Discovery Communications, known for its cadre of cable television channels and outdoors-focused programming, has released a VR video app for iOS and Android devices and Samsung Gear via Milk VR. The app’s website also emphasizes that it is “Coming soon on Oculus.”
At press time, the app, along with the website announcing it, includes 360° video content for Discovery shows Mythbusters (three shark and SCUBA-intensive pieces), Gold Rush and Survivorman (one spot each), plus more “experiential” content under the labels Adventure (“Freeboarding,” filmed in San Francisco, and a “Surf Lesson” with Kyle Thiermann) and Planet (a “Pacific Sunset” shot at Half Moon Bay and a brief tour through the Muir Woods in “Redwoods”), making nine videos altogether. The site promises “much more to come,” so look for more content to drop as VR continues its march toward the mainstream.
The shark-dive Mythbusters content is especially worthwhile, at least for users who want an up-close-and-personal experience with sharks but lack the time, resources or stomach to make it happen. Overall the videos look good, even if there is some awkward stitching at certain view angles. At launch, Discovery seems to be using the app mostly to build out content for established programs, likely in hopes of convincing fans of featured shows to give the app, and VR, a try based on their preexisting interest in the properties.
The larger story here is the continued expansion of mainstream media companies and corporate entities into VR; we’re seemingly almost to the point where it’s strange for large media, lifestyle or luxury companies not to have VR content. Discovery VR is just the latest—and maybe not even the last, by the time this is posted—to begin to embrace the content possibilities VR promises.