Excitement for virtual reality technology has waxed and waned a number of times over the last few decades. In that past, it never took off because the technology wasn't very good, and the cost was really high. However, we've finally reached a point where virtual reality could become mainstream.
Plenty of companies are trying to make it happen, but the big name is Oculus, which Facebook bought last year for $2 billion. While Oculus has good hardware, it's not going to get anywhere without compelling content for the average person, and its banking on the popular streaming-video service Netflix.
The Oculus version of Netflix is available on the Gear VR headset, which we'll talk more about in tomorrow's news, and the upcoming Oculus Rift headset. So, what does it mean to watch Netflix in virtual reality?
When you load up the app, you'll find yourself in a virtual living room with a TV in front of you. Netflix videos appear on the TV, but if you move your head around, you'll actually look around the virtual living room, completely with posters for other Netflix movies.
If you don't care much about the living room look, you can also watch a movie on an empty background. There's also a control to adjust the size of the screen.
OK, so it isn't really a mind-blowing application of VR tech right now. In the future, I'm sure there will be updates that let you create an avatar, or customize the living room. Then you can link up with people in other places and you can virtually watch the same movie together. Imagine a family movie night with family members scattered around the country.
For right now, if you want to watch a movie on a plane or in another public area without people looking over your shoulder, then it might come in handy. Hulu, Twitch and other video-streaming sites are also going to be doing similar things, so you'll have plenty of video options.
Can you think of a situation you'd actually watch a movie using a VR headset? Let us know your thoughts on this emerging technology in the comments.