Netflix, Hulu to Launch Virtual-Reality Apps

Hulu to produce original VR content, starting with bonus short for 'RocketJump: The Show'

Netflix Virtual Reality app
Courtesy of Netflix

Virtual reality has picked up major supporters in Netflix and Hulu, which have announced plans to launch new virtual-reality apps that will give users a 3D way to explore content.

In addition, Hulu said it will produce original content and curate films for VR platforms, starting with a short film as a bonus feature for series “RocketJump: The Show.”

Netflix said it worked with Facebook’s Oculus VR to develop an app for Samsung Gear VR, set to go on sale this fall for $99. The app features the “Netflix Living Room” (pictured above), which provides a user interface designed for the virtual-reality headset.

“A year ago, I had a short list of the top things that I felt Gear VR needed to be successful. One of them was Netflix,” Oculus CTO John Carmack wrote in a blog post on Netflix’s site. “Despite all the talk of hardcore gamers and abstract metaverses, a lot of people want to watch movies and shows in virtual reality.”

Hulu’s VR app, meanwhile, will feature immersive 3D environments that will allow subscribers to stream the service’s 2D library as well as original VR content. Hulu expects to release the app this fall; which platforms it runs on have yet to be announced.

“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,” said Julian Eggebrecht, Hulu’s VP of device platforms.

Hulu’s first original VR short film is “The Big One,” which will launch as a companion to the series from Lionsgate and Freddie Wong’s RocketJump studio chronicling his filmmaking escapades. “The Big One,” about a meteor shower that turns into an apocalyptic nightmare, is being produced by Lionsgate in conjunction with RocketJump and VR startup WEVR.