DirecTV Punches Up VR App

Following recent VR moves by several programmers, DirecTV is jumping into the virtual reality ring with Big Knockout Boxing (BKB), an app that provides immersive “ring side” access to highlights from the June 27 BKB bout at Las Vegas’s Mandalay Bay.

DirecTV said the app, offered on Android and iOS, works with the Samsung Gear VR innovator edition, Samsung Milk VR and Google Cardboard headset/viewers, when paired with smartphones. BKB VR is also available via the Oculus Store.

Users can pick highlights and close-up camera feeds that were filmed by a five-camera set-up.

"We know that VR can be a deeply engaging entertainment medium. It delivers a compelling sense of 'being there' that's unmatched by any other technology," said Jon Molod, vice president of digital entertainment products group at DirecTV, which is now part of AT&T, in a statement.  "We believe that much of VR's growth will be mobile driven. As the technology evolves we hope to find new ways to use VR to enhance not just BKB, but all sports experiences."

On the content end, Discovery Communications, Netflix, Hulu, Fox Sports, Cartoon Network, Syfy, and Twitch are among those that have launched VR apps, plan to do so soon, or have launched major VR-focused initiatives. Disney, meanwhile, recently joined Jaunt’s $65 million “C” round, and Comcast Ventures splashed some cash on AltSpaceVR.

CableLabs has also been active with VR, noting recently that it's interested in helping to define interfaces.