Sling TV is betting that watching live TV on a virtual reality (VR) headset is better with friends, so it’s launching a new co-watching feature for its Oculus Go app.
The feature is currently rolling out in beta for Sling TV subscribers on the standalone VR goggles. Sling TV customers can turn on their Oculus Go headset and choose to form a party and invite other Oculus users. The party host can open the Oculus TV app and then enter the Sling TV app to stream live TV and on-demand titles while sitting on a virtual couch next to the other party guests’ avatars.
In addition to watching TV together, co-watching allows users to speak to each other. Up to four users can watch the same show or movie on Sling, but all users must have the required Sling TV base service and add-on Extras. Co-watching on Sling TV will not be available for movie rentals, DVR recordings or “Continue Watching” content.
Users must have the latest versions of the Oculus TV app and Sling TV app.
Sling TV and Oculus Go are not the first companies to offer co-viewing within virtual reality. In early 2018, Plex added the option to stream media in a virtual reality environment through the introduction of its new Plex VR app, which allows for co-watching in real-time with up to four Plex users.
Co-watching has become a more common feature on non-VR platforms as well. Facebook’s Portal devices come with a co-watching feature that will allow users to together remotely watch content from Facebook Watch. And, virtual MVPD Philo is internally testing a co-viewing feature for live and on-demand content.
But, Sling TV, which was the first vMVPD to launch on Oculus Go, is now the first vMVPD to offer a co-watching feature on this device. Other video services including Hulu, Netflix and YouTube has also launched streaming apps for the Oculus Go.