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Is Virtual Reality the future for NBA Broadcasts?

The experience that gets you in the game is available right now!

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The Night Before, A Samsung VR Experience - The Grove Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Samsung

If you’re like me, having court-side seats to an NBA game is almost impossible, or so I thought.

I recently had a chance to talk with the people of NextVR and I can tell you that experience is now possible for everyone. In fact, it’s been possible all season and we should all feel bad that we haven’t been watching.

How does it work?

This season NextVR teamed up with the NBA to bring 27 live broadcasts. Of those 27 broadcasts, there were two live Utah Jazz games that you could have watched! Could you imagine seeing Donovan Mitchell live in 3D?!

Here is the 2D highlight footage from one of the Jazz broadcasts to give an example. But there’s really no way to truly experience the VR without putting on the headset and living it. It’s incredible.

To me, one of the coolest aspects is being able to choose the angle you want to watch. NextVR doesn’t have cameramen because the viewer chooses what to look at, and from where. VR broadcasts include five cameras around the court: one on each stanchion, one at center court and one on each backboard. The viewer is in complete control of what they watch and how.

Personally, I would love to take the camera nearest the Jazz bench and watch what Quin Snyder is doing. The VR will bring the game within the game like never before.

NextVR also produces its own broadcasts so you get a totally different experience than the local or national feed. This can provide a nice change of pace for when you just can’t handle another “KFC Bucket Chart” segment.

On top of access to the live broadcasts, league pass subscribers will have access to every single NBA game during the 2017-18 season through the NextVR Screening Room, in addition to the 27 immersive VR productions. And make sure you check into the Screening Room to check out all the VR highlights!

The 27 productions include one live VR broadcast per week and each team is ensured to have at least one production each season. There’s also a 3-5 minute highlight for each team. Viewers will also have access to “Best Of’s” like this Best of the Warriors example.

This is only the second year that NextVR has been doing broadcasts. It’s only going to get better and better.

How do I access it? Subscriptions? What systems? Magic?

NextVR is on a growing number of platforms. It started with Samsung but is now on Google VR, Playstation VR, Oculus and Windows Mixed Reality. If you have access to a VR headset, NextVR is there.

As far as games, it requires a league pass subscription to see the live games but there’s a lot of content free to use after the game is over like all the highlights and Best Of’s.

It’s really difficult to describe VR, the best way to see it is to use it. Until you’ve tried it, you can’t really get it. If you have access to the VR, you need to try it right away!