Pixvana wants to bring high quality streaming to your VR headset

Can anyone say next-gen Netflix?
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VR headsets could get damn, good streaming for video and games, putting an end to big download files and wait times. That's the mission of Pixvana, a Seattle startup from ex-Apple and ex-Industrial Light and Magic execs no less. And it's just raised $6 million to get going.

Pixvana is building a cloud-based VR streaming platform that will launch in 2016. We don't know which headsets will benefit yet (though it is namechecking the HTC Vive), how quality will be improved or whether we will see a Pixvana branded app or service. It's more likely to handle the processing and delivery but it could still be huge for popular VR films, games and apps.

Facebook has already started to improve the streaming quality of Oculus videos and with that early investment, just three months after the company was founded, it looks like the startup is on the money.

Read this: The best Oculus Rift games so far

Pixvana's CEO, Forest Key, told Variety that early adopters of VR headsets have to either download very large files or make do with poor streaming quality. "The bar has been set very high for VR," he said, referring to 4K TVs and the high quality of video streamed on services like Netflix.

Key also gave RoadtoVR more details on the problem he's trying to solve: "Dozens of technical things had to be addressed for online video until the user experience become good," he said. "It rose to the point that… going into this new wave of VR video, consumer expectations are very high because video on the web is excellent. The expectation for the consumer is that when the put on the goggles it better be fucking awesome because that's what they're used to elsewhere."

Expect to reap the benefits of Pixvana's mysterious tech at some point in 2016. VR is so futuristic we don't expect it to be stuck in the download dark ages for much longer.

Do you stream video to your mobile VR headset using platforms like Milk VR? Is it good enough or does it need to get better?



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Sophie was Wareable's associate editor. She joined the team from Stuff magazine where she was an in-house reviewer. For three and a half years, she tested every smartphone, tablet, and robot vacuum that mattered. 

A fan of thoughtful design, innovative apps, and that Spike Jonze film, she is currently wondering how many fitness tracker reviews it will take to get her fit. Current bet: 19.

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She now works for Wired.

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