Bigscreen announced that is is launching additional free TV channels today, featuring streams of popular shows such as Rick and Morty, The Eric Andre Show and more.
The new channels will join the ever-growing list of free TV streams available on Bigscreen as part of Bigscreen TV. These rooms use ad-supported public streams from sites such as YouTube and Twitch and play them in public social rooms, allowing users to join a public TV channel room and enjoy the show with the company of other users.
The new channels added today will be screening Rick and Morty, The Eric Andre Show, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Samurai Jack, Robot Chicken, The Venture Bros and many other shows. This brings the total number of free TV channels available on Bigscreen up to 172. The new channels will also require users to confirm that they are over 18 years of age before entering the room.
Currently, TV channel streams are only available in public social rooms on Bigscreen. However, the developers noted that they are working on a feature that will soon allow users to bring up any of the free TV channels in their own private room as well, to be enjoyed alone or with friends.
Speaking of friends, the Bigscreen devs are also developing a friends system for the app that they expect to arrive sometime this year, alongside “new servers that dramatically improve the video/audio streaming quality, a new Remote Desktop feature with ultra-low latency desktop streaming to the Quest, and more!”
Bigscreen released a holiday update just before Christmas bringing new environments and features. Plus, the developers are seeing strong statistics and retention on Quest 2.
The biggest part of the update is the new drive-in theater environment, which the developers said was the #1 most requested feature from users.
In addition to the drive-in, the app has also been redesigned over the last few months and now features a brand new user interface. The developers say that the new UI should make it easier to discover new rooms and content, which is convenient as there’s also 60 new TV channels being added into Bigscreen in this update. The channels “including major crime-drama series such as Narcos and hilarious game shows like Wipeout.”
A new TV category called “To Infinity and Beyond” is also being added to Bigscreen for livestreams and re-runs of rocket launches. According to the developers, SpaceX launches are some of the largest social events in Bigscreen and VR in general, with thousands of people all watching at once.
The developers also noted that the Quest 2 launch has been massive for Bigscreen and has meant that the team had to upgrade their servers. According to the developers, “core metrics are up 3-5x since October” and people are spending more time in the app than ever. “The average session is nearly an hour, and power users spend 20-30 hours every week in Bigscreen. Quest has become the most popular headset in Bigscreen’s userbase, followed by the Oculus Rift S, Valve Index, and HTC Vive.”
Thanks to the server upgrade, lobbies now support 12 people (up from 8) and the plan is for room size limits to increase up to 25 or even 50 people sometime next year.
Next year, Bigscreen plans to ship several features, including “a friends system, new avatars, new environment, major improvements to our video streaming, a new ultra-low latency Remote Desktop feature and more.” PlayStation VR and Mac app support are both also “on the roadmap” but without a strict timeline.
Bigscreen has added a green screen environment in its latest update, which opens many doors for content creators and has endless creative potential.
The update will be most useful on PC VR headsets (and Quest running via Link) where it can be paired with the selfie stick and the streamer camera tools for broadcasting or recording purposes. When using the streamer or selfie cameras in the green screen environment, users will be able to use broadcasting or editing software on a PC to key out the background and place themselves wherever they like.
This opens up heaps of possibilities for content creation — streamers will be able to broadcast using their Bigscreen avatar placed against a custom virtual environment, for example. You can check out lots more examples in the video embedded above.
The selfie and streamer cameras are not available on Quest, so the green screen environment is somewhat useless on those headsets for now. That being said, Bigscreen have said they want to add a selfie stick camera to Quest in the future.
Bigscreen says this update is the first of a couple that will focus on remote work and virtual office capabilities. Within the next 2 months, it also plans to launch a beta for a remote desktop feature. Similar to other comparable remote desktop apps, it will allow you to stream your desktop and control it on from within VR on standalone headsets like Oculus Quest. The feature will have ultra low latency (10-15ms) when streaming to Quest, according to Bigscreen.
The feature will also have social capabilities, with other users being able to see others’ desktop streams and collaborate from within VR. This will all be part of a big ‘Quest 2’ update, which the developers say is coming soon.
The green screen update is available now for Bigscreen.
Bigscreen, the social VR platform that lets you stream your computer’s screen to others, just got a substantial update that brings with it 50+ streaming TV channels, including sports, gaming, movies, anime, news, and more.
All streaming TV is served up for free directly from Bigscreen and shown in its public theater rooms around the clock. Some channels may not be available in all areas, however we’ve confirmed that a majority are at least available in Europe.
The update comes to all supported platforms, including HTC Vive, Valve Index, Windows VR, Oculus Rift, Oculus Go, Oculus Quest, and Samsung Gear VR.
Public Bigscreen TV rooms support up to eight users, although a channel can technically support “thousands of people,” Bigscreen CEO and founder Darshan Shankar writes in a blog post.
To accomplish this, Shankar says the company created a new VR video browser technology that can load video streaming and livestreaming sites such as YouTube, Twitch, Pluto, and Comet. And while the platform’s peer-to-peer screen sharing has been greatly optimized, direct streaming means there’s no upload bandwidth requirements.
The UI has also been modeled after smart TV interfaces, which favors one-click actions instead of laborious text insertion.
