The Best Ways To Watch Movies in VR (with friends) for Free!
Thanks to the power of VR, you can experience the feeling of watching movies in a theater (or a variety of locations really!) with friends anywhere across the world. I've compiled a list of VR movie apps that also feature multiplayer, and best of all these are all free!
There are several different ways to enjoy watching movies in Big Screen - share your desktop and stream services like Netflix, Hulu, Youtube etc to Big Screen, play video files directly from your computer, device or cloud, or you can watch or rent popular movies directly from inside Big Screen itself!
To watch movies together, you can either create or join a public room to make new friends or create a private instance for friends and family.
One thing that makes Big Screen stand out from the others (besides its fun environments and social options - I'll get to those later) is the fact that you can actually watch 3D movies, no glasses needed! Now to be clear, don't assume that just any movie can be watched in 3D. You'd have to rent or purchase a movie that actually has 3D support. Watching a movie like this is absolutely fantastic and makes you question how this kind of technology is even possible in VR.
Bigscreen has some of these 3D titles specifically to rent in their catalog, you can tell them apart by the circle on the top left that says '3D'. You can also watch some 3D trailers in app to get a feel for what these will look like.
Speaking of environments, Big Screen offers a wide selection (many pages!) of locations to watch movies in, that vary in size and style. Some of these include a traditional movie cinema, cozy living room/home setups, drive in movie style, to sci-fi themed stadiums. All environments are very high quality, you'll have a hard time choosing!
Last but certainly not least are the social features. You can create your own avatar and customize it to your heart's content. Big Screen uses spacial voice chat meaning if someone is sitting on your left, you will hear them out your left ear, and if they are further from you, they will sound further. Don't worry though, during the movie you can mute or block people in case they are being too loud or have background noise that might be ruining your experience.
You can find more information about Bigscreen here, it's available on Quest, Steam, Oculus PCVR, and Desktop (via remote desktop). Big Screen also supports cross platform so you Quest users can watch movies with Steam users, and vice versa!
If you're into watching live events with your friends, Horizon Worlds might be the app the check out. Formerly Venues, Meta has been bringing in live feeds from sporting events, concerts from today’s hit artists into their platform. You can also find a few hand picked short films here and there on certain days.
Venues has a dedicated space within Horizon Worlds in which you can see what events are going on "in person" and simply walk into any theater that looks interesting.
There are a couple of different ways you can access these events. The first is from your Meta Quest menu, simply open up your library and launch the 'events' app. Browse from the listing and simply select one that looks interesting - if you have Horizon Worlds already installed you will get dropped directly into the experience.
You can also access them from directly within Horizon Worlds itself, by clicking the left menu button to bring up the Horizon Worlds dashboard. Then select the home button, click the green 'attend' button, then select an event from there.
If you want to find a current list of scheduled events ahead of time, you can view them here.
You can find out more about Horizon Worlds here, and it's currently only available on Meta Quest platforms.
Watch Party - Meta Horizon Home
Not to be confused with watching movies from inside Venues in Horizon Worlds, Meta's 'watch party' feature allows users to invite their friends over to their 'Meta Horizon Home' environment to watch Oculus TV shows together.
Anything you watch together must be through the Oculus TV app, in here you'll find different types of 2D, 3D, 180° or 360° videos to choose from. You'll mostly find nature, science and space documentaries, a few concerts and animated short films.
Some of my personal recommendations include any of the Immersive videos (360° footage from dirt bikes etc), the Scream Park series by BlackBoxTV, Adam Savage's Tested VR, and David Attenborough in First Life.
Some films rotate monthly, so keep an eye out!
To get started, you'll need to create a party, using your friends list, and simply invite them over to your Meta Horizon home. Then simply navigate over to the Oculus TV app, and watch together!
Though unconventional in that it's not specifically made for movie watching, never underestimate the power of user generated content and modding.
There are a few worlds that include giant embedded screens that work like a web browser. Unfortunately you are limited to pasting direct links to videos like you can grab from Youtube, but some of the more popular VR Chat movie watching worlds have done most of the heavy lifting for you and offer clickable libraries with a lot of popular options to choose from.
Here are some of my favorite movie watching worlds to try!
(Note, you must be signed into your VR Chat account to be able to view and add these).
Movie & Chill
Movie & Chill is a VR chat world centered around movies. They have a really extensive library of films to choose from, broken down by genre, and time period. There are several different areas in which you can watch from, all controlled from the same player so no matter where you decide to move, you won't miss a thing.
Add Movie and Chill to your favorites here!
Yet Another Movie Theater: Renewed
Despite the name, this world isn't just any other movie theater. A lot of TLC was put into this world to give it a really true to life movie theater feel. Everything from the detail of the interior of the theater, the high quality screen and surround sound. It also features a "comfy room" or more bedroom styled area to watch movies from if you prefer a more from home feel.
Add Yet Another Movie Theater to your favorites here!
Sovren’s Chill Home
Instead of watching movies from a theater, another unique way of watching movies with friends is in a home enviornment that features TVs in the living room, study, kitchen, bedrooms and more. This world is beautifully designed and decorated, features some other things to do such as a pool table and other mini games.
Add Sovren's Chill Home to your favorites here!
Campsite Movie Night
If you've ever wanted to enjoy the great outdoors and watch a movie on a giant projection screen, this VR Chat world simulates exactly that, minus all the pests and critters!
Add Campsite Movie Night to your favorites here!
You can find more information about VR Chat here, its available on Steam, Quest and Oculus PCVR with cross play available. All of the worlds featured above except for Yet Another Movie Theater are playable on the Quest and PCVR versions of VR Chat.
Available on these platforms: Steam, Quest, Oculus PCVR
And that's it! Watching movies in VR is an experience I recommend that everyone should try at least once. Grab your headset, grab a couple of friends, cook up some popcorn and enjoy the show!