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Rio 2016 Olympics will be viewable in virtual reality

Summer Olympics Virtual Reality

With the summer Olympic games in Rio just about one month away, there are still many questions surrounding the games. Not only have some athletes expressed fear about attending due to the Zika virus, a recent report relays that a slew of body parts recently washed up on the beach right in front of where the Volleyball competition is set to be held. And when you add in the myriad of concerns regarding crime and whether or not the requisite infrastructure will be ready in time, the 2016 Summer games in Brazil will be unique to say the least.

All that said, for Olympics enthusiasts intent on watching all the action from home, NBC today announced that it’s planning to provide viewers with upwards of 85 hours of VR content. The only catch, though, is that the available VR content will only be made accessible to users who have a Samsung Galaxy smartphone and the Samsung Gear VR headset.

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According to a report from ABC News, the VR content will include footage from the following events: the opening and closing ceremonies, men’s basketball, gymnastics, track and field and a few others set to be named soon.

NBC, which is carrying the games, said recently that it will provide more details surrounding its VR-oriented content very soon.

Incidentally, Getty Images earlier this week indicated that it will use Virtual Reality cameras exclusively during its coverage of the Rio Olympic Games.

Now if you don’t happen to own any Samsung gear, you’ll still be able to enjoy the Olympic games, albeit without an immersive 360-degree experience. According to NBC, the Rio games will be the “most live Olympics ever” as the broadcast network plans to make 6,755 hours of Olympic programming accessible via and via its own NBC Sports app.

NBC’s press release on the matter reads in part:

The networks and digital platforms of NBCUniversal will present an unprecedented 6,755 hours of programming for the Games of the XXXI Olympiad from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this August, NBC Olympics announced today. NBC will broadcast 260.5 hours of Olympic programming, including coverage of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, swimming, gymnastics, track and field, and many more of the Games’ most popular sports.

With Rio just one hour ahead of the Eastern Time zone, the 2016 Summer Games will be the most live Olympics ever. NBCU will present 2,084 hours of Olympic linear programming across 11 networks: broadcast networks NBC and TELEMUNDO (Spanish language); cable channels Bravo, CNBC, Golf Channel, MSNBC, NBC Sports Network (NBCSN), NBC UNIVERSO (Spanish language), and USA Network; plus two specialty channels provided to distribution partners, one each for basketball and soccer.

Powered by Playmaker Media, and the NBC Sports app will live stream 4,500 total hours — including all Olympic competition for the third consecutive Olympics — for authenticated pay TV subscribers via TV Everywhere to desktops, mobile devices, and tablets, plus connected TVs for the first time. Additional details regarding NBC Olympics’ digital offering will be announced soon.

NBC Olympics will also provide 4K Ultra HD content to NBCU distribution partners, as well as Virtual Reality (VR) programming, the details of which will be announced soon. Both presentations will be Olympic firsts.

“Olympic fans rejoice; the Rio Games will offer the most comprehensive coverage of any event in sports history,” said Jim Bell, Executive Producer, NBC Olympics. “For those who have a favorite sport or like to watch on a particular screen, this nearly 7,000-hour smorgasbord of sports excellence has you covered.”

The Opening Ceremony of the 2016 Rio Olympics will air on Friday, August 5, on NBC. Competition begins two days earlier on Wednesday, August 3, with women’s soccer on NBCSN and USA Network, and the Games conclude on Sunday, August 21, with the Closing Ceremony on NBC.

Funny enough, the drive to make the Olympics more accessible than ever before coincides with what appears to be a waning interest in the Olympic games.

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 15 years. A life long Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW. When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.