Amazon releases Prime Video VR

Amazon releases Prime Video VR

Yay!

For the past few years, I’ve been predicting that Amazon was going to release something so we could watch Prime Video in virtual reality.

I know that’s probably still not a really big market (although I’m sure it’s been growing), but I watch TV and movies in VR quite often. In fact, that is my favorite way to watch video…it’s better than a TV, better than a movie theatre.

One place I do it is during lunch at work. I usually exercise, doing floor work. I typically watch Netflix…I’ll explain why later. I also watch Hulu.

However, I’ve pointed out before that, since there wasn’t an easy way to watch Prime Video in VR, it meant I watched a lot less Prime. I did find a way to watch it in a VR browser, but that just doesn’t work as well.

Amazon has now released an “experience” (that’s what we call “apps” for VAM…virtual/augmented/mixed/merged reality) for Prime Video!

Prime Video VR (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

It works on Oculus and Samsung Gear VR, which is Oculus based (Gear is what I use).

I checked it out today: it looked good, although it’s pretty basic.

You start out in a cartoon sort of town and select what you want to watch: VR specific, Prime Video movies, Prime Video TV, and videos you’ve bought from them.

When you select a Prime Video (and it was good about knowing what I had already been watching), you are in a movie theatre.

There’s no one else in it…that’s standard with these apps.

Controls were basic.

It certainly worked, and that’s a good thing. That means I’ll probably try watching The Boys…that’s not a show my Significant Other would want to watch, which means I’d be unlikely to watch it at home. Besides, I don’t like to be in VR when my SO is here…that’s not very social. 😉

The Netflix app is the best one, and Hulu has more options than PVVR.

Why?

Netflix allows the screen to go perpendicular to the floor. If I’m doing leg lifts on my side (I have a chronic medical situation which was greatly improved earlier this year, but floor work still helps), I can have a Netflix video oriented the way my eyes are…I can’t do that with PVVR or Hulu.

Netflix also has a “travel mode”, where it will follow me (slowly) as I move my head. That’s also quite nice.

Hulu does a good job with allowing you to be in different environments, not just one movie theatre.

Hulu also has a lot of VR content.

Prime Video VR’s VR content seemed like they were basically 360 movies (and fewer than ten of them). No games.

They have a Chernobyl piece…but I’ve been to Chernobyl several times in VR in an experience, and that’s amazing! Amazon’s “Return to Chernobyl” didn’t appear to be self-directed.

Oh, for those who don’t know: the experience is like watching a movie…if you are watching, say, Spaceballs, you can’t walk behind Dark Helmet. Why do I like it, then? I’m obviously really focused, and with just my earbuds for my phone, the sound is good.

I think Amazon may add some things to it over time. For example, a family room setting when you choose a TV show. I’d love the social option, so I can watch with someone else. I’d like 360 games and environments, and the ability to watch my personal videos (and listen to audio files).

Overall, though, good job!

Now, I’m still waiting for them to give me something specifically designed to let me read my Kindle books in VAM…especially in augmented reality. Yes, I want to read Lost Horizon sitting on a mountain, but it would also be great to be able to see my current real environment, but also see any of my books in my hands, with the ability to flip pages using gestures. Maybe some day…and that doesn’t take away from this.

Thanks, Amazon!


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* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

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One Response to “Amazon releases Prime Video VR”

  1. Edward Boyhan Says:

    Ever since VR/AR appeared on the horizon, I’ve been talking about how this technology’s biggest impact will be in the eventual cost savings because with a single appliance projecting onto one’s visual space, you’ll be able to do away with many of the display devices that clutter our home and business environments.

    I spent a large fraction of my career designing technology infrastructures for Wall Street trading rooms. For many traders this required as many as 8-16 physical displays on each traders desk. With a 100-200 position room the H/W cost is large. With AR each trader has an appliance that can be used to in effect project many screens on any blank wall area. Each trader can use the same blank wall for their particular market price requirements.

    Similarly in a home environment with lots of family members wanting to watch different shows — no need for arguments about who gets to use the TV — in fact the need for physical TV’s disappears.

    The nature of AR/VR appliances (especially those not yet here that project images directly onto the retina) will enable much more seamless evolution to higher and higher resolutions, additional display features, etc.

    So the day will come when all our display requirements (whether for entertainment or work) will be mediated through AR.

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