Virtual Reality is Finally Here, Now with Netflix and Hulu
In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, virtual reality is no longer a fictitious notion. For the last few years it’s been a hot topic in the gaming and technology industry. Virtual reality is finally coming to consumers after several years of development kits and highly expensive prototypes, and it’s bringing an app store already primed with Netflix and Hulu too.
Last month at the Oculus Connect 2 developer conference Samsung announced a new version of its virtual reality headset, the Gear VR. While VR headsets have been available for purchase by the public before, they’ve all come with the “Innovator Edition” title or some other label meant to let people know that the devices aren’t consumer-ready. The new version of Samsung’s Gear VR, priced affordably at $99 and dubbed the “consumer edition”, is set to become the first consumer-ready VR headset to hit the market.
Gear VR is set to ship this coming Black Friday, on November 27th, but there is a bit of a catch. The device is only compatible with the latest Samsung devices. If you own a Samsung Galaxy Note 5, S6 edge +, S6 and/or S6 edge then you’ll be able to utilize the upcoming Gear VR. Oh, and it’s only shipping in the US at launch.
The Gear VR headset is getting more than just a hardware upgrade and a price drop. Oculus, the VR pioneers who partnered with Samsung to produce and develop the Gear VR, also announced a flurry of apps and software upgrades. In addition to a virtual arcade and “dozens of new made-for-VR games”, Oculus also announced the shift of Oculus Cinema to Oculus Video and its partnership with multiple big name video content providers.
Gear VR consumers will soon be able to enjoy movies like The Hunger Games: MockingJay – Part 1 and X-Men through a VR theater. Oculus has also partnered with video game streaming giant Twitch to provide live streaming video in the same manner.
Netflix, being the video streaming industry leader it is, has already made its entire library accessible in VR. Hulu is well on the red giant’s heels with its own app set to release alongside the Gear VR consumer version this November.
You won’t be able to jump into your favorite shows and movies or even view their 3D counterparts, but you can watch Netflix’s content in your own personal theater without the need of a separate room and projector.
It may not be reminiscent of the sci-fi holo decks and Matrix-esque worlds we’ve experienced in books, movies and television series over the years, VR is here. While 3D TV and movies proved to be a headache-inducing gimmick, and VR certainly has its fair share of nauseous kinks to work out, virtual reality is largely considered to be the next logical step in entertainment media.
At the affordable price of $99, it certainly seems like the age of VR is quickly closing upon us. Only time will tell if it ever lives up to its fictitious counterpart or not.