Consuming Media With The Samsung Gear VR

April 12, 2015 - Written By Justin Diaz

Have you ever sat down to watch videos from your couch and think how much better it might have been if you didn’t miss out on that opportunity to see a film in theaters? It can happen to all of us, as sometimes we make the decision to pass on a chance outing with friends or family to go see the latest blockbuster flick. This is where the Samsung Gear VR is a wonderful little device, giving you the opportunity to see films from the comfort of your couch but make you feel like you’re in a theater like setting.

Thanks to the immersive nature of the three dimensional technology on the headset, and the wonderful Oculus Cinema app, you can sit down to watch a video, film or other media content anywhere you wish, (as long as the Galaxy Note 4 mounted to the headset has a data connection) and proceed to pick one of four different theater options for a truly unique viewing experience. It’s something you have to experience to believe, and although it isn’t quite the same as being in the actual theater, it’s as close as one can get right now if you’re wanting a similar experience while possibly sitting at home or out in the park, although I wouldn’t recommend wearing this in public for a number of different reasons.

Watching the media is just as easy as using any of the other content on Gear VR. Just place the headset on, wait for the interface to load, then use the head tracking technology to move the cursor onto the app you want to select. To select something simply tap the touchpad that sits on the right, then adjust the volume of your content with the volume rocker that sits just in front of the touchpad. While you can enjoy content and other media on the Gear VR using the speakers of the Note 4, you’ll have a much better experience if you wear a set of headphones to completely immerse yourself in what you’re watching. You can also use the Gear VR to look through photos, which is kind of a cool experience on this technology, but I personally found it more enjoyable when browsing through photos using more traditional means, like on my laptop, or using my tablet or smartphone.

During my time with the Gear VR, one thing has become increasingly clear to me. Watching videos or films on this is awesome. It’s almost surreal and it really takes home video to a level that is unmatched. Home theater systems are great, and they can certainly make you feel like you’re actually in the theater if you have all the needed equipment. There’s just something to be said though for watching videos while completely immersed with your audio and visual senses that feels special. I have found to be a great joy and also quite comfortable. My only complaint would be the battery life.

As you may well know, the Gear VR draws power from the battery on the Galaxy Note 4, and if you use a pair of Bluetooth headphones which are more comfortable then plugging a pair into the Note 4 itself, then you’re going to drain your battery faster. More so than battery is the heating. When using the Gear VR for extended periods of time, the unti can reach a point where it begins to heat up a little during use, and while this is somewhat normal for it, just like when I was playing games with the Gear VR last week, videos playing for a longer period of time can cause the until to heat up, at which point the Gear VR will recommend that you let things cool down or things could become slow and laggy. This makes it quite difficult to enjoy a full-length feature film as you might be met with skips and such, which isn’t the end of the world but it’s certainly less enjoyable than if their were no interruptions. Having said this, entertainment and other media on the Gear VR is still something special and for those that are intrigued by the idea of technology like this, it’s a worthwhile experience, and it’ll be interesting to see where Samsung takes it and how they improve on what’s already out there and available.