Google’s Daydream Android VR platform just got a lot more watchable. Already the only place you’ll find the official YouTube VR app, Daydream just picked up more major content providers.
While Gear VR has been the exclusive home of Netflix VR since September 2015, the app has now landed on Daydream, Google’s Android VR platform. The app doesn’t yet serve up VR content, instead putting users inside of a virtual living room with a big screen (somewhat oddly) placed under the mantle of a fireplace, offering up the whole of Netflix’s ‘flat’ video library.
Also serving up non-VR videos is HBO NOW VR (and HBO GO VR) on Daydream. This is a big win for the platform as it’s the first HBO VR app anywhere. Like Netflix VR, the HBO VR apps present a virtual bigscreen in a home theater setting with access to HBO’s library of flat video content.
While both HBO and Netflix are only offering flat content for the time being, the door is clearly open for native VR video content from each.
Of the three, the new NextVR app on Daydream is the only one offering proper VR video which is both 360 degrees and 3D. NextVR’s small but growing library is focused around sports and music events, and also offers the chance to watch VR broadcasts live, like weekly NBA games. As with Netflix VR, Gear VR was formerly the only place to watch NextVR content, but now Daydream users can join the fun.
Daydream is also the only VR platform with access to the official YouTube VR app, a trump card which Google appears to have purposefully kept away from Samsung’s Gear VR. The YouTube VR app offers access to YouTube’s massive flat video library as well as 360 and 360 3D VR Youtube videos, which the company is actively growing.
Add to that Hulu VR, Jaunt VR, Littlstar, Within, and Google Play Movies & TV, and it’s clear that Daydream has taken the top spot as the best place to watch video content in VR. Gear VR still has a number of great exclusive one-off pieces of VR video content, like the excellent Inside the Box of Kurios, though they are spread out across individual app-wrappers rather than part of a curated content library.
Amazon Video is among the only major video streaming libraries that hasn’t yet announced a VR offering, and it’s likely that the various platforms are competing heavily for it to be a timed exclusive on just one platform.
Amazingly, not one of these video apps (in any incarnation, not just their Daydream versions) offer social/multiplayer functionality. So unless you’re used to watching movies, TV, and sports alone, these apps may remain more of a novelty for the time being. Here’s to hoping that once the first app introduces social watching, the rest will follow.
Curiously, tethered VR headsets like Rift, Vive, and PSVR have been almost entirely excluded from major streaming video apps. Hulu VR and Jaunt VR are the only two of the aforementioned major apps available on any of the tethered headsets. Meanwhile, YouTube, Netflix, HBO, Google Play Movies & TV, and even NextVR—the only one of the bunch with a library of exclusively VR video content—aren’t available for the leading tethered headsets.