Looking Towards the Next Generation of Streaming Tech

"Virtual Reality - Must Link to https://t" (CC BY 2.0) by ThoroughlyReviewed

The advent and popularization of high-speed internet have revolutionized the way we engage with sports streaming, in horse shows, and far beyond. With breakout mainstream systems like YouTube and Netflix paving the way, every facet of the entertainment spectrum has dipped its toes in the water, and we’re just getting started. At this point, most of the involvement that sports and shows have with streaming is a kind of extension of availability, but with next-gen technology, how we engage could evolve to an entirely new level.

Streaming’s Growth in Sports

Streaming live events tends to be more complicated than replaying recorded content, thanks to the added complexity of delivering data in real time. That said, going online still increases the availability of streaming sports content, which as this article by ExpressVPN shows, has been on a constant uptick. From 2017-2021, sports like football, basketball, and soccer all saw significant rises in popularity thanks to streaming, and this pattern continues to this day.

Similar leaps in overall audience interest occur in horse racing after the biggest events like the Kentucky Derby and Grand National, with streaming opening up the potential for more viewers far beyond what traditional broadcast systems alone allow. In addition, forward-thinking traditional broadcasters like ITV drive growth by expanding into streaming, as illustrated by the popularity of hashtags like #ITVRacing.

Royal Windsor Horse Show” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Kent Wang

Over time, and as series and sports continue to develop, the technology used to stream similarly evolves, from both sides of the equation. For content developers, this means more people working to cover events. While it might have been only possible to watch events like the Royal Windsor Horse Show a few years ago online, for example, recent moves into mediums like Twitch IRL have opened up many new possibilities. Instead of international-level shows, enthusiasts now have broad access to national events, regional events, and even more casual and streamed training sessions.

A New Form of Reality

Aside from accessibility, the biggest changes for viewers have been the upgrades in quality that HD resolutions have allowed. In the next few years, however, the potential of virtual and augmented reality systems could illustrate another leap forward.

Virtual reality headsets have come a long way since the Oculus Rift popularized the new systems in 2006, as Facebook explores, and their potential in streaming is now being studied. With VR and more advanced recording equipment, viewing a horse show in first person can be possible, as if you’re there in person. It won’t relay the feel of the day, the weather, or the smell as perfectly as really being there, but in terms of the next level of visual experience, the tech is astoundingly great.

Augmented reality is a little more complex, but it could also be used to deliver show content in a new way. With AR, it could be possible for a system to transform a coffee table into a field, letting you view the action in real-time from above, or choose the angle from which you focus.

With viewing and streaming technology existing in a constant forward march, it’s just a matter of time before augmented and virtual reality integration hits the mainstream. While it might be too early to rush out and buy supporting systems today, these are cases where the experiences they offer are a matter of when, and not if. Keep your eyes open, watch the developments in other forms of sports, and soon you could be traveling the world and catching the shows you always dreamed of attending right from your living room.