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Verizon streamed Super Bowl LII in VR over 5G

Verizon streamed Super Bowl LII in VR over 5G
From Engadget - February 10, 2018

It was all part of an ambitious 5G stress test that Verizon quietly ran during Super Bowl LII, and according to the company, it was a success. "This latest demonstration at Super Bowl LII and in New York City is another example of how we are pushing 5G to exploit never-before-imagined use cases and applications," said Sanyogita Shamsunder, Verizon's executive director of 5G ecosystems and innovation.

The work started in late November, when engineers and support staff first installed equipment in the stadium's Verizon suite. The equipment was configured to use the 800MHz bandwidth on Verizon's 28GHz millimeter wave spectrum (that's the spectrum needed for 5G).

In December, enVRmnt, Verizon's AR/VR partner, positioned two BlackMagic 4K URSA cameras in the seats below the suite. Verizon then spent the next few weeks installing even more equipment and running a couple of preliminary tests during Vikings home games, to make sure everything was set up correctly.

All of that work culminated during the Super Bowl itself, as a crew of 20 or so employees and network partners gathered together in a Verizon Open Innovation Center in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. Instead of watching the game on big-screen TVs, they took turns donning a single Daydream headset equipped with a Samsung Galaxy S8.

The GS8 was running a custom VR environment that placed the viewers in a replica of the aforementioned Verizon suite in Minneapolis, complete with bar and fridge. On the surrounding walls were three virtual televisions: two with 1080p resolution and one with 720p. Two of them displayed live broadcasts sourced from NBC and the NFL, while the other served up replays and highlight reels.

The real kicker of the experience, however, was that if you walked over to the end of the suite, you could watch actual live gameplay streamed directly from those aforementioned BlackMagic URSA cameras. In short, you'd be able to watch the game in full 180-degree stereoscopic view and pretend as if you were really there.

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