China’s top Netflix alternative, the Baidu-owned, iQiyi, is making its own inroads into the virtual reality media business by debuting its own 4K VR headset. The device is relatively future-proof, with the developers claiming it comes with full support for 8K panoramic video. As we know from super-sampled games on already released headsets like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, even downscaled, higher-resolution content can look great.
Developed alongside Qualcomm, the new iQiyi headset builds on technology already debuted by the company at this year’s CES show. Known as the Qiyu VR II, the headset is designed to offer portable 4K media viewing in a theater-like experience. With promised 8K panoramic video support, too, the Qiyu VR II goes way beyond existing VR headsets like the Vive Pro in terms of resolution.
Considering the Vive Pro and its contemporaries are PC-powered headsets, the hardware within the ‘portable’ Qiyu headset would need to be quite powerful in order to deliver such detail, even from pre-rendered videos. VentureBeat reports that the new headset can offer 35-percent additional performance over its predecessor and will leverage a 4K LCD display, as well as three degrees of motion tracking, with an optional upgrade for positional (six-degree) tracking as well.
In terms of content for the headset, iQiyi will be able to leverage its existing library of HD and UltraHD content. With a reported audience of more than 500 million users, the Baidu-backed media company has plenty of people to sell the headset to, and the content for it.
Since the Qiyu VR II is a virtual reality headset, that opens up the door for a wider array of varied content than traditional 2D displays can offer. Alongside 4K and 8K movies and TV shows, iQiyi will offer 3D video, as well as panoramic virtual reality content and even VR games, we’re told. The amount of available content at launch is said to be around 10,000 movies, 20,000 programs with panoramic content, and several hundred 4K and 8K videos designed with VR in mind.
Although we don’t know how much the new VR headset will cost when launched, it’s possible that it could be bundled into the subscription price of the service — content will certainly be handled that way. If such a headset proves popular, it could help generate competition and encourage additional content creation in the ultra HD media space.