Netflix Releases Creepy ‘Stranger Things’ 360 Video

by Ian Hamilton • August 4th, 2016

A 360-degree video promoting the much-talked-about Netflix original series Stranger Things is available now and ready to give you a fright. The release represents the first step by Netflix into VR after launching its Gear VR app earlier this year.

The two-minute 360-degree video freaked me out a bit despite having already watched the show. If you haven’t seen the 8-episode first season yet, proceed cautiously. The video doesn’t outright spoil the overall story too much more than a trailer but, still, there are things in it you might want to see in the show first. Check it out embedded above.

We hope this is a sign Netflix is taking VR more seriously. Both Netflix and Hulu offer VR apps, but the latter has already embraced some 360-degree content too. Oculus Chief Technology Officer John Carmack worked directly with Netflix last year to help the company figure out how to bring its streaming service to Oculus-powered headsets. An experimental project earlier this year showed a VR app that looked very much like an old Blockbuster store for renting movies.

The ultimate feature for any of these apps, however, is the ability to park yourself inside a headset and invide a friend to sit next to you and watch a show or movie at the same time. When you buy a movie from the Oculus Video store, for instance, you get the right to invite friends who haven’t bought the movie to watch it with you in VR. The feature isn’t active yet, however. In the Oculus Social app you can currently pull up a Vimeo video or Twitch stream and watch it with other people in VR. Whether Netflix or Hulu is pursuing these features in their apps too is unknown, but it would be pretty disappointing if they weren’t working on it.

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  • All these companies really have to get their acts together. You should be able to go into the Netflix VR app and watch this in VR/360 but nope, Netflix doesn’t “believe” in VR/360 video yet (despite having a VR app) so you can’t. Hulu has plenty of VR/360 videos in it’s VR app, but this is a Netflix program so no luck there. it’s on YouTube but that’s owned by Google/Alphabet. Oculus/Facebook and Google/Alphabet don’t play nice together, so there is no native YouTube app for the Gear VR. So I either have to turn off the Oculus part of the Gear via a 3rd party app and use it like a Google Cardboard, OR open the YouTube webpage in the Samsung Internet app and crane my head around like an owl to get it to play in fullscreen and in 360. All these little walls don’t make me a loyal consumer of one type of content or another, they are just annoying that I have to hurdle over them each time I want to do the simplest thing.