Plex unveiled a virtual theater space on Wednesday, with the release of the Plex VR app for the Google Daydream headset. The video streaming service, which enables users to access their existing library of content, will enable the creation of a digital couch to watch movies together with up to four friends.
“Of course, we’ve got a soft spot for any tech that levels up your Plex experience, but we knew this one was special,” the company said in its blog announcement.
It’s an exciting step into the realm of virtual reality movie watching. The creative industry has gradually begun to experiment with what the technology can bring to the table, with Lucasfilm company ILMxLAB working with Google on projects, NASA producing an Access Mars experient to explore the red planet, and the BBC creating a VR Hub initiative and producing a Tim Peake-inspired virtual spacewalk.
The free Plex VR app, available from the Google Play Store, enables users with a Daydream-enabled device to get started. That’s not a large number right now — the company released the feature with Android 7.1 in November 2016, and at the time of writing only nine smartphones on Google’s site are deemed Daydream-ready — but it’s an exciting first step to a future of accessible virtaul reality with clear applications.
Plex has come up with a number of cool uses for virtual reality movie playback. The default movie setting is a swanky apartment, complete with moving blinds, pot plants, and the ability to throw virtual popcorn at your friends. Viewers can also choose to watch films in a starry nightscape dubbed “the void.” Watching with friends enables you to share content from either your Plex Media Server library (in most cases stored on a home computer) or from the Android device, complete with support for 3D and 360-degree videos.
While the app is free, the ability to watch with friends is only free for the first week. Further use, alongside the ability to play back movies in a special drive-in theater, is available using the Plex Pass monthly subscription.