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Star India mulls adding VR to PKL 6

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MUMBAI: Star India is taking the Indian Premier League (IPL) experience to other sports. After a  phenomenal reception for using virtual reality (VR) in IPL 2018, it is diversifying into Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) season six.

Along with VR, wearable technology is another main attraction for PKL. As the next step, wearable devices, artificial intelligence and smart analytics are needed for seamlessly integrating technology with application to guide the next stage of evolution and to ensure higher relevance to human society.

Star India spokesperson said, “We may experiment with wearable technology like catapult devices which helps to measure heart rate, distance run, force extracted. We are actually deploying technology at the back end. We have some bit of artificial intelligence which is powering our analytics on cricket and we may use the same thing on kabaddi as well.”   

Hotstar was viewed by 5.5 million viewers in VR in week six of IPL 2018, out of which 30-35 per cent of the viewers watched it live and remaining watched it in highlights. According to the spokesperson, the viewers almost watched 100,000 hours of VR content. For the IPL, it made Hotstar compatible with VR devices giving people the option of 360-degree rotation to get a view of the entire ground. People can even pick the language and camera of their choice for viewing.

PwC India partner and leader, entertainment and media Frank Dsouza said, “VR does provide an enhanced experience which is immersive technology but the thing that people are grappling with is sports a community experience or not. Therefore, in a VR situation, it can be consumed singularly. The question remains, at what scale you are going to implement it.”

With 4K adoption in India being marginal, last mile access is limited. “You need to have the infrastructure and the programming to be able to view on 4K. As we have moved from SD to HD, we can now shift to 4K because the experience has been better in HD. Then the question arrives of pricing," said the spokesperson.

US' Fox Sports will be streaming live 4K video from the US Open using 5G wireless technology, with the help of Fox Innovation Lab, Ericsson, Intel, and AT&T.

A pair of Fox cameras will transmit 4K HDR video to a nearby production truck, and then 5G, which provides multi-gigabit speeds with low latency, will be used to get that footage out to viewers. In the future, Fox could use this setup to stream live virtual reality from the US Open.

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