Virtual reality has been around for decades, but with the latest headset technologies has become increasingly relevant and accessible. Headsets from Samsung, Oculus, Google, Playstation, HTC and Windows have given viewers more options to try out.
These headsets are great for watching VR content from many different providers. Whether you’re playing a video game, or enjoying a game of live blackjack from a live casino, VR can fit most forms of media.
It is no surprise that VR has made its way into the sports industry. Many sporting events are impossible to watch live in the stadium. Either you don’t live in the area of the stadium, or the tickets are always sold out or too expensive. VR offers the opportunity for fans from across the world to get front row seats at their favorite sporting events.
A great example of this is the NBA. With VR, you can get a courtside seat at any arena in the league. Move aside the rich and famous. These seats are often the most expensive, and now you can have them for every game of the season.
Taking your VR courtside seat
To watch the NBA in VR, all you need to do is have a VR headset and a subscription to NBA League Pass. At the moment, you only need to pay for live games. If the game has already happened, you can rewatch the game for free. For viewers in different timezones, this means that you don’t need to stay up to the early hours of the morning. Rather wake up when you want to, put on your VR headset, and watch the full game with an immersive VR experience. Just make sure you don’t see the score on the news before you watch the game.
There are different types of subscription models than you can choose from. You can choose between and annual, monthly and weekly subscription. Within these you can choose between Team Choice, League Pass or 3-Game Choice.
The Team Choice is for the viewers who only want to watch their favorite team. You can watch all 82 games for your team of choice, including the Playoffs and Finals if they make it that far. You can also download the games for offline viewing afterwards.
The League Pass is the main offering. You can watch all 1,230 NBA regular season games, regardless of the teams involved. You have access to all the Playoffs and Finals games. You also have access to the All-Star Weekend games. There is access to NBA TV 7-day archives. You can download the games for offline viewing.
Finally, the 3-Game Choice is for watching three games a month. This includes all regular season games, the Playoffs and Finals as well as selected summer games. It too includes the ability to download games for offline viewing.
These three options should appeal to viewers, and if not, there is a free 7-day trial. It’s as comprehensive as you could have hoped for. If you have a VR headset, you could have courtside seats this weekend.
What does it look like?
The NBA VR experience continues to improve season after season. There are dedicated commentators and presenters who great you before a game to talk you through the build-up and analysis. This personalised broadcasting is the perfect gap between the professional televised broadcasting services and the live game environment.
Once the game begins you’ll find that you have three main seats. The one is along the sideline, and the other two are behind each backboard. Depending on where the ball is, your view will shift between each of these three.
The sideline view is great for seeing build up and three pointers. The backboard views are great for free throws and dunks. It truly feels like the players or the ball could hit you.
The video quality has also been improved over the years. It’s not as clear as super HD, but it looks great, especially in 3D. In a normal televised game, the camera angles won’t give you the depth that you experience being at the game. VR does this excellently.
Is it worth it?
After 10 minutes, you’ll be used to the shifting camera angles and how your headset responds to your movements. You’ll be able to focus and enjoy the game. The ability to be so close to the play allows you to see plays in a way that is not possible on the television until they show you the replay from a specific angle. This give VR a unique advantage.
It’s not the same as being at the game, but it’s closer than watching it on TV. If you have a VR headset, it’s at least worth a trial to see if you enjoy it. Once you’ve experienced it, you’ll want to watch other sports in VR. Boxing, tennis, football and wrestling are other sports that you can watch in VR.
What is perhaps missing is a social element to the viewing experience. You might enjoy going to games with friends or family. Watching NBA in VR is largely a single person activity. You can hear the crowd and broadcasters, but you can’t speak to anybody. Once this is available, you can guarantee that watching sports in VR will be the ultimate way to watch a game from home.