Last week the BBC announced the launch of a new VR-focused app, the BBC Taster VR app. The app is now available to download for free from the Google Play Store, and brings it with it access to BBC content, with a VR twist. In addition to standard VR content, the app intends to make available additional content and some which will allow the content to be determined by the viewer. As the BBC explains it, the app will in time offer “branching narratives, which let users decide where to take the story.”
BBC Taster is a division of the BBC which looks to showcase some of its new and fresh ideas. So in many ways, BBC Taster is sort of a beta version of the BBC where viewers can gain access to new ways in which they can interact with BBC content, while the BBC irons out the mechanisms used to provide that content. Needless to say with VR becoming increasingly more prevalent, this app essentially acts as the BBC’s vessel to test-run how its content can be provided to viewers through the medium of VR.
As a result of the nature of BBC Taster, this does mean that the content on offer through this apps is a little limited at the moment. For instance, the app only seems to currently offer up access to a trailer for a documentary about US gun crime, as well as access to an episode of Planet Earth 2. The latter of which is likely to be an example of where the BBC would like to take its VR services in general. Not only has shows like Planet Earth proven to be extremely popular on a global scale, but shows like Planet Earth are also representative of the type of content where the BBC routinely invests heavily in new and emerging technologies - with this app indirectly confirming the BBC sees VR as the next logical step. So while the service is limited now, the original announcement from the BBC does clearly state that “the app will be regularly updated with new VR experiences over the coming weeks and months.” Those interested in checking out the new app, can download it through the link below. Although one point to note - while the app is compatible with Cardboard, it does not currently seem to be compatible with Daydream.