Netflix, Hulu And Others Headed To Virtual Reality

Chris CrumTechnology

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You'll soon be able to watch Netflix, Hulu, and other video streaming services in virtual reality, it was revealed today at an Oculus developers conference.

At first, the new experiences will just let you watch content like normal in virtual reality settings. For example, you'll be able to watch Seinfeld on Hulu while sitting on a virtual version of Jerry's couch.

Hulu says its new VR app will be available this fall with immersive 3D environments from which you can watch anything from its library of content. Eventually, it will include original VR content beginning with a short film from the people behind RocketJump: The Show, which is produced by Lionsgate and RocketJump. From Hulu's announcement:

The range of experiences will include viewers transporting themselves into a comfortable living room setting to catch the latest episode of the Hulu Original Difficult People. Viewers can also choose to view Hulu’s library of premium content including movies and current season TV in a classic movie theater setting. Seinfeld fans can choose to be transported on to the blue couch in Jerry’s iconic apartment to watch favorite episodes of the series.
 
“Hulu lives at the intersection of technology and entertainment, and this is a great example,” said Julian Eggebrecht, Hulu VP of Device Platforms. “Providing viewers with dynamic environments of their choice and themed around their favorite shows provides a whole new level of engagement, which together with our cinematic VR experiences makes Hulu an exciting VR destination.”
 
Hulu will also create and house a variety of cinematic VR films across multiple genres that transport viewers into new worlds and change the way they experience and interact with Hulu. The first of these is the ground-breaking VR short film “The Big One,” on which Hulu partnered with Lionsgate to bring Freddie Wong and his RocketJump brand into the virtual reality space. “The Big One” will become a bonus short for Freddie Wong’s new Hulu series, RocketJump: The Show, which chronicles his filmmaking adventures. Produced by Lionsgate in tandem with RocketJump and VR innovator WEVR, “The Big One” invites users to witness a meteor shower that soon turns into an apocalyptic nightmare. The end is near, and Hulu VR viewers will have a front row seat.

They're not giving a release date yet.

Netflix is offering a virtual living room experience that's immediately available for Oculus.

"We've been working with Oculus to develop a Netflix app for Samsung Gear VR," says Anthony Park, VP of Engineering at Netflix. "The app includes a Netflix Living Room, allowing members to get the Netflix experience from the comfort of a virtual couch, wherever they bring their Gear VR headset. It's available to Oculus users today."

The Netflix Tech Blog is featuring a post from Oculus CTO John Carmack, who gets into how they built it.

Beyond Netflix and Hulu, Vimeo, Twitch, and Tivo are also reportedly on board. Facebook and YouTube of course are already providing 360-degree videos ideal for the virtual reality experience. Facebook announced the launch of its videos in the News Feed earlier this week.

Also announced at the conference is a new $99 Samsung Gear VR headset that makes use of the Oculus platform, which should serve a a major component in getting this stuff to the masses.

Image via Netflix

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.