Will Netflix launch virtual reality (VR) programming?
Will Netflix eventually offer VR content? It’s possible, the tech firm has expressed interest in the possibility of virtual reality programming, however, it wants to look at what people are going to do with technology first.
The video-streaming giant told TrustedReviews during a briefing at Mobile World Congress 2016 that Netflix is looking into offering consumers 360-degree video content.
Netflix’s Chris Jaffe, VP of Product Innovation, was quoted by TrustedReviews as saying:
“Right now, with virtual reality, we think virtual reality has a great place in gaming, and we’ve very interested in where it could go in storytelling.”
“We’re tracking where that goes,” he added.
Last September Netflix announced that it was working with Oculus to develop a Netflix app for Samsung Gear VR.
The app includes a Netflix Living Room, allowing members to get the Netflix experience from the comfort of a virtual couch, wherever they bring their Gear VR headset. However, the content is not really virtual reality. Rather, it’s just a flat video displayed in a 360-degree environment.
“We launched in September or October last year something for the Samsung Oculus Gear experience,” Jaffe explained. “You actually have this kind of app being rendered inside a 360 experience.”
It remains unclear whether Netflix will fully commit to VR.
Jaffe told CNBC that Netflix is just waiting to see if VR takes off with consumers.
“So we look at what people are going to do with VR and see what kind of consumer demand is generated from it, that would be something much later down the road, we would be evaluating it based on those dimensions,” Jaffe said.
Netflix is going big on 4K
One thing is clear though; the company will be rolling out more ultra-high definition 4K and “high dynamic range” (HDR) content this year.
“Something that’s a little bit more out there that we’re really excited about is the notion of HDR or high dynamic range,” Chris Jaffe said during a media briefing at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona on Thursday.
“It’s less about packing more pixels on the screen like the move from HD to ultra-HD 4K was, it’s about extending the total range of those pixels … what that means is there’s a much more photo realistic image that you’re watching which is much more representative of the total range that your eye can see when you’re just looking around in real life.”
Netflix expects to have 600 hours of 4K content on its platform by the end 2016.