Even though it has been investigating the technology it regards as a new frontier for two years, Sky has revealed that virtual reality still has quality issues hindering mass adoption.
Speaking at the 4K-UHD Summit 2016 in Seville, Massimo Bertolotti, head of engineering and innovation Sky Italia, said that the companys fundamental intention regarding VR was to create new content and product experiences for customers. He added that as regards content at least, all the trends pointed to the fact that VR was an interesting platform from which Sky could create a new experience in a country where it had not yet rolled out 4K services (unlike the case with its subsidiaries in the UK and Germany).
Bertolotti said that the task ahead for Sky Italia was to go and generate content to create such new experiences from sport to films and from TV series to documentaries. The experience established for each of these categories would be different, plus, and most crucially, he said that the company was busily rolling out 360-degree video in news.
The executive stressed that he was not taking about TV 360-degree is not ready for that yet, he said but nevertheless he regarded 360-degree video for news as a revolution where Sky had the opportunity not just to show some highlights but instead have the possibility for real context and real live views.
VR can offer a new relationship between the customer and the digital platform. In some cases journalists have difficulties in presenting in 30 seconds a full story. They can do so now and let the users really understand the context, he revealed.
Yet despite this process, Bertolotti cautioned that Sky Italia was not yet fully ready for VR. In the two years that the company has been using VR, it was confident that it found a good post-production ecosystem and workflow and had a good idea as to what content will be interesting or not. But one big issue was quality.
A portion of [the picture that is delivered to a user] is less than 4K for users. Also users typically watch VR from a mobile phone and they often cant get a 4K stream all of the time. Our technology people are working on a solution for this but it affects workflow, every part of which has to change.
Concluding, Bertolotti said that Skys roadmap was to create an ecosystem of the future despite VR not enjoying the same levels of investment enjoyed by 4K service and that maybe it would be two or three years before the full story emerged.