Photograph by Benjamin Torode — Getty Images
By Chauncey L. Alcorn
August 10, 2016

Foreign investors are betting big on consumer virtual reality being the next big thing in TV broadcasting.

California startup NextVR recently raised $80 million in Series B funding from Chinese venture capitalists looking to capitalize on the emerging sector, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The company has announced partnerships with CNN, Fox Sports, Live Nation (lyv), NBC Sports, and HBO, among other networks, and seeks to differentiate itself from other VR creators by specializing in immersing users in live events like Coldplay concerts and the Kentucky Derby.

NextVR officials say China is betting big on VR tech.

“The U.S. is excited about VR,” NextVR Executive Chairman Brad Allen told The Journal. “But China is even more excited about VR…China looks at this as an opportunity to be in on the ground floor.”

 

Another VR company, Jaunt, recently raised $65 million in venture capital. The Steven Spielberg backed Virtual Reality Company, the cinematic VR venture that recently created a VR version of Matt Damon’s film “The Martian,” raised $23 million of its own, The Journal reports.

Industry researchers in January predicted more than 200 million consumer VR head-mounted displays (HMDs) will be sold across the globe by the year 2020.

Facebook’s Oculus Rift (fb) officially went on sale in April, as did HTC’s Vive (htc). The release date for Sony’s Playstation VR (sne) is set for Oct. 13.

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