September 5, 2016

SES and Fraunhofer HHI demonstrate Virtual Reality via satellite

R&D showcase at IBC will offer viewers a fully immersive virtual reality experience

SES S.A. (Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG), together with Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute HHI in Berlin, will demonstrate a groundbreaking R&D project at IBC this year showcasing the transmission of a 10K x 2K panoramic video signal via satellite to multiple devices.

The panoramic signal will be received at the SES stand and transmitted to an Ultra HD display, as well as a set of virtual reality (VR) head-mounted devices. The viewer can choose a viewing angle, zoom in and out, turn the picture on the TV display using a simple remote control - or choose to wear a VR headset, where the video signal is delivered simultaneously. Thanks to the highly efficient HEVC encoder developed by Fraunhofer HHI it is possible to compress the large volume of data of the panoramic video so that they can transmitted via satellite.

Filmed with Fraunhofer HHI's remarkable OmniCam-360 camera and transmitted via SES's ASTRA 19.2 degrees East orbital position, this demonstration will provide a first glimpse of what a future VR 360° video would look like. For the first time, it allows the viewer a truly immersive experience of being part of a virtual event, whether its sports, concerts or other live shows.  

"We use a combination of technologies here exactly to showcase what is possible when using hybrid approaches," said Dr. Ralf Schäfer, Fraunhofer HHI's Head of Division Video. "There is no stadium in the world providing enough seats for all enthusiastic fans. So imagine a live event somewhere in the world – filmed with professional cameras like our OmniCam-360 and then delivered to a huge global audience via satellite. And every single viewer at home has the best seat in the middle of the show."
Thomas Wrede, Vice President Reception Systems at SES, added, "Satellites are the perfect distribution path for these new kinds of video experiences, as they can manage huge volumes of data being offloaded from terrestrial networks. Furthermore, technology standards like SAT>IP not only allow the viewers at home to pick and choose a device - the TV screen, tablet or virtual reality equipment - but also they can now choose their favourite viewing position."