Imagine standing front and center at a Kendrick Lamar concert. Now imagine doing that from the comfort of your own home and you've got Vrtify. Billed as the world's first virtual reality platform, the free Android app is a new way for music lovers to experience their favorite artists in virtual reality.
Instead of having to contend with a sweaty throng of people to enjoy your favorite artists live, now you can get the same experience at your abode. No more long lines to the bathroom and exorbitantly-priced stadium refreshments. I had the opportunity to go hands-on with the soft beta version of the app recently and came away impressed and eager to see/hear more.
Moments after I held the Google Cardboard to my eyes, I found myself in a dark room in the midst of a screaming audience. Even in the darkened, room, I could make out distinct facial features against random flashes of light. Positioned in front of a catwalk, I looked up just in time to see Coldplay's Chris Martin stroll right past me, as the opening chords for "Vida La Vida" began, whipping the fans closest to me into a frenzy. I could have stayed for the rest of the concert, but I had a room full of people waiting to explain what I just experienced.
Vrtify is made up of a slew of proprietary technology including a camera system that simultaneously captures long-range, wide angle and low-light video captures to eliminate image distortion and a 4D/360 degree recording system. The tech allows for the company to create that immersive concert experience.
The company isn't stopping at simply streaming previously recorded content. Vrtify also has the ability to live stream, which could potentially revolutionize the way people attend concerts. I for one would gladly pay $30-50 for a front-row concert experience depending on the artist.
When you're not watching concerts, you'll be checking out Vrtify's home page, which is comprised of a large outdoor patio overlooking a sparkling city with a starry sky. The Vrtify logo lights up the sky like some sort of techy Batsignal. The various sections of the app are broken out into four large purple tabs (Live, Music, Concerts and Channels). Glance towards the upper right corner, and you'll see the Back icon, which you'll have to stare at for about three seconds to select it.
Vrtify is more than a concert app; it also has sections that allow you to listen to your favorite music providers (Spotify, Pandora, YouTube and Apple Music) and pair them with preloaded VR environments. One minute I was sitting at my desk in my office and the next I was touring the Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil while listening to The Internet. I tested the music bit of the app by selecting Spotify under the VR Music tab. However, before I could access my account, I had to log in, which was difficult using Google Cardboard. I tried staring at the letters on the keyboard to enter my info to no avail. You'll definitely need a Bluetooth controller on hand.
Using VR Videos and VR Channels was much easier. You simply look at the icon under the piece of content you want to watch. From there, you're taken to a screen asking if you want to stream or download. After you make your choice, your content should start playing in a large movie theater complete with rows of red chairs.
Even though it's broken out into two sections (Concerts and Clips), Videos is mostly populated by music-based content. VR Channels has a similar setup, although there is a Nickelodeon channel, where you can watch episodes of "The Fairly Oddparents", "Harvey Beaks" and "Game Shakers." Unfortunately none of that content was available during my demo.
Overall, Vrtify holds lots of promise, particularly the concert segment. If the company can strike up enough deals with top artists, this could be the initial start of virtual reality pay-per-view.
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Sherri L. Smith has been cranking out product reviews for Laptopmag.com since 2011. In that time, she's reviewed more than her share of laptops, tablets, smartphones and everything in between. The resident gamer and audio junkie, Sherri was previously a managing editor for Black Web 2.0 and contributed to BET.Com and Popgadget.