Underwhelming: Facebook VR Demo
Last week while visiting Union Market in NE Washington DC I stopped by a special exhibit set up by Facebook to demo its VR technology. Both my son and my son in law insisted so I decided to give it a go.
I was underwhelmed. While the "360 degree" feature is impressive -- you never know who's standing behind you till you look -- the image resolution reminded me of an old VGA display.
The earnest blue-clad Facebook attendant explained that what I was seeing was a smartphone app, not something streaming from a local server.
I was intrigued by the exotic family scenes from inside the (Mongolian?) yurt, but even there the low resolution killed the illusion.
Sound wise, the surround features are excellent. Loved the dinosaur breathing down my neck (and in my face)!
Granted, my demographic is not the target market for this technology. Still, I am accustomed to the "retina" displays on my off-the-shelf MacBook Pro and iPhone. Also, in theaters I'll take a good high-resolution display over 3D any day -- see my review of Prometheus for an example.
I suspect that the technology will be more effective for gaming and interactive programming where engagement overcomes to some extent animation and display limitations. (For a much more positive review of consumer VR along these lines check out Mike Hurley's vlog on YouTube located here.)
Copyright (c) 2016 by Dennis D. McDonald