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DirecTV will take viewers ringside with a new VR app

AT&T-owned satellite network DirecTV has launched an app that will take boxing fans ringside, by way of virtual reality.

The company announced its first foray into the immersive technology today, via an app it calls Big Knockout Boxing VR.

The new software will not stream new fights live, instead offering fans highlights from several of the the Big Knockout Boxing events that took place at Vegas’ Mandalay Bay on June 27 of this year.

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The app works for Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR, and will allow users to experience the fights — or at least the highlights — from what appears to be a ringside seat. It promises to be a pretty impressive spectacle, and marks what could be the first of many ways VR technology will be used by the company to promote sales of exclusive downloadable content.

To capture the fight from the perspective of a typical front-row audience member in 360 degrees, the company used five cameras that were specially designed for the task. No word on whether fellow fight-goers can be spied on in the audience, or whether faces and/or bodies are blurred out, but, unless DirecTV provided everyone a release to sign, it is relatively safe to assume they will be.

Jon Molod, the company’s vice president of digital entertainment products, says he sees this app as the first of many ways VR can be used for sports.

“We know that VR can be a deeply engaging entertainment medium. It delivers a compelling sense of ‘being there’ that’s unmatched by any other technology,” he said, “As the technology evolves we hope to find new ways to use VR to enhance not just BKB, but all sports experiences.”

Being able to watch the highlights of your favorite sports team as though you were there is certainly an idea that could catch on, and the use of VR in sporting contexts will surely see more audience testing as the tech and software develops further.