There are 3 main styles when you watch a movie in VR, Full 360 video, 3D video, and regular movie format. When watching regular movies you really need something surrounding the video or you are just floating in space with a screen in front of you. This can get really disconcerting so most apps try to create a space for you to enjoy.

I haven't mentioned video quality here as almost all the apps require an internet connection to stream and will dynamically alter the resolution as they go. However due to the nature of VR even low resolution videos look good as they are so close to your face.

Here are some of the best apps to watch standard movies on.

Netflix VR

With all their money behind them you would expect Netflix to do a good job, and they do. You don't need a separate account so if you have Netflix already you can use the VR App.

The App itself is a recreation of a Swiss chalet in the Alps complete with low beams and picturesque mountain views. As places to sit and watch movies, it really is lovely. You get to sit on a comfy red sofa and watch a large screen TV built into a fireplace with a super weird work of art above it. I really enjoy watching Netflix in VR, with all the choices they have to offer and the lovely place to watch them, it's one of the best options. However you can only watch what Netflix has to offer. What if you want to watch your own videos?

See Netflix VR on Google Play

SkyBox VR

SkyBox VR is an App for watching local videos in a VR environment. Unlike Netflix, which only allows one environment to watch movies in, SkyBox gives you multiple choices including a very cool Sci-Fi space station to watch your home movies in. As well as allowing you to watch recordings from your phone, Skybox lets you stream from your PC to your phone via something they call "Airstream", it takes a little setting up and can be a little choppy, but as a concept it's looking good.

SkyBox is a great choice for anyone who wants to use your own, DRM free, videos. It even separates your 360 and VR videos out to make finding the stuff you actually want to watch easier.

See SkyBox VR on Google Play

Google Play Movies

Of course Googles offering is going to be one of the very best choices out there. The setting seems to be an Arizona desert-scape at night. It feels like you are watching a movie at a drive-in, a look they could have used more by adding some cars and a frame for the video.

You can buy or rent movies and TV shows from Google Play and even use google play credit to purchase them. Like Netflix you can only watch the media you buy from them, which limits you, but Google Play does have a lot of content to choose from, at pretty reasonable prices. Is it the nicest place to sit and watch shows? not really, but as far as high quality, large variety content there are few apps that can compete.

See Play Movies on Google Play


The Hulu App has a lot going for it in terms of VR. The setting is more contemporary than Netflix, a modern apartment in New York, but offers that same immersive feeling in the 360 space.

Hulu also has a category specifically for free VR video content which makes finding content much easier. The VR content does not seem to be behind a paywall either so you can download the Hulu App and enjoy VR content if you aren't a Hulu user. Videos in Hulu play in another large screen like netflix but seem to be static, unlike Google Play Movies that allows you to resize the video to fit more comfortably.

See Hulu on Google Play]({.cta .large}

New ways to watch

There are a lot of video players out there for the Daydream and Cardboard and most are really not worth your time. With the exception of SkyBox, the players here are the big boys for good reason, they have the finances to invest in VR in a big way, making their experiences the very best right now. I do like SkyBox though. Being able to play my own content and being able to stream content from the PC is huge plus.

One thought though. None of these apps currently have a social aspect to them. I would love to see a video player mixing with Altspace or Vtime to create a movie viewer that could be a shared experience. Five or six avatars sat in a theater watching a movie together feels like the perfect extension of VR viewing.

What are your thoughts? Would you like to see social videos? Whats your favorite way to watch VR movies or 2D movies in VR? Let us know in the comments.

Google Daydream