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LG teams up with Google to develop VR offerings

Jan 12,2019
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Ha Hyun-hwoi
LG U+ is partnering with Google to produce three-dimensional (3-D) virtual reality (VR) video, the company said Friday.

Ha Hyun-hwoi, CEO of the mobile carrier, said augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality offerings demonstrate to customers the potential of next-generation 5G networks. He made the comments during a press briefing Wednesday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

He added that LG U+ is determined to become the leading player in AR and VR, and the partnership with Google is a stepping stone in achieving that goal.

According to LG U+, the smallest mobile carrier in the country, with 3-D VR video, viewers feel they are actually at a sports stadium or a performance hall. The technology requires 10 times the bandwidth when compared with two-dimensional high-definition videos, which is why the faster and higher-capacity 5G network is crucial to the mass production and distribution of VR video, LG said.

The two companies will first establish an equally-invested fund and develop 3-D VR video in the first half of this year. LG U+ will take charge of design and production. The mobile carrier will also have rights to local market distribution. Google’s YouTube will own retail rights globally. The Korean company said its collaboration with Google will continue following the development of pilot material.

The first offerings will be centered on videos of globally-popular K-pop stars. A tour around K-pop star homes, following the star for the whole day and backstage tours are some of the ideas suggested so far, LG said.

The video will run exclusively on YouTube and LG U+’s over-the-top (OTT) VR content platform. OTT refers to streaming entertainment that is delivered directly to users over the internet without going through intermediaries, like television.

The move by LG U+ comes after SK Telecom inked partnerships earlier this month with three local broadcasters - KBS, MBC, and SBS - to create an OTT media service that can counter Netflix.

It also announced during CES a partnership with Sinclair Broadcast Group to cooperate on media technologies.

Ha said dependence on OTT will grow together with the commercialization of 5G and that SK Telecom has made a “good choice in partnering with local broadcasters.”

LG U+ plans to fight competition with its partnership with Google as well as Netflix. Under an agreement reached in November last year, Netflix programing is aired exclusively through LG’s internet protocol TV platform.


BY KIM JEE-HEE [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]