OTT leaders go for VR



| 28 September 2015

3DTV failed for a variety of reasons, not least a lack of high quality compelling content, but it may be resurrected by virtual reality.

At its recent annual expo, the team behind Oculus VR technology, which offers immersive 3D experiences, revealed that a number of leading content companies and service providers have endorsed its offerings.

To tap into this momentum, which it is claimed will see over 100 films available in a virtual theatre format in the coming weeks, the Oculus Cinema has been reborn as Oculus Video.

First to show for the new service will be Lionsgate — bringing a slate of current blockbusters and classic titles including The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 and Insurgent — and 20th Century Fox which will bring hits such as Alien Trilogy and X-Men.

Yet perhaps the biggest boost that Oculus Video could get as it aims for the mainstream is support from the leaders in subscription video-on-demand (VOD) and over-the-top (OTT), namely Netflix and Hulu.

The former has been working with Oculus to develop a Netflix app for Samsung Gear VR. The app, available immediately to Oculus users, includes a Netflix Living Room, which enables members to get the Netflix experience from the comfort of a virtual couch, wherever they bring their Gear VR headset.

For its part, Hulu has unveiled a new virtual reality application that features immersive 3D environments allowing subscribers to stream Hulu's 2D library of content as well as original virtual reality short-form, starting with a VR short film from the creators of Hulu Original RocketJump: The Show, produced by Lionsgate and RocketJump.

Explaining what the partnership could bring, Julian Eggebrecht, Hulu's VP of device platforms, said: "Providing viewers with dynamic environments of their choice and themed around their favourite shows provides a whole new level of engagement, which together with our cinematic VR experiences makes Hulu an exciting VR destination."