Virtual reality might actually be accessible to the masses

26 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Now you can watch Netflix using virtual reality.

Netflix NFLX 0.09% customers can now download the Netflix app on their virtual reality headset and stream all Netflix shows in standard two dimensions, though CNNMoney speculates that 3D programming could soon be on the way. “A year ago, I had a short list of the top things that I felt Gear VR needed to be successful. At $200, its last-generation headset, the Gear VR Innovator Edition, already undercut Oculus, Sony, and HTC, which are all due to release their more-expensive VR viewers—all targeted at hard-core gamers—in 2016. Of course, Google also has Cardboard—a headset made of cheap components, including its namesake material—that’s supposed to introduce the technology to the masses. Samsung teamed up with Oculus, which is owned by Facebook, to overcome some of these issues, integrating an accelerometer, gyroscope, and proximity sensors.

And because it’s geared toward viewing 360-degree videos—and less on processor-intensive games—it’s able to render the experiences relatively smoothly. “The reason we’re focusing so much effort and energy—and the reason we’re doing mobile and video—is because everybody has a mobile phone and everyone watches video,” Matt Apfel, vice president of Samsung Media Solutions Center, tells Quartz. The latest version still doesn’t work across multiple platforms, but it will be compatible with four Samsung smartphones—double the previous model. Still, some, like Andreessen Horowitz’s Chris Dixon, believe there’s a lot to be desired. “I believe the high end is what you need,” he tells Quartz. At that price, the upcoming Gear VR could almost qualify as an impulse buy—for owners of the Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6 Edge+, S6, and S6 Edge phones, anyway. Juniper Research forecasts 30 million shipments and $4 billion in revenue from headset sales by 2020. “I think these low-barrier, entry technologies are very important,” says Adam Levin, who helped found the Virtual Reality Foundation. “Certainly there is a divide between what you can do with a computer-based experience and cell phone-based experience, but the availability of cell phones as a way into virtual reality is very important.”

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