On Thursday, Discovery Communications, the parent company of the Discovery Channel, launched Discovery VR, an all-video virtual reality network.
On the Discovery VR website you will find 360° videos that you can view via a browser, on iOS or Android, or via Google Cardboard or Samsung Gear VR. Discovery VR says support for the Oculus Rift is coming soon.
Currently, the platform has three Mythbusters shark diving videos and clips from the network’s shows Gold rush and To survive. There are also four shows that are less proprietary. In one, skateboarders take on San Francisco’s windy Lombard Street, and in the other, a professional surfer gives a five-minute surfing lesson. Or you could simply take a stroll along a beach on the Pacific Coast or through California’s iconic Muir Woods.
The videos average three to five minutes and are not (at this time) advertised.
Conal Byrne, senior vice president of digital media for Discovery Communication Inc., told the Associated Press that the company is still experimenting with how best to offer VR video. “It needs to be reiterated that we are experimenting a lot,” Byrne told the AP. “There are limits and boundaries that we’re really going to try to push.” The network added that it will release new videos on the Discovery VR platform every week for the next 12 months.
With the highly anticipated consumer debut of Oculus Rift on the horizon (the set is expected in early 2016), and with mostly positive reviews of the latest versions of VR headsets like Samsung Gear VR and HTC and Valve’s Vive headset, media outlets are creating that are not . just about gaming is critical to see if these headsets will appeal to the mass market. Facebook’s purchase of Oculus Rift suggests that VR systems could have a social media feature, but so far no great social media application has made itself known.
Discovery Communications is part-owned by Advance Publications, which owns Ars Technica’s parent company, Condé Nast.