Samsung Gear VR owners can experience the Olympics in virtual reality

Nick Broughall 4 August 2016


Missed your ticket to Rio for the 2016 Olympics? Samsung and 7 have created a virtual reality workaround.

Virtual reality is picking up pace, from 360 cameras for creating VR content to dedicated headsets like the Playstation VR for engaging gaming experiences. And now VR has come to the 2016 Olympic Games, with Samsung partnering with Channel 7 to deliver VR coverage of the games to Gear VR owners.

100 hours of live and on demand 360-degree footage will be made available from the 2016 Rio Olympics through a dedicated "7Rio VR 2016" app, offering a unique opportunity to experience the event. Channel 7 will also be showcasing some of the highlighted 360-degree content on its Facebook page.

Both the opening and closing ceremonies will be part of the VR coverage, as will events like boxing, fencing, gymnastics, diving, and beach volleyball.

While the 100 hours on offer is a tiny percentage of the 3,600 hours of HD footage that will be made available through 7's Olympics app on iOS and Android, it's still a considerable technological advancement for sports coverage.

VR isn't the only technology getting a trial run this Olympic games, either. Japanese fans in Tokyo and Osaka will be able to enjoy special 8K broadcasts from Rio during the course of the games. Japan's public channel NHK will be running a trial broadcast at a resolution of 7680×4320, which is about four times as detailed as a 4K Netflix stream. Getting your hands on an 8K TV is nigh on impossible (even in Japan), so the broadcaster has set up special 8K viewing theatres in Tokyo and Osaka for the duration of the trial.

Samsung Gear VR can be purchased directly through Samsung's website and is compatible with Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6 edge+, Galaxy S6 edge, Galaxy S6, Galaxy S7 edge, Galaxy S7.

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