Facebook’s Oculus offers Gear VR owners games, movies and, now, TV.
Hulu is available on Oculus, joining Netflix in providing a virtual reality home theater for subscribers to visit whenever they want. The addition fills a gap in the content offerings on the $100 phone-powered headset. Oculus sells movies and classic 2D video games to enjoy in VR and Netflix provides a home theater experience with a large library of content. Now, Hulu brings television shows to the budding VR platform.
You could easily set up either Netflix or Hulu to play on your ceiling in VR, offering a leisurely way to watch movies on a big screen while in bed. Hulu also takes a step beyond Netflix and includes a collection of 360-degree videos alongside Hulu’s movie and television library.
There’s a few dozen 360-degree videos to watch including the Puppy Bowl, boxing clips, Mythbusters and videos from National Geographic. There’s also Invasion! by Baobab, a history of flight by Studio Transcendent and a “Lip Sync Battle” with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, among others. At least for me, the videos seemed to stream very quickly and quality seemed in line with other 360-degree video services.
The app is released as a beta and, like Netflix, doesn’t include social features. Watching a movie or television show privately or while in bed is certainly nice, but these apps need to let people meet up with their friends and watch something together to truly unlock the potential of enjoying traditional media while immersed in VR.
There are four different environments to choose from including a living room, home theater, the void (for watching something on your ceiling) and a beach. You can also establish different “ambiences” for each of the locations, like day or night at the beach or winter outside your living room windows.
Of course, if your Hulu subscription includes ads those are still there in VR. Next to a stomach-churning experience, nothing has made me want to rip off a headset quicker than a Hulu ad. In real life, you can look away from an ad. In VR, there’s nothing interesting to see over there.