You’ve heard about it, as it’s almost unavoidable unless you literally live under a rock. It’s the Galaxy S7 and it’s almost guaranteed to make an impact on the visual media landscape. The Gear VR promotion that went along with it is going to put the accessory in the hands of hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions. The promotion is definitely a good push to get the Oculus apps a large and ready market, which is a big help to persuade developers. Rather than focus on the phone for a review, it may be more beneficial to talk about the product that supports it, the Gear VR by Oculus.
Netflix already has its own VR app, Hulu is coming out with one, and even CNN has hosted the Democratic debates in a VR setup. It’s not a matter of lack of developing that could cause defeat for this item like so many other ideas before it, such as the Xbox Kinect. There are already plenty of games in the Oculus store, some of which may require additional equipment such as handheld controllers which is to be expected. It has the support, no question about that.VR/AR could possibly be a staple of our lives in the near future as it was a big focus at the SXSW Interactive Festival this year. SXSW is no joke, as a good number of mass communication methods have made their debut at the SXSW festival and become hits within the next 2 to 3 years. That’s not to say that this technology is guaranteed to stick around as a mainstay, but the odds of that being so look very promising. The mass push by Samsung to get the Oculus Gear VR headset into the hands of new S7 owners, and the purchase of Oculus by Facebook clearly help this technology in its advances to becoming something that is commonplace in the average home.
The content that is delivered and its quality is another story for some. At least one reviewer has noted that things like Netflix are not in HD. There is a major benefit to this though, and that is the amount of bandwidth required to stream content is reduced. And with content/service providers used in travel such as JetBlue’s FlyFi utilizing zero rating techniques on non Amazon media, it makes the viewing experience still very viable. I must note though, that when watching a video on the Gear VR Netflix app, it looks amazing, even when the stream is of low quality. It appears in front of the viewer as if it were on an 80 inch television, and with the setup of lenses for a phone in front of your face, it looks pretty decent. It’s not going to look like a UHD TV with a ridiculously smooth frame rate that looks more than life like, but rather a run of the mill big screen LED television set with above average picture quality. The environment is that of a living room, and hopefully Netflix will be adding some different environments as there is only one other option which is the Void Theater.
The Gear VR does offer its own movie player, which is pretty stellar if you have your own digital collection that you would love to watch in a big screen setting. Called the Oculus Theater, the Gear VR lets you play your own movie files in multiple settings to include personal home theater, multiplex style theater, and even the moon. One could say that this concept might remove the amount of people that head out to the theater to watch a movie, which my be true for some people. The issue that arise from that is the desire to eat or drink while watching a film. After a while the Gear VR will mess around with your sense of depth in the real world due to the depth perceived in the Gear VR world. Even getting a straw into your mouth to sip on your Mountain Dew or eating your nacho cheese Doritos becomes a rather annoying and possibly difficult task, due to the slow changes your brain makes because of the perception change. It’s great for travel as long as you have your movie collection ready or WiFi to stream Netflix because at the current time of this writing, one must use WiFi to stream any content on the Gear VR.
It’s a game changer, maybe for the better, or maybe for the worse. You as the consumer will make that decision over the next few years. Your thought’s?