Pixvana is revealing today its Pixvana Spin platform that enables you to publish and stream high-quality VR videos. The company is also releasing a key streaming technology as an open standard for others to adopt.
Seattle-based Pixvana has created a platform that uses an innovative field-of-view adaptive streaming (FOVAS) technology (which will be released as an open standard) to increase video quality and reduce bandwidth for VR video. The Pixvana Spin Player will be available soon as a technology preview, and Pixvana Spin Publisher will be available in early 2017.
“We call it ‘virtual reality,’ but often low resolution and harsh compression make the video look so bad that it distracts the viewer from true immersion,” said Forest Key, cofounder and CEO of Pixvana, in a statement. “Using FOVAS is like swapping your old standard definition set for a 4K TV. The goal is to deliver the ‘wow’ sense of presence to consumers that is the hallmark of VR.”
When a viewer is watching VR video, Pixvana’s FOVAS technology ensures that the image will be sharpest wherever they are looking, ensuring a great immersive experience. The new Pixvana Open Projection Format (OPF) indexes the video streams into multiple tiled views, making it possible to stream VR video from a 50-megapixel master — 24 times the resolution of high-definition TV at 1080p — using existing streaming formats, codecs, and networks. FOVAS can reportedly reduce bandwidth requirements by 70 percent.
Used in combination with the MPEG-DASH streaming standard, OPF will provide the industry with a flexible VR video delivery format that truly improves the viewing experience, the company said. Once released, the OPF format will let developers in the VR community create their own optimized VR video encoding system.
The technology has an endorsement from Valve, which created the Steam VR technology used in the HTC Vive headset.
“Pixvana has shown the best-looking VR video we’ve seen to date,” said Valve’s Sean Jenkin, in a statement. “An open standard for 360/FOVAS content which scales to high-quality VR headsets and lets creators of all sizes publish anywhere without requiring proprietary tools or formats is great for consumers and content creators and reflects Valve’s commitment to an open VR ecosystem. We look forward to making Pixvana’s technology and compatible content available on Steam.”
“Nothing destroys the illusion of great storytelling like technical glitches,” said Alex Henning, Academy Award winner and Magnopus cofounder, in a statement. “We don’t want to worry about how our content gets out there— we just want it to work, and we want the audience to see it at the highest quality possible. The team at Pixvana is building the platform we need to help our stories look great and reach the largest possible audience.”
Spin Publisher and Spin Player are the first two components of the Pixvana Spin cloud platform. Spin Publisher generates one-button encoding of VR content, using FOVAS technology. Spin Player helps businesses deliver VR video experiences to targeted audiences across all major headsets.
The company is venture-backed by Madrona Venture Group and Vulcan Capital.