Undoubtedly, when Ralph Kramden got together with his pal Ed Norton to watch the Friday night fights on his small, black and white TV set, he thought he had it pretty good. Little did he know that decades into the future, fans of the sweet science would be able to step into the ring with their favorite pugilists.
Virtually, anyway. DirectTV has announced plans for a virtual reality (VR) app that will enable boxing fans to view fights up close and personal.
Affiliated with Big Knockout Boxing (BKB), the virtual reality app for VR-ready smartphone users is now available for Samsung Gear VR Innovator Edition and Cardboard (Android and iOS) headsets.
The app allows users to select from a variety of fight highlights and select their choice of up-close camera feeds.
“We know that VR can be a deeply engaging entertainment medium. It delivers a compelling sense of ‘being there’ that’s unmatched by any other technology,” said DirecTV’s VP of Digital Entertainment Products Jon Molod. “We believe that much of VR’s growth will be mobile driven. As the technology evolves we hope to find new ways to use VR to enhance not just BKB, but all sports experiences.”
Other providers are following DirecTV’s lead. Netflix and Hulu have announced plans for their own VR apps, and SyFy has already brought theirs to market. In the very near future, fight fans—and sports fans of all stripes—can put themselves into the middle of the action.
Just don’t forget to duck.
(Here’s a bonus for you Honeymooners’ fans: Ralph Kramden’s surprisingly accurate vision of the future of television.)
There’s a reason why the ice storm that struck the D.C. area this past weekend—Mother Nature’s latest insult in this seemingly interminable winter of 2015—didn’t sting quite as much as it might have: on Friday, Netflix made the entirety of the third season of its political thriller “House of Cards” available for viewing. Let the binge watching commence!
The series, which debuted in 2013, marked a significant gamble for Netflix. The company was in the process of morphing from a mail-based DVD distributor to a provider of streaming video content. Yet without a way to differentiate themselves from other online content providers, Netflix’s market share would never be truly secure. The key to the service’s ongoing viability would be coming up with something that nobody else could provide consumers. It rolled the dice with Frank Underwood and “House of Cards.” Read more
(Google purchased YouTube in 2006 in a transaction valued at $1.65 billion.)
Dubbed “YouTube Music Key,” the service is designed to compete with companies such as NetFlix.
Pricing for YouTube Music Key will start at $7.99 per month, and, in addition to removing advertising, will also allow viewers to watch videos offline and listen to music while using other applications. Read more
The worldwide pay-TV market is estimated to have grown by 5% in 2014, encompassing more than 924 million subscribers, according to technology market intelligence company ABI Research.
“IPTV is expected to grow a market-leading 14% in 2014, followed by satellite TV platform at 7%,” said ABI Research vice president and practice director of core forecasting Jake Saunders. “The growth rates of cable and terrestrial TV platforms are expected to slow to around 3%.”
Much of the worldwide growth is driven by countries in the Asian-Pacific and Latin American regions, combining to add 13 million subscribers in 2014. By contrast, the North American cable TV market is expected to shrink by 1% in 2014. Cable TV operators in North America lost 400,000 customers in the third quarter of 2014 alone, ABI Research reports.
In the increasingly competitive marketplace, providers are trying to grow revenues by offering high definition (HD) channels, advance services and premium content. “The worldwide HD subscriber base is growing on all pay-TV platforms,” said Khin Sandi Lynn, ABI Research industry analyst. “Approximately 57% of total pay-TV subscribers will be HD subscribers by 2019. ABI Research forecasts the global pay-TV market will generate US$324 billion in service revenues by 2019.”