Comcast, NBCU Push Virtual Reality

Recent moves at Comcast indicate it could soon market virtual reality programming to Xfinity subscribers, including content from upcoming NBC Universal movies Jurassic World and Minions. 

A prototype retail store called Studio Xfinity that Comcast plans to open next month in Chicago will include a virtual reality section. During the INTX convention earlier this month, Comcast offered reporters and industry executives a chance to test drive the Samsung Gear virtual reality headset. It used virtual reality content from Minions, which will hit theaters in July, for the demonstration.

The virtual reality section at Studio Xfinity also featured Jurassic stuffed animals. While Comcast didn’t preview virtual reality video from Jurassic World, which will premiere on June 12, a recent patent application from NBCUniversal details ways virtual reality content could be offered at NBCU-owned theme parks and through pay TV platforms.

Virtual reality technology could allow viewers to experience a scene from the point of view of a character in a program, and the technology could also offer opportunities for viewers to interact with characters and other viewers. 

 “To date systems generally do not marry the functionality of virtual or augmented reality, as experienced by a user, with those of virtual sets, as experienced by an audience. Moreover, useful integrations of such technologies will not simply consist of the using both in parallel, but will require innovative association and cooperation of image capture components, modeling components, image reconstruction components, and so forth,” NBCU states in the patent application, titled, “Multiple Perspective Video Systems And Method.”

Abstract: Subject viewpoint data and external viewpoint data are collected, such as via cameras, and separate virtual or synthetic video views are generated, one from the subject viewpoint and one from an external viewpoint. The subject video view is presented to the subject, such as via a headset, while the external video view is presented to at least one other person. At least the subject video view is presented sufficiently close in time to permit the subject to react to it. A model is referenced so the video views may include a virtual or synthetic setting, or at least partial replacement of the subject with a character, or both.

Claims
1. A system comprising: a subject data system comprising a camera configured to be worn by a subject to capture subject video image data and a viewer to display a subject video view from a subject point of view; an external camera configured to capture external video image data of the subject from an external point of view; and a processing system configured to receive the subject video image data and the external video image data and to generate the subject video view for the subject point of view in a virtual setting and a second video view from the external point of view in the virtual setting based on the subject and external video image data, the subject video view being presented to the subject via the viewer sufficiently close in time to the capture the subject video image data to permit the subject to react to the subject video view.

2. The system of claim 1, wherein the second video view is presented to a person other than the subject while the subject video view is being presented to the subject.

3. The system of claim 1, comprising a subject viewable device configured to be worn by the subject and to receive and display the subject video view for viewing by the subject.

4. The system of claim 1, wherein the subject camera is configured to image at least one fiducial reference for use by the processing system in generating the subject video view.

5. The system of claim 1, comprising a stabilizing camera configured to be worn by the subject and to capture stabilizing image data, and wherein the processing system is configured to stabilize at least one of the video views based on the stabilizing image data.

6. The system of claim 5, wherein the stabilizing camera is configured to image at least one fiducial reference for use by the processing system in stabilizing the subject video view.

7. The system of claim 1, comprising a virtual setting model referenced by the processing system for generation of the video views.

8. The system of claim 1, wherein the processing system is configured to generate the subject video view while the subject video image data is being captured.

9. The system of claim 8, wherein the video system is configured to display the subject video view for viewing by the subject as the subject video image data is being captured.

10. The system of claim 1, wherein the processing system is configured to generate the second video view while the external video image data is being captured.

11. The system of claim 1, comprising a video distribution component configured to distribute for viewing either the subject video view or the second video view, or both.

12. The system of claim 1, wherein the processing system is configured to generate a third video view of the subject in an actual setting.

13. The system of claim 11, comprising a video distribution component configured to distribute for viewing either the subject video view, the second video view, the third video view, or any combination thereof.

14. A system comprising: a subject data system comprising a sensing device configured to determine subject viewpoint data indicative of a subject point of view and a viewer to display a subject video view from a subject point of view; an external data system configured to determine external viewpoint data indicative of position and movement of the subject from an external point of view; and a processing system configured to receive the subject and external viewpoint data, to reference a virtual model, and to generate the subject video view for the subject point of view in a synthetic setting and a second video view from the external point of view in the synthetic setting based on the subject and external viewpoint data, the subject video view being presented to the subject via the viewer sufficiently close in time to the determination of the subject viewpoint data to permit the subject to react to the subject video view.

15. The system of claim 13, wherein the subject data system comprises at least one camera configured to be worn by the subject.

16. The system of claim 13, wherein the viewer is configured to be worn by the subject.

17. The system of claim 13, wherein the external data system comprises a camera.

18. The system of claim 16, wherein the external data system comprises a sensor configured to determine orientation of the camera.

19. A method comprising: determining subject viewpoint data indicative of a subject point of view; determining external viewpoint data indicative of position and movement of the subject from an external point of view; processing the subject and external viewpoint data and a virtual model to generate a subject video view for the subject point of view in a synthetic setting and/or with at least partial replacement of the subject with a virtual character representation, and a second video view from the external point of view in the synthetic setting and/or with the at least partial replacement of the subject with the virtual character representation; and presenting the subject video view to the subject via the viewer sufficiently close in time to the determination of the subject viewpoint data to permit the subject to react to the subject video view.

Patent Application
Published: Feb. 5, 2015

1 Comment on Comcast, NBCU Push Virtual Reality

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