What It's Like To Watch NBA In VR

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What It's Like To Watch NBA In VR
January 18, 2020

Have you always wanted to sit courtside at an NBA game and fully immerse yourself in the full experience? Many have dreamt the same dream, but only few have made it a reality. Incredibly high ticket prices and limited arenas in the league limit many. The NBA and NextVR have teamed up to make consuming NBA content easier than ever. 

Each week during the NBA season of 2019-20, NextVR has shown an NBA game inside of the NextVR app. For most of these games, you needed the NBA League Pass to tune in. For select games throughout the year, you’ve been able to watch inside of VR without having to sign up for the NBA League Pass subscription. 

To watch said games, you’ll need a VR headset, the NextVR app, and a solid WiFi connection. When NBA VR first started gaining popularity, the quality of virtual reality headsets were low. Now, we have headsets that are being used in day-to-day operations of the US Military Services. To say the quality is good would be an understatement. There is no better time to watch NBA games throughout the league inside of VR. 

 

VR Headsets to Watch the NBA

There is no shortage of virtual reality headsets in the world right now. From multi-thousand dollar headsets to media-focused VR headsets for less than $200, the consumer and enterprise market is booming right now. The quality of headsets range though, and watching a sports game through the lens isn’t always the same. 

 

Below, we will be listing out each headset that has access to the NextVR app, the home of NBA VR games. 

Valve Index

HTC Vive and Vive Pro

Vive Cosmos

Oculus Rift and Rift S

Oculus Quest

Oculus Go

All Windows Mixed Reality Headsets

- All phone-based mobile VR headsets (Google Daydream &Gear VR type of headsets)

Any SteamVR compatible VR headset

 

As you can see above, there’s no shortage of headsets to consume NBA VR content. Knowing which headset to use can be a bit tricky though. 

 

If you are eyeing a headset that is going to be for “watching tv and live events”, you’ll be pointed to the Oculus Go. The Oculus Go is a fantastic VR headset, but it isn’t the best one on the market right now by a long shot. When it comes to refresh rate and resolution output, the Go will never be first option. Under this paragrpah, we will be listing the best headsets we have used for a good NBA VR consumption experience. Each of the listed headsets are immersive, but there are levels to this. 

 

1. Valve Index 

The Valve Index is the best consumer headset on the market. It doesn’t possess the same mobility of the Oculus Quest, but the graphics, refresh rate, and immersive audio give you a mixed reality experience that you won’t soon forget. From each of the camera angles NextVR gives you, the game will be clear and crisp. 

Each announcer will be crisp in your ears thanks to the near-field speakers. Because your PC is powering the headset, you won’t be running out go battery during the game either. This is the best headset in the industry for consumers, and it is the best VR technology to watch the game with. 

 

2. Oculus Go

If you are going for quality content, whip out the cash and go for the Valve Index. If you are going for cost-efficient virtual fun, save the cash and go with the Go. This is a VR platform that isn’t going to promote gaming, just media and VR content. The speakers are perfect, the resolution isn’t perfect, and the compute power isn’t anything special. What you will get with the Go is a headset that is ready to watch the League Pass, game replays, and highlights when you are. 

 

3. Oculus Quest

The Quest is going to round out the top 3, and that is because of the ability to run almost any VR app. NBA teams are slowly learning to connect with the NBA fans more, and having a standalone headset that can run almost any app is important. The picture quality is a big step up from the Go, and the speakers are a nice step above as well. The National Basketball Association is only going to continue to get more and more technically advanced, and having a VR headset ready for that is important. Potential is playing a large part in the Quest getting a spot in the top 3. 

 

What NBA Games Can I Watch in VR?

Not all games are going to be inside of virtual reality, and not all games are created equal. Not many people want to tune in for a game between the two bottom teams in the league. Theres a reason those types of games aren’t nationally televised. If you look at the games available to VR users this year, at least one team of each matchup is having a good year. 

The schedule was formed well before the season began, and rarely there are teams that are far worse than anticipated. Of course injuries play a part (Steph Curry’s hand took HOW long to heal??), but all of the games that will be lived streamed will have a quality viewing experience. 

