Several of you might be pondering – can you watch your favorite movies from Netflix on the Oculus Quest VR headset? And if so, what is the experience like and is it worth the money?
To answer the question – Yes, you can watch Netflix on the Oculus Quest (and Quest 2) VR headsets. It is as easy as turning on your headset, installing the free Netflix app and you are ready to go (provided that you have an active Netflix subscription).
But let does go into a bit more detail. I will try to give you an overview and some tips about using Netflix on your Oculus Quest headset.
Sitting on a Couch in Front of a Large TV
After you have installed and launched the app, you are transported to a cozy ground floor room with a view to snowy mountaintops from the window. Sitting on a comfy red couch, there is a large virtual TV in front of you where the actual movie content will be displayed.
You can turn your head and peek around the room. The experience is pretty much the same as you would be watching a big-screen (60+ inches) TV in the real world. Only it isn`t real and the visuals and movements are generated via your headset. But let`s pick some actual content and see what the actual movie-watching experience is like.
Can You Watch 3D Movies on Netflix?
Unfortunately, you can not watch 3D movies on Netflix. As stated in Netflix Help Center, the company stopped producing and streaming 3D content due to a general lack of interest from the customers as well as movie studios.
If you are interested in different ways you can watch 3D movies and videos in VR, feel free to check out my previous article 5 Ways You Can Watch 3D Movies in VR.
Oculus Quest Netflix VR Video Quality
I have previously mostly done my movie and TV-series watching using an LG 49 inch HD TV set. It is nothing too fancy and if you compare it to a high-end 4K TV, it will most definitely lose in the video quality department.
So this is my personal real-world comparison point to the Oculus Quest VR headset. This is important for you to know because everything in this world is subjective and someone else coming from a different setting might have an entirely different opinion.
When trying to conclude the quality of the movies played though Netflix VR and the Oculus Quest, I would say “it`s good”. When comparing to my TV, the image appears slightly more pixelated. Do not take it the wrong way – the video quality is actually quite good and you can definitely enjoy watching a movie using the Oculus Quest VR headset. But you do notice pixels (if you look for them).
Keep in mind that the Oculus Netflix App only provides movies and TV-series in 480p resolution!
The girls from Cas and Chary VR have also given a nice overview about the video quality and different ways you can watch movies with the Oculus Quest (and Oculus Go) headset. Feel free to check it out!
Another thing to mention, with VR (at least for me) the content around the edges of the screen tends to be a bit blurry. So, the central point you are viewing/focusing on is clear. But the further away from your focal point, it gradually gets blurrier. Again, this does not annoy me personally, because you really can not focus on the whole screen at a single point of time anyway. But it is something to keep in mind.
The overall video quality of the content using Oculus Quest VR headset is very watchable. However, when it comes purely down to the choice of TV vs VR Headset for watching a regular 2D movie while being at home, I would still go for the TV. But understandably there are many scenarios where VR would be the first choice as well (traveling away from home / watching 3D movies / do not want to disturb others near you etc).
Comfort and Long Time use of Oculus Quest
Now that we have gotten video quality off the table, I will voice my biggest concern about watching movies with the Oculus Quest VR headset. The truth is, if used for a prolonged time, you will definitely feel some strain on your nose and face.
Although I have personally done 1+ hour gaming sessions and also watched video content for a similar time, during and after the sessions, you most probably will feel some uncomfortableness. At times you feel like adjusting the headset (and straps) to lift some of the weight off your nose to other places on your face and then transfer the weight back again after some time. However, there are also many ways you can adjust the headset to make the viewing experience more comfortable shown in the video below.
It is not something that is unbearable, but it will become uncomfortable nevertheless. And this is also the main reason, while at home, I am still watching movies from the TV instead of the VR headset.
Changing Netflix VR screen size and watching movies while laying down
The default screen size of Netflix VR is quite big. For me, it`s near the limit of how much I can take in at a single point of time vs enjoying the immersive large-screen experience.
If you feel like you want to decrease (or increase) the screen size, you can do that by clicking on “Void Theater” button which you find on the top-left hand corner. If you do so, you are transported to a blank gray space with the screen located to your viewpoint center. Here you can easily resize the screen to match your preferences.
Another cool feature is, that you can relocate the screen in your field of view. So, if you want to watch movies while lying down in bed, you can do exactly that and bring the virtual screen to where you need it. And I must say, watching movies while lying down is a really cool and comfortable experience.
Can you watch Netflix Offline without Wifi?
What if you want to watch a movie from Netflix, but you know there is no Wifi connectivity (e.g plane travel, car commute as a passenger). The good thing is, that if you prepare, it is possible to watch Netflix (and other) movies offline.
For watching movies offline using Netflix, you have to sideload the Netflix app (connect your PC with the headset, and install it to your headset from the PC). In this case, you can preload your preferred movie titles and watch them later, whether you have internet connectivity or not.
See the following manual about how to sideload the Netflix VR app to your headset and play movies offline.
Oculus Quest & Watching Netflix movies in the dark
At the time of writing (July 2019), you can not use the Oculus Quest to watch movies (or play games) in the dark. This is because the Quest uses cameras for tracking your location and in the dark, the cameras can not correctly track you. For safety reasons, Oculus does not allow this.
You might think, however: “If I am lying down and watching movies, why the heck do I need tracking”. And it is a fair point! Many Quest users have complained about this issue and by now, Oculus has confirmed that they will create an option for using the headset in the dark while being stationary.
Although the Oculus Quest VR headset holds some downsides to watching movies with it (headset becomes uncomfortable after a prolonged time of use, slightly pixelated and blurry image further away from your focal point) there is absolutely no reason why you can not enjoy the experience.
For me personally, the image quality is good enough to provide all the prerequisites for an immersive and enjoyable movie-watching session. I regularly find myself wondering around the various movie/video content that is available and I thoroughly enjoy it.
Sure, it also means taking small breaks from time to time to adjust the headset and rest your face. But this is by no means a show-stopper and the VR headset really is a viable alternative to watching movies on TV.