It seemed crazy enough that we saw a plethora of streaming services pockmark a generation of cable cutting last year, but now they are getting full blown booths at the Consumer Electronics Show and muscling out major streaming services along the way.
As one of the more ambitious, and purely software-based companies, Plex has today revealed plans for a long-term strategy to create an entire virtual reality experience. Currently, Plex operates currently as a free piece of software that can stream a plethora of different media files to any screen that accepts the software.
Plex VR builds on that by allowing users to navigate a digital board of movies while sitting in the comfort of your high-rise condo.For now, the VR experience lives exclusively on Google Daydream VR headsets and Daydream-ready Android phones, allowing users to play back local media content on their Android device, including 3D and 360-degree and 180-degree video. Over time, it will be able to stream other content from Plex, as well. It also offers a couch view with a friend so you can sit together and do things like pour soda or pass the popcorn.
On a larger note, this really underscores just how aggressive third-party software is becoming. Roku had arguably one of their best showings at CES following a big deal that integrates them directly into TLC TVs. NVIDIA Shield had another strong showing, creating a TV with Shield software baked right in. It's a little apples and oranges but the idea is that these "smaller third-party" streaming services are going to soon start feeling like the first-class option.
Apple just announced an updated version of its augmented reality platform, timed to the developer beta release of its newest iOS software, and it includes a few new features that true AR fans are likely to be happy about.
The newest version of ARKit, version 1.5, has support for vertical planes. That is a technical way of saying that it allows the sensors on an iPhone (or iPad) to not only recognize the floor you’re standing on, but the windows and walls around you as well. So when app developers are making AR apps now, they can build in features that would utilize the vertical spaces around you as well as the horizontal space.
Apple first announced ARKit, its platform for augmented reality on iPhones and iPads, at WWDC last June; it formally rolled out in September. Before that, app makers had been using 2D or flat overlays in apps (like Pokémon Go), but the apps weren’t utilizing advanced depth sensors or computer vision technology. With frameworks like ARKit, or Google’s ARCore, they are.
The consumer beta of iOS 11.3 and ARKit 1.5 is expected to go live in the coming days, though Apple didn’t specify when.
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