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Zuckerberg plays up VR's emotional side

Matt Hamblen | Feb. 23, 2016
Business uses seem far off; 'Not an overnight sensation,' one analyst says

One technological advance with VR, he said, is that Oculus technology has provided "dynamic streaming" that allows a 4x reduction in network bandwidth of a VR stream. Another benefit: A 4x improvement in the resolution of just a portion of the important details in a video frame -- the part where a person's eye is expected to focus. Eliminating the high resolution on much of the video is what keeps the network bandwidth down.

But even Zuckerberg admitted it is "still early" for VR. A big problem is the lack of VR-ready videos for viewing, as several analysts noted. Zuckerberg said about 20,000 VR clips have been uploaded, and that around a million hours have been watched.

He said that eventually, people will have the power to broadcast VR live, but only after solving a "lot of really complex engineering problems." Still, he said that Facebook and Oculus are committed to VR "for the long term."

To help with recording VR, Samsung announced the Gear 360, which works with the Gear VR headset. The Gear 360 has two cameras -- one on front and one on the back -- to allow users to shoot 360-degree videos. The videos are then viewed through the Gear VR, which works only with Samsung's Galaxy phones.

The Gear 360 is expected to ship later in 2016, and no pricing details for any of the products were announced.

In an indication of the industry interest in VR, Samsung's Networks division announced Monday it has delivered -- at Verizon's headquarters in New Jersey -- streaming, live, 360-degree VR content in 4K ultra-high definition to Galaxy phones and Galaxy Gear VR. Some 17 independent video feeds take advantage of what is termed mmWave, a 5G antenna technology that can deliver speeds of multiple gigabits per second.

During its presentation on the eve of Mobile World Congress, Samsung also announced the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge smartphones, which will be available March 11.


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