Science fiction has long predicted the rise of virtual reality. It’s finally the future, and those predictions have come true in some small ways. While we’re not yet living in the Matrix, virtual and augmented reality are working their way into the consumer electronics market. VR isn’t all about gaming, though; the privacy and convenience of the portable headsets are already changing the way many people watch video. Now, Sling TV has announced a radical new feature specifically for the Oculus Go headset which allows users to co-watch Sling no matter how far apart.
Sling TV announced the new feature today, writing that “iIn addition to watching TV together, co-watching allows users to speak to each other – so they can discuss the big game or binge popular shows together, even if they live in completely different areas.” Sling TV is now the first vMVPD, or “Virtual Multichannel Video Programming Distributor” to offer this type of virtual co-watching feature on the Oculus headset.
Oculus Go users who are also Sling TV customers can join together with up to three other users to co-watch live TV or on-demand titles. Sling TV even creates avatars sitting on a virtual couch for all of the users who are co-watching together. Users must have the latest version of both the Oculus TV app and the Sling TV app to use the new co-watching feature.
Is this the end of actual, physical movie time together on a real couch? Not yet, anyway. It’ll be some time before VR headsets become the norm. Still, the fact that a major streaming provider like Sling TV is already releasing revolutionary new ways of watching content could signal that more VR headset compatibility could be in the works for other video providers. As the act of watching television and movies at home continues to change in radical ways, we have to ask ourselves: what part of the classic home video experience should we make sure we preserve?