Chinese video entertainment company iQiyi is taking the novel approach of a media platform getting into the hardware business.
The Beijing-based firm released a new virtual reality headset, called Qiyu 2S. It’s a more affordable version of its 4K VR integrated headset that the company launched last year. The headset is made by iQiyi subsidiary Qiyu and uses chips from Qualcomm.
With 4K resolution, a wifi connection with no wires required and an advertised starting price of 1,999 yuan ($294), the company has a competitive, mid-market VR headset. Last year’s model, the VR II, retails for at least $100 more.
Since its launch in 2010, iQiyi has evolved from a video streaming platform to a major production house in China for variety shows, drama series and more. The company said it had more than 87 million subscribing members at the end of 2018. At its annual conference in Beijing this week, iQiyi emphasized its plans to incorporate more technology — virtual and augmented reality, and artificial intelligence — to improve the experience for its users.
Controlling the hardware and content may allow iQiyi to engage with users in a unique way. Putting out its own VR headset is a first for a major company focused on producing and distributing entertainment.
Apps for other VR content are also available through the headset, according to iQiyi. Programming is controlled by a handheld remote.