Harry Potter "Chaos at Hogwarts"

AT&T pushing 5G into AR and VR with Harry Potter, NBA and Looney Tunes

The company has its hands in a number of 5G rollouts consumers can experience today

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When it comes to augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), AT&T is the 5G partner for many of today's current digital activities, apps and experiences from children being able to pull up and read AR books on a tablet to getting live stats while watching the Chicago Bulls.

The company highlighted many of these today during a live media event in New York, where executives from Google, reading app Bookful, Warner Media and AT&T — as well as actor Ashton Kutcher, who invests in technology — talked about how 5G has transformed the way we consume content digitally today.

AT&T 5G New York eventExecutives from Google to reading app Bookful joined actor Ashton Kutcher and AT&T to talk about 5GGearBrain

Kutcher noted that several years ago people would need to wait for videos to buffer, often having to pause mid-way while the remainder of content downloaded. He compared that to today, when 20 or more people can be having a live virtual call in real time.

"We don't realize when that moment in time, when that switch happens," he said during the event.

Several other companies highlighted their offers at the event, including the NBA and the Chicago Bulls which showed off the different ways 5G is enhancing the consumer experience.

For the Chicago Bulls, this includes the new AT&T StatsZone, which allows people watching a live game to bring up player stats through the team's app in AR immediately with just a click via 5G. And AT&T says it's bringing support for more 5G+ coverage, already in the United Center in Chicago, the Toyota Center in Houston and the AT&T Center in San Antonio to more than half of all NBA arena by the end of 2021. 5G+ coverage is AT&T's own name for 5G sent over millimeter wave, and is used in more dense areas.

Chicago Bulls appThe Chicago Bulls worked with AT&T to bring live stats to those attending games at their arenaGearBrain

Cinemark theaters is opening up an AR photo booth for moviegoers timed to the release of "Space Ham: A New Legacy," on July 16. People will be able to pose with some of the Looney Tunes characters at three different theaters in Plano and Houston, Texas. That image can then be downloaded and shared.

AT&T has also teamed up with Warner Bros and others to create the new "Chaos at Hogwarts" experience which is launching in coming days at the Harry Potter store in New York.

AT&T also just joined a research group looking at 6G, joining Qualcomm and Samsung Electronics, and working with the University of Texas at Austin in a new center called 6G@UT. The goal is to examine what this next phase of technology can bring.

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