The rise of virtual reality (VR) technology and devices has prompted online video subscription service providers, such as Netflix and Hulu, to launch virtual reality apps which allow users to access content in 3D. In partnership with Facebook-owned virtual reality company Oculus VR, Samsung Electronics has developed a product which transforms Samsung smartphones into virtual reality headsets for consumers. The Samsung Gear VR is due to release in November 2015.
The Oculus Rift is a virtual reality headset which is due for release in the first half of 2016. Oculus has also developed Oculus Video, a video streaming programme for the Gear VR and Rift headsets which allows users to stream content from Fox, Lionsgate, TiVo, Vimeo, Netflix and Hulu apps.
Netflix subscribers who own the VR headsets are able to access Netflix Living Room, which places viewers in a virtual cabin, facing a big screen TV with access to shows and movies.
The Hulu app will also feature immersive 3D environments which will allow subscribers to stream Hulu content as well as original virtual reality short-form content. Hulu subscribers will be able to log directly into the Hulu app through their VR device. Once inside, the immersive experience will allow viewers to watch Hulu’s entire library of content in 2D – including current season broadcast and cable programming, libraries of classic content and exciting Hulu Originals – all in unique viewing environments created for VR devices.
The virtual reality genre is also moving into the social media space with Facebook, which bought Oculus VR in 2014, working to create support for sharable 360 and 3D video as well as video developed for virtual reality headsets.
Source : Screen Africa, October 22nd, 2015