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Playing virtual reality video games is a blast—but it also takes work. If you simply want to kick back, relax, and experience some mind-bending visuals without thinking too much, why not try watching Netflix in VR?
It’s ridiculously easy to do, even if you don’t have state-of-the-art equipment. There are three primary methods, depending on what kind of device you’re working with: fire up the Netflix VR app on Android, set up mirroring with your iPhone, or simply download the Netflix app from your preferred Oculus device.
➡️VR headset: No matter your budget, there’s a virtual reality option for you. On the pricey end, there are sophisticated VR headsets like the Oculus Quest 2, which starts at $299, and the HTC Vive Pro Eye, which retails for $799. We’ve included a few other options in the gallery below, too.
If you’re looking for something less expensive, there’s the $99 Google Daydream View system (discontinued, but you can still find them here and there), the Samsung Gear VR headset (which the manufacturer has also discontinued in the U.S., but you can find it on Amazon for $128), and the $25 Google Cardboard viewer (although you may want to purchase an additional head strap for it).
➡️Active Netflix subscription: You can subscribe to three Netflix plans. The cost for each is reflective of how many devices you’d like to use the service on, and whether or not you prioritize HD viewing. For $8.99, you can watch unlimited shows and films on one device at a time; for $13.99, you can watch on two screens at once and access HD content; and for $17.99, you can watch on four screens, including HD content.
➡️ Smartphone: Android phones released in 2019 or earlier that can run Daydream software are ideal, but any device will do.
➡️ Solid WiFi connection: The Netflix VR app and VR systems below don’t let you download and store movies or TV shows for offline viewing.
➡️ PC: This is optional, but you may need a computer running Windows software to use an iPhone (unless you have a dedicated VR system like the ones we’ve included in the gallery above).
To use your device for a fully immersive streaming experience, just download the Netflix VR app from the Google Play market.
To use Netflix VR: Launch the Netflix VR app > Select Headset and either click on Daydream View for smartphones that are compatible with Android’s Daydream software, Google Cardboard, or Scan QR code for other devices > Log in to your Netflix account, or set up a new account.
The default viewing experience will look like a copy of your living room, with the Netflix content appearing on a television within your VR environment. It’s aptly called Living Room Mode, and is complete with a cozy couch and big, tall windows overlooking snowcapped mountains.
Of course, you can’t really lie down and watch TV, since you’d be staring up at the ceiling. If that bugs you, go to Settings and select Void Mode, which gives you general menus but removes the immersive environment.
It’s worth noting the app has extremely subpar reviews on the Google Play market, with an average of two out of five stars. Most commenters complain the app has a tendency to crash, but others point out if you don’t have dedicated virtual reality controllers, like the ones that come with the Oculus Quest 2, it might be hard to make the controls work. To get past this, purchase a cheap third-party VR controller or use a second smartphone as a remote.
Not sure if you have a Daydream-compatible device? Most older Android phones will work, including the Google Pixel 3, Galaxy S9 and S9+, LG V30, the Moto Z, and more (see the full list here). Unfortunately, in late 2019, Google confirmed it’s more or less abandoned its Daydream VR platform—including the standalone Google Daydream VR headset—so newer Android phones like the Pixel 4 and Galaxy S21 aren’t compatible.
If you have a Samsung device, you can also buy and use Samsung Gear VR, a virtual reality headset from Oculus. While Samsung has discontinued the production of this headset, you can still find it on Amazon.
To use Samsung Gear VR: Select Netflix from the Oculus home screen > Follow the prompts to complete installation > Select Sign In once the Netflix app launches.
Things get a bit more complicated with iPhones and iPads. There isn’t a dedicated virtual reality app in iOS like Daydream, but you can still watch Netflix in VR. It will just require a bit more work.
Specifically, you’ll want to use mirroring for VR, meaning you’ll stream the actual movie or TV show through your computer’s Windows software and transfer it to your Apple device’s screen. There are many different software vendors that offer products to help you with this method, but we’ll be talking about Trinus VR.
To set up mirroring for your iPhone: Download and run Trinus VR on your computer > Download the companion Trinus VR app on your iPhone or iPad > Make sure that your PC and Apple device are both connected to the same WiFi network > Launch the app on your Apple device and the software on your phone > Enter the phone IP in the phone app > Click Start on both devices > Open your browser of choice on the PC and go to Netflix’s website > Log in to your account > Select and start streaming the content of your choice.
You can also use the mirroring method with your Android device if you can’t or choose not to use the Netflix VR app.
If you’re ready to spend on a dedicated VR system, you won’t have to worry about compatibility between your device and Netflix, since it has a dedicated app through the Oculus store.
To use an Oculus headset: Install Netflix from the Oculus Store > Return to the home screen and select Netflix > Sign into your account.