The broadcast was fascinating as an experiment in virtual reality broadcasting, but it was defined more by its limitations than its advantages. - Ben Kuchera, Polygon
In a review of his experience of CNN's live VR broadcast of the Democratic Debate, Ben Kuchera expresses that the negatives he encountered outweighed the positives, due to quality limitations on hardware and a sense of isolation from within the headset. Despite the excitement of having an intimate view of the candidates' body language, Kuchera missed the nuances in facial expressions that weren't clear on the screen. The part of the debate experience that he missed most, while immersed in VR, was the inability to communicate with his wife who sat beside him on the couch, and missing out on the Twitter conversations, as it was not possible to tweet from within the headset. When Kuchera's phone battery died, he had to stream the last 40 minutes on his laptop to which he said " It was a relief."
Live VR streaming is not quite ready, the limitations are many but at Rerun, we admire the VR pioneers and the broadcaster's ambition to disrupt TV. Helen Situ, of NextVR, who worked with CNN on the broadcast, outlines what they learned from the first-ever live VR news broadcast and their awareness of the current limitations of the medium.
Virtual reality broadcasting is here. And it’s not perfect. - Helen Situ, Virtual Reality Evangelist at NextVR
As we wait for the hardware to catch up, we have to question what genres VR will work well within. The debate is a socially interactive experience and the medium of VR is currently too isolating. Without the ability to communicate with others in the immersive experience, are we giving the audience what they want?