NBC to offer virtual reality coverage of PyeongChang Olympics

Here's what the 'tree trunk' texture PyeongChang 2018 Olympic medals look like

Team USA competes at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, starting February 9th.

For PyeongChang, the opening and closing ceremonies will be streamed in VR, as will alpine skiing, snowboarding, curling, skeleton, figure skating, ice hockey and ski jumping, among other sports.

The VR experience is enabled by Intel True VR technology, which uses multiple camera pods at each event to create interactive 360-degree virtual reality environments. While the technology isn't mature enough to provide that air of reality, it would be interesting to see how it's received this time around and where the technology will stand in two years in time for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Taeyang's Olympic song was announced last June, but was released to coincide with increasing activities in South Korea ahead of the Olympics, including the torch relay, which has also featured Korean entertainers as torchbearers.

"The Olympics have always been an opportunity to showcase emerging media technology", said Gary Zenkel, president of NBC Olympics, in a statement.

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The VR video content, powered by Intel TrueVR, will be available to users of Windows, Samsung and Google VR headsets, and for Android and iOS devices through the NBC Sports VR app.

NBC will air over 50 hours of live VR coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics to United States pay-TV subscribers, Variety reports.

By making the content available in VR, NBC looks to appeal to a wider audience and buck the trend of declining Olympics viewership.

Moreover, prime-time viewership for the 18-49 year-old age group at the 2016 Olympic Games was 25% lower compared with the Olympics four years earlier, according to Bloomberg.

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