Imaging company, Ricoh, has now announced the 'Ricoh R', its new camera designed for live streaming 360-degree videos. While speaking at CES, the company's representatives confirmed that developers will start receiving their developer kits shortly, most likely by spring, while the product will launch commercially during the second quarter of the year. Although, pricing details have yet to be revealed.
The Ricoh R is a spherical camera capable of recording 2K content at 30 frames per second. The device supports outputs to both HDMI and USB while also storing recordings on a microSD card. Furthermore, it supports real-time video stitching, i.e. combining two fisheye lens videos and outputting them in the equirectangular projection format which looks like a flattened globe, in practice. The Ricoh R equipped with a monaural microphone and boasts a portable design. Ricoh has yet to reveal the exact dimensions of its latest camera, though a prototype of the device will be showcased at CES , so more information on that front will follow soon.
Regarding applications, the Ricoh R was primarily designed for live streaming spherical video content in all sorts of scenarios ranging from concerts and sports events to ceremonies and conferences. Ricoh claims that the camera is capable of continuous streaming for as long as it has power and an Internet connection. The device is still in an experimental phase of development which is why the company opted to release the Ricoh R development kit – so that developers have enough time to come up with more useful applications for the camera, before it becomes available commercially later in the year. One of Ricoh's representatives admitted to TechCrunch that the company still isn't sure where it will go with the Ricoh R given how live streaming of 360-degree videos as a whole is still a relatively unexplored area. In other words, the fate of this product will be heavily influenced by both future industry trends and consumer demand. The Ricoh R is far from the company's first foray into 360 videos as the company already introduced several similar products. However, this camera marks Ricoh's first attempt to deliver a viable commercial solution for live streaming such content.