For us gamers, Virtual Reality is the dream of total immersive gameplay. The personification of the hero from a 360-degree environment in which the effort is not only intellectual, it is also physical. An aspiration that still seems far away due to technical limitations and nature itself, because dizziness is still common. But what if it happens is that we are asking too much. And if what at first seemed to be a secondary use has just become the main one. I’m talking about something as simple as video playback: big size, big sound, same total immersion and zero dizziness.
Content creators have been producing materials since the beginning of time, because even one of those Chinese headsets of 15 euros to which you put your mobile is worth you to visit a museum or participate in an interview. But with those lenses and that resolution, it looks bad, it doesn’t call or it’s worth it. To take advantage of video apps, until now, it was essential to use one of the best equipment, such as an HTC Vive or a Valve Index. However, the price is a pass to give an anecdotal use, and forces you to be glued to a PC. You can’t watch a two-hour movie lying on the couch, so it’s not a substitute for TV.
These weeks I have discovered that that barrier is finally behind me. With the arrival of Oculus Quest 2 (and I want to think that HTC Cosmos too), there is already a device that meets all the conditions that a Virtual Reality headset needs that aspires to become a video player for the day to day: with its processing capacity and its lenses at x resolution, it already reaches a decent image quality, enough to feel comfortable in the day to day. Without cables, to use it on the sofa, in the bed or where you put it. With much less chance of dizziness than in games, although it is not zero. And with a reasonable price, at least this model. If you had to put a downside, taking as valid the sharpness, it would be the autonomy of the battery.
You can’t imagine the VR video content there
Audiovisual production in VR in huge. It is not like YouTube, which seems to never end, but there are thousands of videos and professional productions with which to entertain or learn, because in the absence of telebasura, home videos and with a limited amount of sport, both cultural and educational content abound.
Feeling so comfortable watching video with Quest 2, except for that ergonomic failure that forces you to reposition your glasses from time to time because they fall slightly forward and you lose focus, I have explored this world as I have not done before and I have let myself go. Surely much of what I have discovered is old, but I count it with the fascination of those who discover it for the first time.
You are left with your mouth open to see the microspectacles of the Circo del Sol and how it is a number in duet of fabrics with the inverted perspective, as if the acrobats defied reality. Or climb into the stratosphere hanging from an inflatable balloon to, just as you finally contemplate the Earth under your feet in peace, plummet.
Attention, and how about the idea of watching a movie premiere from your own home. This is what one of the most ambitious VR video applications proposes, BigScreen. Among other functions, because it has many, are virtual cinemas in which several movies or series proposed by the users themselves are broadcast live, or even a premiere, such as the interview about Ready Player 2 made especially for the platform. I had the opportunity to see a piece of Avengers: Endgame in normal version and Ghost in the Shell in 3D, and there was also a room where they were broadcasting randon anime non-stop, but it was full and I could not enter. That’s because the maximum of the rooms is short, between 4 and 12 people, but seeing how heavy some get with their virtual avatars, almost better.
Because Big Screen has the ambition to be the Second Life of VR audiovisual broadcasting. With your personalized avatar you can move around different spaces and talk to people through voice chat, although the online toxicity of the XXI century is not absent and I have already tried to hit a few punches for no reason. Mute button and goodbye, no more. In the demo it could also be seen that it serves as a professional workspace, but that is not what we are dealing with at the moment.
And without VR, a great 3D minicine
Those are exceptional situations, contents of those that you look for or find once, but that you will not depend on in the day to day. It’s not your Netflix or Amazon Prime Video series, wow. Ops, but wait, is that the big distributors have also released an adapted version of their apps so you can watch the series with the headset on. When you see normal (read 2D) content with these devices, what you have in front of you is a huge screen that makes you feel like you are in a mini-fridge. And since the audio is spatial, you get deep inside the chapter or the movie. If the application is not well done, you may find the scene very close to the face, and that is wrong, so those who work harder have chosen to create a very subtle virtual space in which to place yourself as a spectator and send the screen a little further back.
You can not only watch video by dedicated apps, whether they are 3D, 2D or mixed content such as Youtube. The compatibility with browsers like Chrome or Firefox allows you to play the image from any online video player. I will not be the one to say that the last two chapters of One Piece have already been seen on a certain page, although in this case the screen is closer and reading the subtitles becomes a little complicated.
By the way, to enter pages that massacre you with pop-up ads, hidden clicks and spam, it is always better to use private browsing. And since I was there and nobody saw me, I also tried what adult content is like on the net for Virtual Reality devices. The result is surprising, because the directors have found here a vehicle to make the viewer participate in the scenes by replacing one of those involved with the camera and entrusting the other actors to address you directly. While conventional cinema takes you and lets you go because of the demands of the script, here, as the motivation is unique, their attention is 100% and therefore the feeling of being involved is even greater.
I don’t think you have to convince anyone that getting a device like Oculus Quest 2 to use as a video player makes sense. For the general public that will give this use mainly is launched to its consumption it is necessary to lower a little more price. But I did want to tell you that the technology is already ready, it is already functional, and with a little more resolution quality and battery life, it will be ideal.