The Alternative Realities of Our Time

Netflix is one of those services that had such an impact that it’s almost a proper noun by now. It’s here to stay, and so is virtual reality. If you agree that putting them together sounds pretty sweet, it’s time to learn how to use Netflix VR.

While Netflix may not be the most innovative or versatile streaming service, it does excel when it comes to the sheer volume of great content. Plus, it’s so cheap to use despite how much you get.

So, it’s an ideal service to use when you want to isolate yourself in a VR headset and enjoy some great entertainment. While you probably don’t associate Netflix with virtual reality, they’ve had a VR app on the market for years.

Are you eager to unleash this mass of untapped streaming potential?

What Is Netflix VR?

Netflix VR is an app for virtual reality (VR) modules that lets you use Netflix in a VR format. Here, you can watch your favorite movies and series on your Oculus or other VR headsets in a cool VR setting.

Netflix developed VR compatibility back in 2015, so it works reliably. It hasn’t developed much, but they’ve extended the compatibility to a bigger variety of devices. Although only a few systems are truly compatible as of yet, there are ways to use it on other systems as well.

We’ll look closer at those different options in a moment. But first, let’s cover the basics.

What Can You Do with Netflix VR?


Simply put, you can watch Netflix in a virtual environment. There are some additional bells and whistles, but that’s the main thing you get for learning how to use Netflix VR.

You can choose between two modes. One is a virtual home, the other is Void mode.

The former places you in a cozy living room. There’s a big TV above a soothing fireplace, and that’s only the beginning. You can look around the whole room and even out the window where a spectacular mountain view awaits.

It may sound gimmicky, but it can be a welcome diversion during slow or overly gruesome parts of a show or movie. The downside is that you must sit up and face the right way. Otherwise, you’ll be looking at the ceiling or wall instead of the screen.

If you want to lie down and focus on the movie, the Void mode is your friend. In this mode, there’s nothing but the video you’re watching. No matter where you face, you’ll only see the episode you came for. This luxury alone is reason enough to learn how to use Netflix VR.

What are the benefits?

While VR is still quite young and the perks aren’t that abundant yet, the modes in Netflix VR are reason enough to give it some time.

Once you’ve learned how to use Netflix VR, you can enjoy movies while lying down comfortably in bed without bending your neck or holding anything up. If comfy and ergonomic are words that appeal to you, this is a blissful experience. That is why we figure out how to use Netflix VR.

Also, since a big part of the joy of watching entertainment is to get a break from your everyday reality, the virtual room is a nice addition. If your place is a mess, small, or otherwise not ideal for enjoying a good film – you’ll love this pleasant getaway.

When you know how to use Netflix VR, you always have some nice alone-time within reach.

Are there any downsides to Netflix VR?

There are two notable limitations to the Netflix VR experience. They revolve around streaming quality and portability.

The first issue is video resolution. You can’t stream HD video with Netflix VR. In fact, 480p is your only option. While it’s not a horrible resolution, especially given the screen size, it could be better.

The resolution restriction only becomes a problem if you’re unaware of this bottleneck and pay extra for an HD subscription to enjoy HD VR streaming. Otherwise, it’s an insignificant limitation.

As for the portability issue, it’s a matter of connectivity and storage. You can’t download Netflix VR content for offline use, which means you always need WiFi to view it. If you were planning to binge watch your favorite show in VR to pass time on that flight or train ride, you may need to replan.

What can you watch?

You can access all of Netflix’s ordinary content through Netflix VR. Anything you’d find on their website using your PC, you’ll find it here too.

However, there’s no special VR or 360 3D content yet. If that’s what you’re after, you’ll want to compare some competitors. For example, Hulu VR has some content tailored for VR users.

How to Use Netflix VR

All you need to do to get started on how to use Netflix VR is to download the app from your VR app store. Then, you can open the app and explore its features.

Here’s the basic gist of how to use Netflix VR.

The first time you open the app, it’ll take you to the cinema room. Here, you’ll find the options to browse programs and switch modes.

If you’re used to browsing Netflix, you’ll know how to use Netflix VR after a few moments of interaction. In essence, it works the same as their website.

You log in or choose from one of your profiles and end up on the home screen. Next, you can see recommendations, browse categories, or search for titles.

While the exact controls differ slightly between brands and modules, the general concept is the same. You point the cursor where you need it and hit “Enter.” You can also navigate with your directional controls.

Pressing “Back” brings you to the previous screen. During playback, you use these same buttons to pause, play, and skip.

Overall, it’s just ordinary Netflix in a much cooler format. But let’s look closer at how to use Netflix VR on each of the popular devices.

On Oculus Rift

Oculus Rift is the spearhead of the VR revolution. VR enthusiasts are very familiar with its gaming prowess and advanced functionality. But how does it handle Netflix?

It would be cool if the Oculus Rift’s powerful specs would translate to better Netflix performance, but that’s not the case. Netflix has the same limitations regardless of platforms since its maximum output is well below their current capabilities.

Oculus Rift - Virtual Reality Headset
  • Oculus Rift’s advanced display technology combined with its precise, low-latency constellation tracking system enables the sensation of presence.
  • Customizable, comfortable, adaptable, and beautiful, Rift is technology and design as remarkable as the experiences it enables.
  • Every aspect of Rift was designed to be easy, inviting, and comfortable to use - and that extends to the VR environment we’ve created as a starting point for your journeys.
  • Discover and download games across genres ranging from action RPGs, sci-fi shooters, mind-bending puzzle games, and more - and play them from an entirely new perspective.
  • Lucky’s Tale is included with every Rift purchase.
  • Windows PC and an internet connection are required for Oculus Rift - please review recommended system specs.
  • Requirement: Updated version of USB 3.0

What are the actual steps of how to use Netflix VR on your Oculus? Simply go to the Oculus Store and download the free Netflix VR app. Once installed, you can run the app.

