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The VR future expands as Netflix and Hulu announce new virtual reality apps

netflix adds 4k and hdr but not vr living room
The Virtual Reality world is getting some intriguing new contributors, namely Netflix and Hulu. Both companies are gearing up (no pun intended) for the VR revolution, announcing that they’ll be launching virtual reality apps to give viewers the chance to stream their content through VR headsets. Netflix got a jump on other video services, debuting its new app on Oculus’ virtual reality store today. Hulu’s app is slated to arrive later this fall.

Netflix and Oculus collaborated to develop an app for Samsung’s Gear VR; when the new $99 VR headset comes out this fall, users will be able to use the goggles to step into Netflix’s virtual world. Through the device, Netflix’s sea of content can be explored from the comfort of the Netflix Living Room, transforming any location into a virtual home theater. However, Netflix has not announced any content specifically created for the VR experience.

The Hulu VR app takes things a bit further, giving users multiple immersive 3D environments to choose from. From there, they’ll be able to stream Hulu’s entire library of content in 2D, and later, watch specially-crafted original VR content. The streamer today announced plans to create such content, starting with a short film called The Big One. The short will be produced by Lionsgate and Rocketjump and created by the brains behind Hulu Original RocketJump: The Show. Through it, viewers will see a meteor shower turn into an “apocalyptic nightmare.”

The move to create VR content is another in a throng of progressive efforts by Hulu in an attempt to become more relevant when sized up against rivals Netflix and Amazon, following the recent release of Hulu’s new commercial-free tier.

“Hulu lives at the intersection of technology and entertainment, and this is a great example,” said Julian Eggebrecht, Hulu VP of Device Platforms in a press release. “Providing viewers with dynamic environments of their choice and themed around their favorite shows provides a whole new level of engagement, which together with our cinematic VR experiences makes Hulu an exciting VR destination.”

Both Netflix and Hulu’s apps will allow users to access a home theater on-the-go to start, with the possibility for much more exciting VR experiences available down the road.

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Stephanie Topacio Long
Stephanie Topacio Long is a writer and editor whose writing interests range from business to books. She also contributes to…
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