Hulu's Gear VR app has Netflix beat in a few big ways


In case you needed any more proof that VR is about to catch on in a big way, Hulu announced that its virtual reality app is here.

The free app, available on the Oculus-powered Samsung Gear VR, offers up a hearty mix of exclusive 360-degree content and brings the greater Hulu catalog along for the ride, too. Even if you're not all about immersive VR content, this added perk for Hulu subscribers old and new is undeniably sweet.

Inside the headset, life's good. You can chill couch side in a 50th floor pad, overlooking a foggy metropolis, with a 10+ foot television in front of you. If that's not to your liking, you can switch the locale to a beach or movie theater.

Each scene offers up the app's home screen of sorts, which you can use to navigate through TV shows, trailers and movies, or jump into the selection of VR goodies.


Hulu announced that its app features 25 selections of VR content from providers such as Showtime Networks, Viacom, RYOT, The National Geographic Channel, and more. Also included on the VR front is Hulu's first VR original, called "The Big One," made with filmmaker Freddie Wong's production company, RocketJump.

VR is cool and all, but sometimes you just want to catch an episode of Seinfeld. Thankfully, that, and all of Hulu's other 2D content, will appear within the app, as if you were watching it on your computer or phone.

The plus side here compared to tuning in on your normal TV is that you're the only one who can see what's happening inside the headset. You won't wake up the house, or spoil a show for anyone else but yourself.

How does Hulu's VR app stack up with Netflix VR?

Hulu competitor, Netflix, has its own Samsung Gear VR app, wherein you can also watch television shows and movies in a virtual locale.

So, what's different? The content, of course. Hulu brings with it access to the comedy gold that is Seinfeld, as well as a host of other shows that are in-demand, and ones currently on-air.

The one big downside of the Netflix Gear VR app is that it displays your content at a rather antiquated 480p resolution. As neat as it is to privately catch an episode of Cooked, the degraded picture quality takes nearly all the fun out, leaving nothing but the novelty of VR to enjoy.

Thankfully, Hulu has confirmed to techradar that its 2D catalog will run at 720p, while the VR content displays at a resolution "close to 4K."

Hulu is late to the VR party, but it seems like the time it took to include exclusive VR content, as well as provide its 2D content at a high-definition resolution, was most definitely worth the wait.

Cameron Faulkner

Cameron is a writer at The Verge, focused on reviews, deals coverage, and news. He wrote for magazines and websites such as The Verge, TechRadar, Practical Photoshop, Polygon, Eater and Al Bawaba.