How to watch videos on the oculus rift

Guide to watching any type of video on the Oculus Rift

Sometimes all we want is just to sit down and relax with an enjoyable video and other times we want to full immersive ourselves and truly experience the movie in front of us.

As you already probably know, your Oculus Rift offers all of this and more, but how exactly do you begin even to watch a video on your VR headset?

To some surprise, there are a few different ways in which you can approach this so in the interest of keeping things simple we’ve split this guide up into two separate categories, “Downloaded and Streamed”.

Downloaded Videos

If you’ve found yourself a video you’d like to watch and downloaded it to your PC, the process can as simple as a few clicks of a button.

First, however, we need to make sure we’ve got the right types of applications and videos:

Applications to view your videos

Many different applications allow you to see many different video types on your Oculus Rift.

Amongst some, the best apps are one that may surprise you, the Vive Video app. Luckily this application works across both the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.

For this guide, we’re going to explain how to set things up using this app however you can search for other video players in the Oculus & Steam Store.

First, make sure you have SteamVR setup and configure this setup.

When you load the software up, you will have the option to browse your computer to find the video. We suggest you move the video before launching the app to the “My Videos” folder to save you some time.

Once you click this on Videos on the side you should see your video, you can click on it from here, but you will need to configure the view to ensure it looks right.


See the video type below to understand which settings you’ll need:


Video Types

2D Video

Also, known as just regular video, 2D video is what you're probably used to on a day to day basis. You’ll see the video is only 2D as it won’t look stretched or blurry to the naked eye and can work with pretty much any video player.

When you play a 2D video in VR, applications usually display it on a large screen as if you are in a cinema.

Settings: You don’t need to change any default settings.


3D Video

Replacing 3D the glasses for a VR headset gives you the same a functionality on any size screen you’d like.

These videos may look blurry on your desktop, but when configured right on the Oculus Rift will pop out and give a new depth to the movie you’re watching.

Settings: Stereo (either Over Under or Side by Side


180 - 360 Degree

If you want to watch something genuinely immersive, then 180-degree video will allow you to pan left to right and see more than a typical screen would allow.

360 video will enable you to look all around (even behind you) and makes you feel like you’re in the middle of the action.

Both of these content types will look very stretched on an average player but look great within an adequately configured VR player.

Settings: Mono for non-3D, Stereo (Over Under or Side By Side for 3D) Either 180 or 360

Streamed Videos

If you don’t have a video downloaded to your PC, you can always decide to stream it.

Before streaming you should remember:

  • Streamed video tends to buffer, especially video played on the Oculus Rift as the video files tend to be very large.

  • The quality of the videos will be much lower than a downloaded video as streaming video tends to be compressed for faster download speeds

Applications to view streamed video on the Oculus Rift

To watch a streamed video on the Oculus Rift, you’re spoilt for choice as there are many different applications you can end up using.

If you’re in the mood for a mix of videos you can access Oculus Video (which can also be used for downloaded 2D videos).

Oculus Video has access to Facebook, Twitch and Vimeo along with featured videos and movies to watch.

If you’re in the mood for a little Netflix and Chill, then you can download the native Netflix app (although granted you won’t be able to sit with anyone next to you.

Youtube too has its app which has a whole range of award-winning 360-degree experiences to watch on it.

Many more streamable apps include; sport, documentaries, shorts and more


What will you be watching?

If you want to get started with what to watch why not check out the shortlist for some of the best interactive VR films from the VR Awards?

There’s a whole world of video out there waiting for you. Explore!


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