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Entertainment Powerhouse iQIYI Unveils World’s First 4K VR Headset

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iQIYI — which we recently learned is, in fact, more than “China’s Netflix” — just threw its hat into the virtual reality ring in a big way with its new VR headset, the QIYU VR II.

The headset offers 4K resolution, with hardware capability to support 8K down the road. That means it’s way beyond its big name competitors, like the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift, both of which offer only 1080p resolution. Its motion sensor tracks three degrees of freedom (3DoF), which can be upgraded to 6DoF with an optional armband, giving users a richer, more interactive experience. It’s also billed as “portable,” meaning the headset houses its own hardware, rather than being powered by a PC.

“We are Netflix Plus”: An Interview with iQIYI VP Leon Chen

iQIYI has a few different types of VR content in mind. One would be watching traditional movies in 4K and 8K, and will put users in an immersive personal virtual reality theatre. Another type of content will be 3D video, and another will be panoramic VR viewing experiences. Apparently VR gaming is even on the menu.

Maybe even more interesting than the device itself is what it means for China’s VR playing field. With iQIYI acting as both hardware developer and content creator, the ground for VR innovation has never been more fertile. If even a small fraction of iQIYI’s 500 million-plus users buy the headset, that’s already an enormous boost of incentive for smaller content creators, all eager to cash in on iQIYI’s huge customer base.

iQIYI has also demonstrated the ability to define trends, with their original dramas and runaway hit Rap of China — if there’s anyone who can turn VR from a niche interest into a mainstream phenomenon, it’s them. They could even offer package deals for a subscription + headset.

We’ll be keeping our eye on the headset, and on what we expect will be a sharp increase of activity in China’s VR scene.

For more virtual experiences:

Kadallah Burrowes is Paving the Way for a New Generation of Digital Artists

How China Inspired My VR Career

Adan Kohnhorst
Adan Kohnhorst is a Shanghai-based writer, producer, and multimedia artist, and the Associate Editor at RADII. His work has been featured in publications such as Maxim and the Chinese-language StreetVoice, and he’s an active member of the hip-hop and DIY music scenes in Shanghai, NYC, and Dallas. He learned Mandarin in high school so he could train at the Shaolin Temple, but now just uses it to interview rappers.

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