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Ross Video CEO sees limited scope for VR in broadcast

Ross Video CEO sees limited scope for VR in broadcast

While VR for broadcast and filmmaking has its share of ardent supporters, not all mainstream broadcast industry insiders see a bright future for VR.

David Ross, CEO of broadcast technology company Ross Video is one such skeptic, and the points he raises do hold some sway.

For Ross, the main drawback of VR for broadcast, especially sports, is the fact that users have to wear clunky VR goggles which could “disconnect” users from their environment, including friends who may have gathered to watch the same sporting event.

“I think it will be great for gaming but I cannot imagine it being truly something that you’re going to be doing while you’re passing around your potato chips and drinking a beer and watching your favourite sport. I think sporting events are ultimately a social experience.”

Ross also points to the lackluster response of consumers to 3D TV as a warning light to backers of VR for broadcast. “If people didn’t like putting on 3D glasses to watch a shared experience when they could still see each other, there is no way that it’s going to be a big win, it’s just a human thing,” he says.

Ross also questions the merits of VR users being able to look in any direction they want. There is a reason behind the decisions that broadcasters make regarding camera angles and the final images that users see, Ross argues.

“If you’re watching a sporting event sometimes the big advantage of watching it on TV is you can zoom in and see the player’s reaction, what’s going on with the coach, and there are experts getting you the best shots, the best angles. If you’re just going to use VR to zoom back and look at the field as if you’re in the stand, then you’re going to need a big screen just as if you’re there to give you your view back. It can become preposterous at a certain point, but I could be wrong,” Ross said.

The same argument could also apply to VR films, according to Ross. “You can get a DVD that has alternate angles and alternate views but the reality is we have a director’s cut for a reason. It is the one best experience for you to see what that story is.”

RELATED: Broadcast of live events including sports, concerts and even political rallies could generate revenues of $4.1 billion by 2025, according to predictions from Goldman Sachs.

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The Editor is a technology journalist with 15 years experience of covering telecoms and media.

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