It seems like the entertainment world is set to embrace virtual reality, as Hulu, one of the world's premier streaming firms, announced on Thursday that it is launching a VR streaming service that is specifically designed for users of Samsung's virtual reality headset, the Samsung Gear VR.
Now that's immersive video viewing!
According to Hulu's announcement, the VR service would allow users to watch full 360-degree videos through a special app available on the Gear VR Oculus Store. Apart from a selection of VR-designed films, the special app would also be able to access Hulu's entire catalog of TV shows and movies, which could be viewed in a VR-simulated environment.
As of writing, Hulu's VR offerings are still quite limited, with the app only having about 25 pieces of VR-specific content from a series of providers. The offerings are no joke either, as the VR content features exclusive films and clips from firms such as Baobab Studios, Discovery Communications, Las Vegas, The National Geographic Channel, RYOT, Showtime Networks, SilVR Thread, Spoke, Studio Transcendent, The Uprising Creative and Viacom. The service is also available for any Gear VR user, regardless of Hulu subscription.
Ben Smith, Hulu's head of experience, is optimistic about the service's future.
"At Hulu, we are inspired by great storytelling and are passionate about evolving the art and experience of storytelling in TV and movies. 360-degree content puts you in the middle of the action and gives content creators the ability to create much deeper visual, auditory and emotional immersion. VR lets the content creators transport you into their world, to help you feel what it is like to be present, to be in the moment," he wrote in a blog post.
Hulu's VR app also features an exclusively-produced film, called "The Big One," an original film produced in partnership with Lionsgate. Users viewing the film are treated to a visual spectacle featuring a meteor shower which soon turns very, very serious.
Currently, Hulu's VR app is only limited to support Samsung's Gear VR. In the near future, Hulu also plans to extend its support to other VR devices and platforms, as well. The streaming firm has not disclosed the exact date as to when the expansion would happen.
Smith assured VR and Hulu fans that the firm would offer more VR content on a regular basis. After all, despite the innovative technology, a shortage of content would gravely compromise the service.
"Novelty is not going to be a pleasing experience over time," he said.
Fans of VR would soon have more options as other notable tech firms have also started offering VR content for mainstream use. Netflix, for one, offered an app for the Gear VR last year, though its content only includes the firm's regular programming lineup. E-commerce giant Amazon has also showed indications that it is also looking into delivering VR content.