As 360 videos expand in popularity and length, InstaVR’s new streaming service meets rising demand
Why is Long-Form 360 Video Becoming So Popular?
The need for this great new feature arose out of our customers’ changing use of VR. When we first launched publicly in January 2016, many of our clients were uploading still 360 panoramas taken using consumer-grade cameras like the Ricoh Theta S, Insta360, etc. That’s not to say video wasn’t also popular — but there was a more even split. Some 10,000+ clients later, we’ve seen an explosion in the number of InstaVR customers uploading 360 videos.
This is an expected maturation. Just look at digital video in general — more than 1 billion hours of video are watched on YouTube per day! The increase in 360 VR video content, both professional and consumer level, can largely be attributed to to improvements from camera manufacturers. Just read about all the new cameras, or upgrades to existing cameras, announced at CES this year. Even the aforementioned Ricoh is going upstream with a 4K camera with spatial audio, and Insta360 announced a Pro version that is 8K.
The other part of of the VR video boom is the move from more short-form 360 video to longer-form 360 video. Some of that can be credited to more comfortable headsets, like the mobile-based Samsung Gear VR (5 million+ headsets shipped) and the Google Daydream (10 million compatible phones shipped). As users become more comfortable wearing a headset, they feel more comfortable living an immersive world for longer. The eyes and mind adjust to VR video, and the need for rest between videos disappears.
All of this adds up to InstaVR customers needing an outlet for publishing long-form 360 video to reach their end audience. Which is why our product team rolled out the new streaming feature, which allows all InstaVR Pro clients to create and distribute VR videos of unlimited length using our Content Delivery Network.
Comfortable VR Headsets Make Long-Form 360 Video More Enjoyable
How Does InstaVR’s 360 Video Streaming Approach Work?
As we outlined in our news release, InstaVR Pro clients are now empowered to author and publish VR apps of unlimited length. This applies across all of the standard headsets we package to, including iOS, Android, Gear VR, Google Daydream, HTC Vive, and Oculus Rift. In the Console itself, the InstaVR Pro user would simply select “Streaming”, which transcodes video into a stream-ready format.
The end user experience, assuming a good enough data connection, will be exactly the same as that of a fully packaged and downloaded app. This functionality applies to even high quality video, including 4K and 8K. In addition, 2D videos can be streamed, creating a virtual cinema like the very popular Netflix VR app.
360 videos of pretty much any length can be streamed. This means if you captured a play, a concert, a training experience, an educational experience, a museum tour — all of it is available in one location for your audience. We include 500GB of data for streaming with each Pro account, but you can purchase more bandwidth if necessary. Also, if you have your own CDN, it can be hosted on that as well.
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You Can Create Your Own Version of the Popular Netflix App, Streaming 2D Inside a Virtual Theater
Why You Should Consider Utilizing This New Streaming Feature
There are a lot of companies and industries long-form VR is a good fit for. We’ll touch on the most obvious.
- Entertainment. If you’re say Red Bull, you probably capture a lot of 360 content related to sporting events. How best to distribute an entire sporting contest in VR though? InstaVR’s streaming feature allows for a simple app download and then easy streaming access to the whole contest. So be it a sporting event, a concert, a festival, or a news event — long-form streaming 360 via InstaVR can distribute it all.
- VR for Training. We’ve talked before about how the training industry is getting revolutionized by VR. But most trainings last longer the the 4-5 minutes of high clarity 360 video that can be packaged up into 2 GB or smaller apps. With our Gear VR expanded length offering, you could utilize a local SD card if you were an InstaVR Pro customer. But what if you wanted to distribute widely for iOS, Android, Google Cardboard, etc? The long-form streaming feature easily solves this problem and makes any mobile phone owner a potential recipient of your VR training.
- VR for Education. Museum tours. Virtual field trips. Virtual lectures. Virtual classrooms. Most classes are going to exceed a few minutes, so it’s no surprise that practitioners of VR in the educational space will have a use for long-form streaming 360 video. If your students can’t all go to Ellis Island, why not create a virtual tour for them and distribute it yourself? A cool and memorable use of VR!
VR for Training is a Great Use Case for the new Long-Form 360 Video Streaming Feature