 

All games on this list are regular season games. They all are also not televised, hence the fact you need to League Pass to watch most of them. You won’t be tuning in for any NBA on TNT Thursdays nights in VR. When it comes to All-Star weekend and the postseason, there is no word on VR availability. The NBA All-Star Game is a fun watch, and having inside of your headset would be even more fun. The NBA Finals consistently get the highest ratings, so adding VR support would be a fantastic. again, there is no word on the availability of said events. 

Because there aren’t any televised games in VR on national TV, you’ll need the NBA League Pass to tune in for most of the games. You can find League Pass options below. 

 

NBA League Pass Options 

Like any sports league in the world, the fans want to watch as many games as possible. The NBA plays 82 games, and if you are in a small market, you’ll find your team on national television only a handful of times throughout the year. There are 1,230 total games played in the course of the NBA season, (post season excluded) and only 276 will be on national TV. If you want NBA games, the League Pass is the way to go. 

 

One Time Purchase for VR

If you are only going to be watching VR NBA games, the NBA has a great deal. For only $49.99 one-time purchase, you can watch every NBA League Pass game in your headset. You won’t have the same ability on your phone, tablet, or computer though. This may be the best option for some, but not for many. 

This gives users to watch the NBA games not only through NextVR, but through the NBA App for VR as well. This adds a new dimension, and hundreds of new games to watch. From replays to crunch-time endings, you’ll have it all in your VR headset. And only your VR headset. 

 

Regular NBA League Pass 

$28.99 /month or $149.99/year

This option gives you the ability to watch every team in the NBA (blackout restrictions apply to local areas) at any time. You can watch these games on any device, including inside of your VR headset. Between NextVR and the NBA App, you won’t miss a shot all year long. This is the best option available, as it is going to give you 360° coverage from every arena inside the league. 

 

NBA League Pass Premium 

$39.99/month or $219.99/year

This option is very similar to the last, but the prices don’t reflect that. This option cuts out all commercials, even though the game is still going to be stopped. If watching a boring arena is better than commercials, this price will be justified. Outside of that, the perks are all the same. Coverage all around the league at all times, and access inside and out of your virtual reality headset. VR is the new reality. 

 

Best League Pass Games Left in 2020

If you are looking for the best games left in the NextVR schedule, we have you covered. This list is going to include the must-watch NBA games that are going to be shown by NextVR by the end of the year. Keep in mind that some of these games are going to require you to sign in with you League Pass credentials, so keep those in your back pocket at all times. 

(These are the best upcoming games as of 1/17)

 

Denver Nuggets @ New Orleans Pelicans 
Friday, Jan 24

This will be Zion Williamson’s second game back from injury. The first pick in the 2020 NBA draft tore his meniscus in the pre-season and has yet to see real NBA action. The world has been on the edge of seats waiting to see the most anticipated rookie since LeBron James back in 2003. Zion may be on a minutes restriction, but it will still be a game to see as he and the Pelicans take on the surging Nuggets. 

 

Miami Heat @ Los Angeles Clippers 
Wednesday, February 5th 

No one was expecting this game to be what it is at the beginning, but this matchup could very well be an NBA Finals preview. The Los Angeles Clippers are finally hitting their stride after staggering games between Kawhi Leonard and George. The Miami Heat, fresh off of the Jimmy Butler acquisition have been one of the better stories of the 2019-20 campaign. This will be one of the best NBA League Pass Games of the year. 

 

New Orleans Pelicans @ Utah Jazz
Friday, March 13th

The Pelicans and the Jazz are no strangers to each other. Each one of their meetings this year have come down to the wire. Each one of them has had some referee controversy as well. In this meeting in March, we are sure to get a show from both Donovan Mitchell and Brandon Ingram, as both had career nights last time they squared off. A potential playoff matchup too. Buckle up, this will be a fun one. 

 

Los Angeles Lakers @ Sacramento Kings
Saturday, April 4th 

This game won’t mean much to the regular season standings, as the Lakers and Kings both have their fate all but determined. What it will bring is a narrative like no other. There has been trade talks all year about a Kuzma for Bogdonavic trade. If this goes through, this could double as a redemption and revenge game for both players. If this trade doesn’t haoppen, this could be another Laker game that is all but over in the first half. But hey, who doesn’t want to watch LeBron & Co. wipe the floor with the lowly Kings?

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