CNN to Live Stream Democratic Debate in VR

CNN Debate NextVR Virtual Reality

CNN will be bringing viewers straight to the front row of the October 13 Democratic presidential debate in virtual reality with the help of NextVR.

Last week we reported on NextVR streaming the Oculus Connect live in virtual reality for enthusiasts and creators who couldn’t make it out to the Los Angeles developers conference. Now NextVR and CNN are making some VR history with the first ever VR live stream of a presidential debate.

In order to view the presidential debate, viewers will need a Samsung Gear VR headset, where the live stream can be watched through the NextVR app on the Oculus home screen.

The October 13th debate live stream follows not only the test at Oculus Connect, but also a recorded 3D 180-degree video of the latest Republican debate with CNN. NextVR captured the debate at the Ronald Reagan library and then made it available for download through the NextVR app on GearVR.

NextVR is joined by a number of other VR companies that have partnered up with television networks to immerse viewers for select programming. Earlier this month, ABC News explored war-torn Syria through an immersive VR experience in collaboration with Jaunt. And last month, MTV partnered with VR studio IM360 to give music fans an opportunity to watch the Video Music Awards live in VR.

Although the CNN presidential debate will only be viewable on a Samsung Gear VR, next month’s live stream tests the VR waters before Samsung’s larger consumer push of their $99 GearVR headset (releasing in November) to more consumers.

As headset companies like Samsung continue to focus on making their VR headsets more accessible to a mainstream audience, entertainment companies and networks will push to experiment with immersive viewing more and more as the technology grows into more homes.

It should come as no surprise that CNN is willing to experiment with virtual reality and new broadcasting technology. If you remember back in 2008, CNN surprised viewers with a spooky hologram of pop musician on Election Night.

Image credit: CNN

About the Scout

Jonathan Nafarrete

Jonathan Nafarrete is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of VRScout.

1 Comment

  • in a way, you might get away by calling it “virtual reality”… but not really.
    1) Just because it’s viewed in a VR headset, does not make it VR.
    2) If this was say… a jail cell; all dark and had a large window to view the world from, then yes you could call it “VR” because it would be *that* whole world (the jail cell), captured and presented (the 180 Field of view showing the interesting part of the world)

    This is a full 360 room in real life being captured and displayed in a VR headset so that viewers at home can feel “they are ‘virtually’ there.. BUT, in fact all you manage to do is create dis-belief that this is a virtual world, by offering only 180 degrees fov.

    What you have here is nothing more than a wide angle stereoscopic 3D movie scene. Let’s call it that.
    As it is, VR is getting divided by people who don’t think a stereoscopic 360 scene is VR unless it’s got polygon geometry and look around capability a.k.a the scene has positional tracking.

    Now to confuse things further, 180 stereo video is being touted as VR.
    While I agree stereo 360 video when done right.. affords ‘presence’ and can be called “virtual reality” as it’s capable of immersing a person in the world being displayed…

    180 stereo with a big black void when you turn your head around can’t be classified as “VR”

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