Technology 3 min read

Netflix Equals Streaming, but Hulu VR is the Next big Thing

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VR is not only about gaming. Streaming services have made big investments to ensure that entertainment will be provided in a virtual environment. Hulu issued an update to its Gear VR, allowing users to watch content simultaneously.

Critics argue that VR is an isolating technology. They point out that the very purpose of VR is to escape from reality. Yet, this criticism is overstated.

VR can be singled out because of its obvious sensory deprivation effects, but other technologies are not exempt from the same criticism. A person spending hours watching TV alone, with a smartphone or a tablet is no less isolated than a person with a VR headset. What about so-called “social” networks where people spend most of their time?

Hulu VR is changing this as its new app will allow users to have shared virtual experiences.

You can now watch #VR #streaming simultaneously with friends on #Hulu #GearVRClick To Tweet

Social VR Party With Hulu VR app

While Netflix was expected to be the first to offer this service, it was finally Hulu who took the lead. Hulu, a VOD leading vendor, updated Gear VR to enable social viewing of VR capable and regular video.

Hulu VR app is integrated with Oculus Room, which allows users to be in a shared virtual space. To organize a virtual party, you can invite your friends to Oculus Room, then launch the Hulu VR app, and voila! Up to three users will then find themselves sitting in a coach, in a virtual room with a giant screen and adjustable virtual environments.

Subscribers can share fully immersive user experience, watch films and other content in a group, including Hulu’s entire library of 360° content that’s completely free. On the other hand, the app supports Oculus Avatar and Oculus Touch controllers, allowing users to influence their experience even more.

Hulu VR apps for the PlayStation and DayDream are not receiving this update as Sony and Google have not yet integrated social features into their respective VR platforms.

Two Areas Where VR Needs Improvement

There are still two weak points that hold back VR and slow down its development: hardware and immersion quality. For the technology to be truly democratized, headsets should be less obstructive and more natural. Second, the improvement of image capture and rendering technologies will produce much better immersion quality.

Goldman Sachs, in a report on VR, expressed its confidence in the development of this market on a global level. According to the bank estimates, by 2025, the VR market could even surpass the TV market in value, generating around $110 billion USD.

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Zayan Guedim

Trilingual poet, investigative journalist, and novelist. Zed loves tackling the big existential questions and all-things quantum.

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