Nokia launches OZO, a $60,000 camera for live, HD 360 streaming in virtual reality
Nearly all of the buzz surrounding virtual reality in 2016 focuses on headmounted displays (HMDs). However, one of the most important factors in the success or failure of virtual reality is content — after all, once a consumer puts on an HMD, they need something compelling to make them put it on again, and again, and again.
Handset maker Nokia officially launched its OZO virtual reality camera at an event Monday night in Los Angeles, California.
“We’re at the dawn of an exciting new medium that will transform the way people connect to stories, events, and the world around them,” said Ramzi Haidamus, president of Nokia Technologies, in a statement.
The OZO is capable of full 3D 360 audio and video broadcasting. It offers real-time monitoring, wireless controls, a live virtual reality preview function, integrated power, and memory — the memory is a digital cartridge that’s able to store up to 45 minutes of video. Each of the eight 2K x 2K resolution cameras has a 195-degree field of view.
At the event, Nokia used an OZO to live stream a concert by California surf-rock band Best Coast, atop the Capitol Records building.
Live streaming in VR is becoming of increasing interest — in October, those with a Samsung Gear VR were able to watch the first Democratic debate live in VR, and the Golden State Warriors’ opening game. NextVR, a VR live streaming platform, was able to raise $30.5 million in series A funding this November.
Nokia is billing OZO as the first VR camera designed for professional content creators — and it’ll run them $60,000, essentially placing the camera out of reach of average consumers, and even professionals beyond production companies and studios, said Gartner analyst Brian Blau. The docking station is $1,500, and the digital cartridge is $5,000.
The OZO has competition in the field. Lytro recently announced its Immerge VR camera, which in prototype form, but promises to allow for movement within VR, unlike the current flock of 360 videos that revolve around the viewer as a static point.
There’s also the Google Jump camera array which was announced at 2015’s IO conference. It’s 16 GoPros in a circle that will cost about $15,000.
“It’s still very early though, VR has yet to become mainstream, and the cameras available today and into 2016 are the first of integrated systems of their kind and will give aspiring immersive video producers a very different type of user interface and content experience to experiment with,” Blau said.
The OZO will ship in Q1 of 2016.
This story is developing. Check back for more updates.