There are many things the Oculus Quest 2 can do. You can use it to play games, look at pictures and videos in VR, and yes, even browse every show on Netflix. But does that really mean it’s great for watching Netflix?
The sad truth is that Oculus Quest 2 is not ideal for watching Netflix (at least yet). Aside from comfort and eye strain issues for longer sessions, the main downside is that the Netflix app limits streaming resolution to 480p, which is suboptimal at best.
However, there are workarounds to make the headset more comfortable to wear and also bump up the resolution to meet modern-day standards. Let`s get right in!
THE NETFLIX EXPERIENCE ON OCULUS QUEST 2
We all want to jump right into our favorite shows on a big screen in a VR world. The Quest 2 lets you do just that. The screen can, in fact, be very big indeed! This feature in the Netflix app is called the “Void Theatre”.
For some people, going back to the regular display TV takes getting used to. The massive large-screen experience is in fact one of the biggest selling points as to why watch Netflix in VR. It`s great!
However, there are also several pain points when it comes to the overall experience of watching Netflix with Oculus Quest 2.
Longer Binge-Watching Sessions Will Cause Eye Strain
It’s understandable that you’d want to spend hours on end watching your favorite shows. After all, binge watching is a pleasure and a curse in itself! However, doing so requires you to be wearing your Quest 2 for extended periods of time.
Having a digital screen close to your eyes hasn’t really ever been the best idea. VR hardware developers in general tend to put a disclaimer on the recommended time to use their headsets for health purposes. For the Quest 2, it’s recommended to use it for a couple of hours before taking a break.
Thankfully, we live in the age of advanced technology, where this issue has received particular attention for a better VR experience. Harmful light emissions have been significantly reduced and brightness settings on your Quest 2 can also help you stay comfortable.
Needless to say, if your eyes start to get sore, it’s always a good idea to take a break! Your VR journey will be right where you left it to pick up at a later time!
Oculus Quest 2 Comfort Has Been Improved, But…
To some people, the thought of having a VR device attached to your head while you stream Netflix on the big screen is off-putting. And there`s actually plenty of justification for this concern.
Although the Quest 2 comes with a fantastic weight distribution design, so you won’t feel the actual weight of the headset too much, there is another problem. For optimal visual clarity, you have to strap the headset really tightly. If worn for prolonged periods, you will definitely feel some strain on your forehead and face in general.
There are, however, solutions to mitigate the issue. For 49$ you can purchase a dedicated comfort strap to significantly enjoy your viewing experience. Alternatively, you can also purchase custom foam paddings which just make the headset much more softer and pleasant to wear.
With these custom mods, longer VR movie watching sessions will definitely become much more enjoyable!
Quality on the Official Netflix App Leaves to Be Desired
This is the major reason why I’m saying that the Oculus Quest 2 isn’t ideal for Netflix.
The official Netflix app from the Oculus Store only allows streaming at a maximum of 480p. If you’re unfamiliar with video quality metrics, believe me when I say that’s below average in today’s time. It’s certainly watchable, but not something that you’d be happy to go back to – especially while 1080p and 4k streaming are becoming more common!
All in all, the Netflix App doesn’t really utilize the improved resolution potential in the Oculus Quest 2. That`s mainly because the app was originally developed and designed to be compatible with Samsung Gear VR. Times have moved forward, but there is no news so far about Netflix wanting to the Netflix app for better quality streaming.
So, since the biggest flaw with Netflix on the Quest 2 is the resolution, can you do something about it? The answer is actually yes! Here are a few ways, even if “unofficial” to get a better Netflix experience!
WATCHING NETFLIX ON OCULUS QUEST 2 WITH IMPROVED RESOLUTION
While I wouldn’t call these methods “lifehacks”, they certainly can get the job done as best as possible!
1) Sideload Netflix for Android To Your Headset (720p support)
Sideloading is a handy little feature that lets us download games and apps to our beloved Quest 2 that third-party developers made. It’s also an easy way to get apps that are otherwise unavailable.
The app we are concerned with is the Android version of Netflix. This app has more features, but best of all, lets you stream content in much better resolution (720p)!
What You Need:
- PC or Android Phone to Install Netflix on your Headset
- USB Cable to connect Quest 2 with your PC / Phone
- Netflix Android APK (use this version)
Decide whether you want to use your phone or your PC for sideloading Netflix on your headset and click on the corresponding link for a step-by-step guide. Once sideloading is set up, install this Netflix APK (version 4.16.0 build 15122) on your headset and start enjoying Netflix in 720p resolution.
Note! There are newer releases of Netflix APK available, but many of them don`t work and/or still only support 480p resolution.
2) Stream Netflix (1080p) from Your PC using Virtual Desktop
Virtual desktop is an application that lets you stream PC content directly to your VR headset. Essentially, you are mirroring the screen of your PC into your Oculus Quest 2 headset.
Firefox will be your best buddy here again. Many users have reported Netflix not working with Virtual Desktop because of DRM issues. These are the in-built safety features in Netflix that block streaming when they think that content is being recorded. According to Virtual Desktop’s official statement:
“Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Chrome and some Windows Store apps have DRM that prevent those services from being captured. Using Firefox solves this problem.”
What you need:
- Set up Virtual Desktop
- Download Firefox Browser
- Install Better Netflix addon
- Install Netflix 1080p addon
- Start Virtual Desktop streaming and use Firefox for Netflix access
This is one of the easiest ways you can watch Netflix in full HD resolution with your Oculus Quest 2 headset.
NETFLIX PARTY – WATCHING TOGETHER WITH FRIENDS
Now that you know all about streaming Netflix on your Quest 2, it’s time to get some friends into a VR “party” to enjoy some movies or TV series together! There are a few ideal ways for you to do this:
1) Bigscreen VR
This is a VR streaming app that’s specifically designed to help you stream content with your friends! This is as close to an amazing virtual cinema experience as we can get.
You can link Bigscreen VR to your Netflix and enjoy watching for as long as you and your friends can handle it!
What’s more is that you can even choose from different worlds and settings to pick the best place to watch Netflix! Check out the Youtube video below for more information on this:
Arguably the most popular VR social app, VR chat lets you stream Netflix through your browser with a bunch of friends. You can even take a bold step and invite some strangers to watch with you! After all, every friend was once a stranger, right?
VR chat can be downloaded from the Oculus store, and you’ll need to use Netflix on a browser to be able to stream it with others.
All in all, the Netflix app still needs some major improvements to its quality and user feedback. We can hope that the company takes some action in the future so that there are only good things in their VR future!