Your Guide to VR Streaming and 360 Streaming in 2024
Is virtual reality (VR) streaming the future for businesses?
With the rise of virtual reality headsets like Meta Quest, Sony PlayStation VR, and even the new Apple Vision Pro, it’s clear that there’s surging demand for VR content and experiences. It’s impressive how quickly VR has burst into the mainstream, and while that’s fun for consumers, it’s also important to think about the business use case for this emerging communication channel.
Could your business benefit from VR streaming and 360 streaming (rather than standard live video) for higher audience engagement and brand quality? Could you overtake the competition by embracing this exciting up-and-coming technology?
In this article, we’ll look at virtual reality and 360 streaming, where they came from, and what they could mean for professionals looking to make the most of them in today’s connected world.
Table of Contents
- What is VR Streaming?
- Virtual Reality vs. 360 Video
- The Benefits of Virtual Reality Live Stream
- How to Stream VR
- What’s Next for VR?
- Make Maestro Your Video Streaming Platform
What is VR Streaming?
Virtual reality is a simulated environment that can be interacted with in real-time, usually with the aid of special equipment like a headset.
Since VR first started getting popular, it’s been used in video games, military exercises, aviation, medicine, film, and a range of other contexts to support advanced use cases like flight simulations, surgical simulations, and, of course, fun experiences.
In the last decade, VR has gone mainstream, starting with the release of the Oculus Rift in 2016. From there, consumer-grade headsets became available en masse, especially the accessible Oculus Quest 2, which is affordable for the average consumer.
Suddenly, more people can access and consume VR videos not just for entertainment but business as well.
Virtual Reality vs. 360 Video
An important point to understand about virtual reality is that it’s not synonymous with 360 video. While the two are similar, the terms shouldn’t be used interchangeably in referring to immersive streaming experiences.
Virtual reality actually enables users to move around inside a simulated environment. Users may even be able to interact with the environment, including objects, and maneuver around as if it’s the real world.
As for 360 video, this refers to video that’s been recorded in 360 degrees at the same time. From the vantage point of the camera, you can turn around in all directions and see everything that was captured at that time – but beyond turning, you’re not able to move.
With that said, both virtual reality and 360 video have the potential to be helpful for businesses looking to provide content in a unique and more engaging format than standard “flat” video.
The Benefits of Virtual Reality Live Stream
Briefly, let’s look at why your business may find it worth deploying VR video. First and foremost, it has broad appeal as entertainment. Imagine telling a story where the viewer can choose where to look. This can be even more immersive than a typical video game.
However, unless you’re primarily in the business of creating content for entertainment, we’ll touch on a few other use cases where VR streaming is helpful for businesses:
- Shopping: As we discussed in our post on shoppable video experiences, it’s possible to embed e-commerce functionality directly in video. Doing so in VR takes this unique experience to another level.
- Spectating: If you want your audience to view your concert, sports game, or live event in style, you can set up a VR stream view of the stage, room, or field.
- Virtual tours: Real estate agents, museums, and popular tourist attractions can leverage VR to provide an unprecedented look at their space or location from anywhere.
- Training: Healthcare, aviation, manufacturing, and other hands-on industries can use VR to practice their craft in a controlled, safe environment where they’re allowed to make mistakes and learn from them.
- Sales: From hands-on VR demos to virtual test drives, virtual reality can revolutionize the way that buyers interact with a sales team to learn about new solutions.
Clearly, VR offers a valuable opportunity to create immersive experiences for your audience that they can’t get elsewhere. If you can provide it where competitors don’t, this will help your business stand out in today’s crowded digital landscape!
How to Stream VR
Streaming in VR or 360 requires a bit of a learning curve, even for a team well-versed in traditional video production. You’ll need to get acquainted with the equipment, the software, and the needs of your viewers in order to pull it off.
1. The Equipment
To set up a video live stream that can handle VR and 360 video, your most important purchase will be a camera that supports this type of streaming.
Fortunately, there are consumer-grade 360-capable cameras out there that cost under $500. However, you can find plenty of professional-grade VR cameras for under $5,000 if you want the best possible result.
Beyond this, to maximize that virtual reality effect with your content, you’ll need special omnidirectional sound equipment and quality tripods or mounting hardware to ensure the cameras don’t move.
This is key because, unlike traditional video, 360 video is usually filmed with multiple distinct cameras and then stitched together later to form one smooth scene. As a result, you’ll need a powerful computer with adequate processing power, video card(s), and hardware encoder to support your setup.
2. The Software
When it comes to software, you may want to spring for more advanced software than just Adobe Premiere Pro for the all-important stitching step – a few possibilities for 360 stitching tools include Mistika VR, StereoStitch, and Mocha Pro.
After stitching, your video will need software (or hardware) to encode it. Note that VR video content has a much wider viewing area than a standard high-definition video at 1920 x 1080 pixels, potentially coming in at 16,000 x 8,000 pixels with a 2:1 aspect ratio (and 4K image quality). VR video usually comes in at a much higher frame rate (90 frames per second instead of 24 or 30).
(Learn more about video resolutions in our dedicated guide.)
The last piece of technology you’ll need is a streaming platform that can support native 360 and VR video content. If you’re interested in using Maestro for VR streaming,
3. The Viewer
Believe it or not, the biggest hurdle to VR live streaming may have nothing to do with you and your own setup. Instead, it’s your viewership.
Put simply, your audience won’t be able to access your VR or 360 streams without a reliable high-speed internet connection and a powerful computing device – or, ideally, a headset like Meta Quest, HTC Vive, or PlayStation VR.
We recommend you give a lot of consideration about who your audience is and how they consume content. According to the Academy of Animated Art, 45% of Gen Z use VR, while just 6% of Baby Boomers do the same. You should only consider creating video in this innovative format if you have an audience that will be receptive to it.
What’s Next for VR?
There are a lot of potential trends to watch for in VR, from new players in the space like Apple Vision Pro to improvements that go beyond graphics, such as motion tracking and haptic feedback.
We may also start to see integration between VR and another popular segment of the tech market: AI and machine learning. Imagine the personalized VR experiences you could have with AI adapting to your inputs in real-time.
However, the most important trend is simply wider adoption of the technology across a range of industries and sectors, as well as among consumers. If you want your audience to engage with your VR content, then your audience needs to be capable of consuming it and interested in doing so!
Make Maestro Your Streaming Platform
If you’re looking to tap into a streaming platform that lets you live stream without confusion or limits, Maestro is here to help.
Maestro provides the tools you need for creating, monetizing, and delivering your video streaming experiences. Set up a professional-looking streaming website with a few clicks. Choose your branding, add monetization, and go live in just minutes.
Sign up today to host exclusive streams for your audience in no time at all.
Join our Discord server to learn more tips and tricks for streaming on Maestro.