and any Android or iPhone. A phone really works very well for the video needs. Developers discovered a way to split the display to create a stereoscopic image that looks amazing when viewed through the headset on a smartphone. It looks very good with the $99 Samsung VR but not poor on the affordable Google Cardboard as well. Audio is also rendered through the phone and here lies part of the issues with using a smartphone. Unlike Oculus Rift, which has 360 sound, audio delivered through a phone can’t give you a good direction of where the action is happening and where you should be watching.
One of the New York Times videos displayed a plane dropping food for people at a camp in South Sudan.
There was also an awesome video of street scenes in the city of Havana during President Obama’s visit. As is typical with VR, in that experience you’re able to look left, right, up and down and hear people loudly demonstrating a government policy. I did look around and finally saw the protestors but, by the time I was squared in on them, the video changed on to another scene.
There are many advantages and disadvantages to using a smart phone for this kind of view. It is an advantage because it is affordable but it also means that there are many problems as well with the way that the follow happens and it also means that there is some improvement that needs to happen to ensure that this is the right way for technology to move forward. There are many new options that are out there for VR, it will continue to improve and be more affordable as well as the market expands.