Orange announced that subscribers with virtual reality (VR) headsets from Samsung and Sony will be able to access movie and TV content on the devices in early October.
The operator said subscribers who own a Samsung Gear headset will gain access to the service on Oct. 12, while those possessing a Sony PlayStation headset will be able to utilise the device from the end of October. Orange said its entire catalogue of movie and TV content will be available on the virtual reality service, which is designed to look like a private theatre.
Orange also intends to commence a VR test programme on Dec. 1 covering the distribution of native VR content. The trials will be conducted in conjunction with Wevr, a U.S.-based start up that the operator invested in through its Orange Digital Ventures division.
Fellow Wevr investors HTC and Samsung will also participate in the trials, which will run for six months and involve Twentieth Century Fox Innovation Lab, Warner Bros, Felix and Paul Studios, Apelab, InnerspaceVR, and Okia studio.
The VR trial will initially be conducted in France before being extended to other European countries, Orange stated.
Guillaume Lacroix, SVP of partnerships and services for TV and video at Orange’s content division, said VR is “a new medium that’s still in its infancy: everything from the software and technology, to the development of new uses and the development of a business model is still a work in progress.”
Orange will utilise the trials to help address those challenges and gain an early-mover advantage in the VR sector. “We’re looking at the space to better understand the new ways that content will be delivered and consumed in the future as this will impact our activities as a mobile network operator and Internet service provider,” Lacroix explained.
VR enjoyed its largest presence to-date at the Mobile World Congress in February, as interest in the technology heats up.
Jefferson Wang, senior partner with IBB Consulting, in May noted that wireless carriers are well positioned to cash in on growing consumer awareness of, and interest in, VR technology, in a column for sister publication FierceWireless.
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