One of the biggest draws to virtual reality is the idea that you can watch your favorite TV shows, sports games, and movies on your own screen, uninterrupted. In a world where privacy is something that is hard to come by, it can be refreshing to be streaming your own shows on your device without other eyes or without breaks for the milk man. Netflix has been at the top of the streaming game for several years now, and getting Netflix VR is something everyone has wanted.
Before we jump into the ins and outs of Netflix VR, we are going to list out of all of the headsets that are compatible with the Netflix VR App. It is one of the most compatible apps inside of any virtual reality headset, so the list will be condensed in any way we can. This is to avoid a running list of 50+ headsets.
Compatible VR headsets with Netflix VR
- Oculus Go
- Oculus Quest
- Google Daydream View
- Samsung Gear
- Any Android VR headset
- Any Mobile VR Headset with Google Play
- PlayStation VR Headset
This app for your headset is going to be small in size because you will be streaming the shows. That means the headsets with low storage capabilities can run this app, and even ones with the low compute abilities. The Google Daydream and Samsung Gear VR headset are going to be perfect for this.
Now that we have covered which VR headsets can get this VR app, we are clear to talk about the best (and worst) parts of Netflix VR.
Netflix VR – What Can I Watch?
(It is important to know that Netflix requires a paid subscription to have any access to their shows and movies. All features mentioned in this article require a Netflix subscription)
Unlike Hulu, there is no VR content inside of the Netflix VR app. That means you won’t be able to access any 360° video, 3D video, or anything of the sort. You will, however, be able to access the full library of movies and shows that you usually see when you watch Netflix. There isn’t one specific VR experience inside of the app.
On your VR device, you will be able to have the full range of 2D shows you would like. There isn’t any difference in content between your iPhone and your HTC Vive. As long as you are signed into the same Netflix subscription and account, you won’t need to worry about your show watching.
Your Up Next, Recently Viewed, and even your recommend shows will be all the same as well. If you get a notification through email about a new sign in, it’ll say the headset. Other than that, the Netflix movies and Netflix account will be all the same. All 2D here. If you are looking for 360° or 3D, you can check out the Hulu or Youtube VR apps.
Netflix VR Environment
The setting of the virtual scene in the Netflix App isn’t anything too special. With that being said, there is still an environment for you to see. You’ll be sitting in a dining room with red couches, a cup of coffee on the table, and an a fantastic view out the windows on either side of you. This is where Netflix and Hulu are different. The Hulu app is only sporting the menu before it throws you into the 360° world. The Netflix App puts you into the perfect virtual environment.
Although you can’t sit down and watch Netflix with people, (Facebook needs to get on this idea asap) you can still enjoy your own company. It does get lonely though, as the show doesn’t wrap around you, and it simply feels like you are sitting on the couch in a place that you aren’t too familiar with.
Like we mentioned earlier, this can be a nice break from your everyday TV distractions. With no one else to share the experience with, the headset become a lonely place after a while. This is going to change from person to person, but the environment you are in and the lack of communication you have inside of it were too spacious for our liking.
Can I Download Netflix Shows in VR?
Although downloading movies onto headsets seems fantastic, it has yet to make it to any appearances on any headsets. This feature may be subject to change, but we haven’t heard anything of the this from any companies that would be making these decisions. You are not able to download Netflix shows into your VR headset. Even with the standalone headsets capabilities now, we still haven’t seen this. The reason? Let’s dive into that.
There are a few reasons why Netflix and VR companies wouldn’t want movies downloaded onto the hardware itself. For starters, the typical standalone headset doesn’t have extra hard drive space too often. And when it does, it is quickly filled by memory-dense files that can be interacted with. Watching movies wasn’t the first thing VR headsets were made for, but immersive gaming was. HTC, Oculus, and other tethered headset companies never planned for VR to be used for Netflix. Simply take you Oculus Rift off and watch your favorite Netflix original series on your monitor.
The Hulu VR App is no different when it comes to downloads. That means Netflix has no competition doing anything of the sort. Without any other company pushing the boundaries that way, there is no real reason for Netflix to try to get their movies downloaded onto VR headsets.
Lastly, there isn’t a wide range of people trying to get this feature right now. This may change, but today is the best measuring stick. The majority of virtual reality headsets need to be connected to the internet to do most work. If not, Gear VR and Samsung Gear VR headsets are usually connected to the cell towers. There aren’t many chances for this feature to ever be used, so why would they?
Netflix VR – Extra Features
Although you can’t change your room or environment in this app, you have the ability to change some of the vital visual settings for your show. To access the settings, simply click on ‘Void Theater’ in the top left of the screen. This will allow you to change the screen size, where it is located, and even turn on travel mode.
Travel mode is great for airplanes, car rides, or even when you are trying to find the perfect position on the couch. This will lock your surroundings in place, turn off the ability to go back to your virtual house, and will let you focus on your show. This is a desired setting for many Netflix VR users.
The other two settings simply move your screen while inside of the house. This is easy to adjust on your own and it is very convenient as well. Without this feature, the entire app could have simply gone down the drain.
The Netflix team clearly put some time into their virtual reality app. There are still some features that are missing, and some opportunities we are sure that will be capitalized on soon. As for now, the Netflix VR App is going to continue to be the best virtual reality app for streaming your favorite TV shows.
Coming to Netflix in 2020
When it comes to added features and basic functionality that will be added in 2020, we don’t have a roadmap to follow. We know that the company is likely going to send out updates throughout the year, but how much will that change the app? There are a few fun ideas, but are they worth Netflix to throw money at while the VR app itself doesn’t bring in extra cash?
There isn’t an exact number, but the number of people using Netflix for the very first time is small, and even smaller if VR was their introduction to the streaming service. They aren’t any new customers coming through this app. But that shouldn’t stop the app team from adding some new features throughout the year.
If there is one thing the app could use more than anything, that’d be the ability to customize or change your viewing space. This is something that was promised with the launch of the app, and still in the app description, but never came to fruition.
We aren’t asking for a major overhaul here. Maybe the ability to move the TV to the balcony rather than the east side wall. Or maybe move the couch a little to the left and reposition the table for a more laid back vibe. Some simple features would be fun to mess around around here, and it couldn’t take too much time and resources to make it happen.
Netflix VR doesn’t support any 360° or 3D videos right now, but that needs to change. They have hundreds of Netflix originals already, would it kill them to make one of them 360°? This streaming service is the biggest in the world. We know they can do it, and there is finally a market for it to happen. If Netflix were to add only a few shows, millions would be happy.
Even a simple experience would get the job done. It doesn’t need to be a full show, but something that will immerse VR users a little more than a red-themed room would be nice to see in the near future from the biggest streaming giant in the world.