Here’s a quick list of some of the channels you can jump into today:
Movies & TV: Rifftrax, MST3K, Anime, Pokémon, Pluto Movies, Comet, Shout! Factory, and more
Gaming & Sports: Red Bull TV, 24/7 Poker, 24/7 Trivia, CBS Sports, FOX Sports, Top Twitch (Ninja, Shroud, Sodapoppin, Timthetatman, Lirik, DrDisrespect, DrLupo, Pokimane, Summit1g), and more
News & Finance: NBC, CNN, Bloomberg, Sky News, Newsy, Cheddar News, RT America, Weather Nation, Crypto News, and more
Random: Monstercat, Lofi Hip Hop Beats Radio, Comedy Central, NASA, SpaceX, 24/7 Cats, and more
In a few weeks, Bigscreen will also be announcing its own Bigscreen TV events, new TV channels, and a new cinema environment. At some point this summer, the platform will also release a friends system, and premium 3D Movie Nights in partnership with major movie studios. Upcoming events include:
Bigscreen Inc. today launched what the studio calls a “massive” update to Bigscreen Beta, including real-time raytracing lighting effects, new environments, avatars, VR UI, and a few other bits and bobs that should also make mobile VR users happy too.
Bigscreen Beta is a free social VR platform that lets you directly mirror and share your desktop to other user, which includes support for HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, all SteamVR-compatible headsets. Bigscreen also supports Oculus Go and Samsung Gear VR mobile VR headsets, albeit with remote desktop streaming done via WiFi.
Today’s update is the result of a year-long development cycle, bringing many user-requested features as well as fixes to “some of the biggest bugs & problems that our users have experienced,” Bigscreen founder and CEO Darshan Shankar says in a blogpost.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the most important features coming in today’s update—now live on Steam (Vive, Rift, Windows VR) and the Oculus Store for both Rift and mobile VR:
Real-time Raytraced Lighting Effects
Previous versions of Bigscreen’s dynamic screen lighting were both graphically demanding and only available on PC VR headsets, leaving mobile VR headsets out entirely.
Now, the studio has included raytracing techniques using stochastic sampling and blue noise dithering, which were created to cast rays of light from the big screen into the environment for a greater touch realism.
Since the implementation has been deemed less GPU-intensive, mobile VR headsets are getting the raytracing-based light effects too, which ought to make the app’s various cinema environments pop.
We had a chance to go hands-on with the latest build for PC, and while it’s a pretty subtle change, it’s certainly moving into the realm of eerily convincing.
Mobile VR Room Creation
Before now, mobile VR headset users were sort of second class citizens to the platform. Although the screen mirroring functionality works via desktop streaming, users on Oculus Go and Gear VR couldn’t create rooms .
This has changed with today’s update, now allowing mobile VR users to set up public or private rooms that anyone can join irrespective of their chosen platform.
On mobile, the studio says the update also comes with “significantly improved performance and battery life, especially in larger rooms with 5–15 people.”
Out with the old, in with the new. A new amphitheater-style cinema is now live—and an even more sumptuous and shiny than ever.
Besides the fresh new visuals, the space also features curved seating designed to make chatting with fellow watchers a little easier—something the studio maintains is especially appealing to mobile VR headset users since the 3DOF limitation doesn’t let you lean forward.
Also, long gone are the days of hopping into rooms blindly, attempting to get a word in edgewise with other users while a movie blares in the background. Bigscreen Beta now has a movie theater-style lobby space where you can pop in and meet new people if that’s your thing.
Laden with plenty of ‘coming soon’ doors leading to inaccessible theaters, the new lobby appears to be a launching off point for events and movie nights; the studio says they’ll be hosting events and selling virtual movie tickets there.
New Avatars & VR UI
The new avatar creator still retains its cartoony charm, although both masculine and feminine avatar hairstyles now have what the studio calls “a more sculpted art style.” To boot, there’s plenty more facial hair options and hats in the mix so you can create an more personalized look.
Selecting avatars and everything else in Bigscreen is also a bit easier with the new UI, which allows finger-presses and pointer selection; big buttons, clearly labeled settings and a visual overhaul makes it feel fresh and a little less cumbersome.
Bigscreen is unique: there’s truly nothing like it out right now that lets you have full control over your computer and let you share it indiscriminately with others. While the app isn’t without its niggles, the studio says they’ve fixed many of the bugs that users have commented on in the past including:
support for 5.1 and 7.1 headphones, and SPDIF/USB DAC audio devices
desktop audio streaming bugs where your audio would stop working, get muted, or stutter when people leave the room
UI bugs where the UI would become frozen or irresponsive
crashes when people would join/leave your room
server bug where people would fail to properly join/leave rooms
The Near Future
More updates are coming in the next few months, including (yes, you guessed it) support for Oculus Quest, slated for sometime later this year.
The studio says Bigscreen will also likely see its official ‘1.0’ launch out of beta sometime in Summer 2019, which should include a “whole new level of polish, reliability, and functionality,” Shankar says. Other future updates will include:
Friend/party system: invite friends into your rooms easily, and get notifications
Videoplayer: watch videos stored locally on your PC or Mobile VR headset. This videoplayer has an easy-to-use VR UI, making it easier to watch videos, especially 3D movies.
Streaming & performance improvements: while the performance has improved in the 2019 Update, more significant tech is coming soon that enables much better performance and streaming in larger 12-person rooms Bigscreen Movie Nights: last year, we did a few pilot tests of “movie nights” where we hosted a movie. We plan to sell “virtual movie tickets” for our movie nights.