Plex is going VR: The popular media center app launched an app for Google’s Daydream virtual reality (VR) headset Wednesday, giving users the ability to browse and watch movies and TV shows in VR and join friends for co-viewing sessions.
Plex has been offering users a way to organize and consume their media collections on a wide variety of mobile and TV-connected devices for a long time. Bringing the same to VR is an interesting idea, and a recent demo showed that there’s a lot to like about Plex VR, starting with a playful attitude.
Like many other social and content-focused VR apps, Plex VR also starts users off in a virtual living room. Only here, you not only pick your avatar, but also spill drinks, throw popcorn and anything else you’d want to do while vegging out on a virtual couch. The app also offers an option for two alternative sceneries, including a drive-in theater and a spacey out-of-this-world scenario.
After logging into their server, users can stream movies, TV shows and other local media directly to their headset. The screen can be resized, and there’s an option to watch 360-degree videos in full-screen mode. Plex VR also offers co-viewing, with the option to invite up to four friends to join you on the virtual couch and talk to them via voice chat.
The new Plex VR app can be downloaded for free from Google’s Play Store, or directly in VR via the Daydream app store. Usage is free for all Plex users, but co-viewing is reserved for paying Plexpass members — after a 7-day trial period, that is.
Plex representatives told Variety that they worked closely with Google on bringing the app to Daydream, and the partnership makes a lot of sense: Video viewing is by far one of the most popular activities on mobile VR headsets, and 360-degree content in particular can take up a lot of storage space on a phone.
Offloading that type of content to a media server, and then streaming it to the headset, should make for a much better user experience. Add all of the traditional 2D and 3D content users have accumulated over the years to the mix, and you’ve got a good argument for users to spend more time in their headsets.
Plex VR will be a Daydream exclusive for the time being, but company representatives said that they’re looking to eventually bring it to other VR platforms as well.