Hulu is bringing VR content to Oculus Rift headsets, the company announced this morning. Through the company’s Hulu VR app, launched earlier this year for Samsung Gear VR devices, viewers will be able to access over 30 original VR programs, as well as stream Hulu’s entire 2D library in an immersive 3D environment and watch Live Nation concerts. Along with the launch on Oculus Rift, Hulu is also debuting a new themed show space for fans of SyFy’s “12 Monkeys” series.
For these streaming services, VR is still an experiment. It’s nowhere near mainstream due to its newness, device costs, and a general lack of content that could help encourage consumer adoption for entertainment purposes outside of gaming. But if VR is to be the next big thing for media viewing – and not a trendy, flash-in-the-pan like 3D theatrical releases were – then the companies want to make sure they’re not late to the party.
Hence, Hulu VR.
The Hulu VR app lets the streaming service provider see what sort of content makes for a good VR experience, what things viewers gravitate towards, how VR experiences should be developed, and more.
The company promised this spring that it would soon roll out more content and support for additional devices, so this Oculus Rift launch does not come as a surprise (especially as its initial support at its debut was for the Samsung Gear VR powered by Oculus).
The new “12 Monkeys” experience that also ships today was built in partnership with the show’s producer, Terry Matalas, and its production designer, John Mott. It offers a real-time rendered environment that takes viewers to the “Temporal Facility,” which is the dark, windowless facility housing the time machine in this time travel-focused series.
The idea is that viewers get to watch their favorite show in a VR environment that makes them feel like they are actually there in the show themselves. You can pan around and look at the facility from all angles, then turn back to the controls to do things like resume your episode, get show details, add or remove the show from the watchlist, and more.