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February 24, 2016

LG, B&H Photo Video Bringing Virtual Reality Mobile

If there was ever any doubt that virtual reality (VR) was poised for a big takeoff, it took a big hit seeing HTC and Oculus' devices. Throw in the PlayStation, Google and other versions, and VR was clearly back. Joining in the fray recently was LG, which was bringing its new LG 360 Virtual Reality system soon to B&H Photo Video outlets.

The LG 360 Virtual Reality connects to an LG G5, and allows users to see the equivalent of a 130-inch display as viewed from a distance of 6.5 feet. It works with all Google Cardboard content, as well as the photos and images captured by the LG 360 CAM. Plus, the display actually offers a greater pixel density than the G5 itself does, yielding 639 ppi.

Working almost like a standard set of glasses, the LG 360 VR folds flat for easy travel, and comes with a USB Type-C cable to plug directly into the G5. That's a step up from many common phone-based VR systems that require users to insert the smartphone directly into the mechanism. It also keeps the weight down; the system weighs about four ounces, which means it can stay on a user's face much longer without incident.

Early reports aren't weighing heavily in the LG system's favor, however; The Verge's early testing noted that light often leaked in around the periphery of the device, spoiling the immersion factor, and Gizmodo actually resorted to obscenities in its description of the product and experience therein.

Hopefully, the final version of the LG 360 VR system will be retooled before its final release, addressing the issues that some of the early testers had with it. The LG 360 VR in its current form sounds like it might be more of a liability for LG than a market-advancing release, and LG doesn't need problems with people complaining about products.  Some retooling might well help make this product launch a real hit, and for LG to become a major name in VR could be a real help indeed, given the nature of the current electronics market and LG's less-than-prominent position therein. VR is a hot commodity right now, as the recent launch of the Oculus Rift is still a hot topic of discussion and follow up launches from HTC, PlayStation and others are still forthcoming. Taking advantage of that hype to release a quality product would be an astute marketing move, as long as the product can support the marketing.

Presenting users a simple, easy way to get access to VR without having to wear a phone directly on their faces could catch on. There may be a need for a few simple changes before the LG 360 VR goes live, but in the end, this could be good news for LG, and a way to boost its market position.

Edited by Rory J. Thompson

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