To navigate the menus, you use the controllers as you would on game menus. If you play around a bit with all the buttons, you’ll find a bunch of nifty commands and shortcuts.

On Samsung Gear VR

Unlike the Oculus, which requires a powerful computer to run, Samsung Gear VR only needs a modern Samsung Galaxy device to operate. A Galaxy S6 or Note5 and newer models can host Samsung Gear VR.

While it’s not a great gaming system, it’s more than enough for watching Netflix in VR. If you’re curious about VR but not ready to invest in an Oculus, this is a solid choice.

Samsung Gear VR
  • Turn your compatible Samsung Galaxy smartphone into a completely portable and wireless virtual reality machine.
  • Easy to use touch pad with dedicated Back and Home buttons
  • Wide field of view, precise head-tracking and low latency brings reality to the virtual, Be transported to amazing new worlds, in games, video and images, Thousands of 360 degree panoramic photos
  • Accelerometer, Gyrometer, Proximity (Mount/Unmount Detection)
  • Compatible with: Samsung Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 edge, Galaxy Note5, Galaxy S6 edge+, Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge

You can get the free app from the Oculus Store. Moving forward, you don’t need to do anything special. All it requires is that you login and start browsing.

Regarding controls, it’s all very intuitive. You swipe and select with the touchpad, go back with the back or home buttons, and adjust the volume with the plus and minus buttons.

On Google Daydream

Here’s another popular option for those who aren’t ready to invest in an expensive VR system. Google Daydream is a budget-friendly VR solution which only requires a smartphone.

On some Daydream headsets, you insert your smartphone which then serves as the screen. Other models are standalone headsets with their own VR displays.

While it’s not specific to a certain brand, the system requirements are more demanding than those of the Samsung Gear VR. These are the minimum you need:

  • 4.7 to 6.0-inch display
  • 1080p resolution or higher at 60Hz
  • 3ms maximum latency, 5ms maximum persistence
  • Capable of decoding two videos simultaneously at consistent 60fps
  • OpenGL ES 3.2 and Vulkan
  • Surface-sensitive temperature sensors
  • BlueTooth 4.2 LE
Google Daydream View - VR Headset (Crimson)
  • Simple, High-Quality Virtual Reality
  • A World of Experiences
  • Next Stop: Everywhere
  • Get in the Game
  • Designed for Comfort

Does your phone qualify? Here’s how to use Netflix VR with Google Daydream.

First, you must get the free Netflix VR app from Play Store. Then, install and launch the app.

To navigate the menus and use the video controls, you use the Daydream remote. You’ll get used to it quickly.

Google Cardboard and other unofficial options

Google Cardboard isn’t officially a Netflix VR-ready device. It’s a simple headset that lets you use your smartphone for VR.

However, there are ways to get access and watch your favorite shows on your affordable VR headset. These workarounds also work on a variety of devices that technically have some VR capabilities but no proper support.

Gamer protip: This solution also works for SteamVR.

What do you need for this method of how to use Netflix VR? A VR headset and a phone are given answers, but you also need a Windows computer and Internet access.

The easiest tool to use is Trinus VR. You’ll need to download it on both the target phone and the computer you’re using. Conveniently, the site will help you get the right version of the program.

Downloading and installing the app is easy and shouldn’t take more than five minutes.

Next, you need to connect your phone to your PC. WiFi is the most convenient option due to the absence of cords. However, plugging in can give you better results, although it won’t matter much for streaming 480p video.

When connecting, you’ll see a prompt with an IP address on your phone. Input the same address on your computer to continue.

Once you hit the start button on both devices, they’ll connect to the server. Now, you’ll see the phone display mirror your PC screen.

Do you see where this is going? Now you can launch Netflix from your computer and view it on your Google Cardboard or similar headset using a smartphone.

Please note that the initial loading of Netflix may take some time, sometimes up to a few minutes. If you stick with it, it’ll eventually show up, and you’re good to go.

How to Prolong Battery Life While Watching Netflix VR

Since most of these ways how to use Netflix VR rely on smartphones, battery life is a common concern. While you can’t always circumvent this limitation, there are ways to squeeze some more time out of your device.

It’s not only a matter of resource-hungry software draining your battery, but there’s also the cooling issue. You see, VR processing tends to make phones and headsets run hot, and that means the fans must work hard to prevent overheating.

To do this, the fans need more power from the battery, and thus it empties faster. So, if you’re experiencing a boiling hot system and stuttering videos, you know why people invest in Oculus headsets.

Here’s how to use Netflix VR longer by reducing battery drain. First of all, you should charge the battery to 100 percent right before you begin streaming. If your headset lets you open certain panels, do so to let more air flow through to cool the hardware.

You may also want to sit under a ceiling fan or point a table fan toward the headset. That way, the fans won’t have to work so hard.

Enjoy Virtual Netflix

That’s all you need to know about how to use Netflix VR. Now you can enjoy hours of your favorite shows and films with better immersion and general comfort.

Virtual streaming is the distraction-free entertainment of the future. And we’re only scraping the surface of what we can do with VR so far. What’s a better way to get a headstart than learning how to use Netflix VR?

Do you have questions or comments on how to use Netflix VR? Feel free to leave a comment. You can also contact us here.

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