The BBC's VR-friendly Olympic 360 broadcasts were a virtual success

Samsung Gear VR
Samsung Gear VR

British broadcasting giant, the BBC, has declared that its 360-degree video trial at the Rio Olympics was a success, with the feedback gathered providing important pointers to the technology's future.

The BBC was one of the highest-profile bodies trialing mass-market 360 video, and BBC Sport used the Olympics to see how the service would perform.

In its official figures the BBC suggests there were one million views of 360 streamed and on-demand output, which included the beach volleyball, boxing, and the opening and closing ceremonies.

Viewers who wanted to experience the 360 footage had to download a specific app from the BBC.


"The experimental BBC Sport 360 service, which provided live and on-demand content in 360-degree video for the first time, drew over 1m views across all platforms," said the BBC in a statement.

"Hundreds of users provided feedback on the service to help the BBC further understand the potential of this emerging technology."

That feedback could, of course, have been largely negative – but even if that were the case it will be a useful set of views to inform the BBC's choices going forward.

With 360 filming technology coming down in price, and the proliferation of cheap VR headsets that use the phone as the main viewing screen, this manner of broadcast is picking up pace.

However, VR broadcasting is still a fairly nascent technology, and it's likely that the experience will need to develop considerably in order for it to step outside of the realm of an interesting gimmick.

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.