Facebook wants people to do more than play games with its VR headsets. The company is hoping that its line Oculus headsets –which now includes Oculus GO, a more affordable, standalone headset– will also serve a personal movie theatre for users. To do this, Facebook has launched a dedicated video viewing app called Oculus TV.
The new app acts as a virtual home theater that sits user down in front of a custom-built 3D environment with (what seems to be) a massive screen and virtual seating area. Users have several apps to choose from including Netflix, Hulu, Facebook Video, ESPN, and free OTT TV service Pluto TV.
The the new app is expected to launch later this month.
For Hulu and Netflix being available through on VR headset is nothing new. Both streamers have had an app on Samsung’s Gear VR for a couple years.
In Hulu’s case, the company has been experimenting with what it calls VR “living room” experiences, meaning that anyone who has a headset and a Hulu subscription can choose from several locations to be transported to when watching their favorite show.
“Our team [has been] building unique 360-degree, virtual reality “living room” environments where Hulu VR app users can hang out in and interact with before they start watching their content,” VP of Technology at Hulu Julian Eggebrecht told VideoInk. “These environments include our new, spooky Haunted House, a private big-screen theater, a modern, chic living room and a relaxing beach.”
For Facebook, Oculus TV is part of a larger push for non-gaming content for its headsets, which will soon be home to an app called Oculus Venues for live concerts, comedy nights, and sporting events.