2016 Olympic Committee shelves 4K and spotlights VR

The broadcast division of the International Olympic Games has said there are no plans for TV broadcasting in 4K Ultra HD at Rio 2016, but have signalled interest in trials of virtual reality technologies.

The International Olympic Committee’s broadcast unit has a history of using the Olympic Games as a launch pad for new viewing experiences.

Yiannis Exarchos, CEO of Olympic Broadcast Services, said: “There is no demand from our rights holders for 4K. We have to take our cue from broadcasters."

Virtual reality, however, has attracted more interest and the committee has been investigating possible applications at the 2016 games.

Exarchos said: “The technology is maturing quickly. There is real interest in virtual experiences to mobile phones. One VR application we are exploring is around viewing aspects of the Games after the event.”

This comes at time of high activity in world of virtual reality. Samsung Gear VR and Google Cardboard are already available, which transform smartphone screens into virtual reality headgear. Oculus Rift and Sony’s Project Morpheus are set to be on market in time for the Rio Games.

Major studios are also experimenting with VR. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Fox Home Entertainment president Mike Dunn called VR the “real deal” and projected that the technology will be mainstream by 2017.

In terms of Ultra HD broadcast, Yiannis Exarchos has set his sights further towards 8K development, though not for broadcast coverage of the Rio games.

“In my opinion 8K is much more of a game-changer than 4K. You can really see a huge difference in experience whereas the gap between HD and 4K is far less.”

DTG Staff  |  24.02.2015

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