Visbit, a California-based start-up specializing in virtual reality and 360-degree video streaming technology, is opening new doors for immersive content creators. Visbit recently procured $3.2 million of VC funding to help it bring its patented view-optimized streaming (VVOS) technology to market.
Visbit’s VVOS technology makes it possible to stream high-quality 4K and higher resolution 360-degree video to mobile devices over Wi-Fi and LTE with “near-zero latency.”
“Virtual reality is at such a tipping point, and to date, far too many users have been disappointed in their experience,” said Dr. Changyin (CY) Zhou, co-founder, and CEO of Visbit. “Our technology is set to change that for content creators and publishers, as well as the viewers, by delivering the best quality VR videos.”
Visbit’s VVOS technology enables higher resolution video output with less latency than competing immersive streaming technology thanks to foveated rendering. VVOS determines the direction you are looking and sends the corresponding section of video to your device at the highest resolution output available. Most of the video feed—everything outside your field of view—comes in at a lower resolution to conserve bandwidth for the visible section.
We had a chance to speak with Visbit’s co-founders, Dr. Changyin (CY) Zhou (CEO), and Elaine Lu (COO), to get a better understanding of what VVOS technology does.
Zhou explained that with VVOS, when you turn your head while watching a 360-degree video, the image updates as you move, so you always have the high-resolution view. Zhou explained that VVOS sends data to your device to help it prepare in advance for head movement. The preparation data demands far less bandwidth than the full video requires, but it gives the device the information it needs to queue up the new image without any perceivable latency. Zhou said that there are other competing technologies that stream with variable resolution, but the competitor's process can take up to three seconds before the steam updates the resolution.
Visbit is offering its VVOS technology as a business-to-business product. The company founders plan to offer hosting services to third party companies that wish to have customer-facing portals. Visbit’s clients would operate a website or distribute an app that would then access the Visbit cloud servers for streaming content.
Visbit raised $3.2 million from five different venture capital firms, including Presence Capital, ZhenFund, Colopl Nex, Amino Capital, and Eversunny Limited. The funds enable Visbit to bring its VVOS technology to market. The company is currently hosting a closed beta with six pre-selected customers to work out the kinks in the technology before the company rolls VVOS out to the market.
“We’re excited to have such prominent backers joining us in our seed round of funding. This and the launch of our closed beta brings our company to a very exciting time of growth and execution in taking our vision to the next level," said Zhou.
Visbit’s VVOS technology supports multiple platforms, including GearVR and Google Cardboard. Google’s Daydream isn’t supported yet, but the company has plans to bring Google’s new mobile VR platform on board “as soon as possible.” For now, Visbit is focusing on perfecting its technology on two platforms. The company will add support for other VR platforms, including wired PC headsets and console-based VR, following its beta program.