With the ability to display immersive 3D images, today's virtual reality headsets are a great companion for any avid movie-goer. Gaining unlimited screen space and cutting off distractions from the outside world, both mobile and desktop VR offers a great movie theater replacement without the associated costs. You might be losing some of the clarity offered by high-resolution theater displays, but is an opportunity that shouldn't be missed for existing headset owners.

While virtual reality is a perfect fit for movie viewing, there's no official avenue for distribution. For now, you'll be relying solely on external services not designed with VR in mind – and undoubtedly jumping through some hoops in the process. However, these are easiest ways view your movies from within a virtual reality headset

Vive Video

Developed by HTC, Vive Video is a cross-platform video player designed for desktop VR headsets. Provided you have access to a compatible video file format, the application supports 2D, 3D, 180-degree and 360-degree video. Best of all, Vive Video is available as a free download via Steam – avoiding a hefty cost some other routes require.

With support for 3D and 360-degree files for free, Vive Video is an accessible solution, provided you have a video file to play. While this provides more options to tune the experience, getting ahold of movie files can be a difficult process. Although it's possible to extract the contents of 3D Blu-rays/DVDs, circumventing DRM enters a legally gray area most users will want to avoid. Nevertheless, if you have 3D video clips and movie files to enjoy, Vive Video is a relatively intuitive (and cheap) solution.

Here's how to get started with video playback through Vive Video.

  1. Open Vive Video.
  2. Find the downloaded file on your PC using the inbuilt file picker.
  3. Click the file thumbnail to begin playback.
  4. Select the eye icon in the bottom right-hand corner of the player, labeled Select Viewing Mode.
  5. Configure the on-screen options around your video format.
  6. Click Done to confirm your changes.

See at Steam

Virtual Desktop

While you'll be paying a premium for Virtual Desktop, the program's flexibility and feature set will make this an outstanding tool for all types of video playback. Supporting 2D videos, various 3D formats, immersive video playback and even inbuilt YouTube streaming – you'll get a wide range of options to play videos. The program's defining feature, which mirrors your desktop to your VR headset, also makes it possible to output any streaming service accessible on a PC.

Virtual Desktop also provides various options to tweak your viewing, with tuneable environments depending on your preferences. Options are available to change the size, distance, and curvature of your display, alongside various backdrops to complete the experience. From theaters to more abstract wallpapers - the utilization of room-scale and head tracking can make for an unbeatable movie session.

To get started with the application, start the program while your video content is open on your desktop. A window will also appear on-screen after starting Virtual Desktop, with some further options to tweak your experience.

See at Steam

Do you have any favorite video apps for the HTC Vive? Make sure to let us know in the comments section below.

HTC Vive


HTC Vive


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