VR (or Virtual Reality) is by far the most immersive way to play, watch and stream in the 21st century. Built at first primarily for gaming, VR has now made its way into the movie scene with fantastic results.
VR is a whole new perspective on your favorite films, you can run away from dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, be shot into space on Apollo 13, or fight alongside your favorite superheroes in The Avengers.
Watching movies in VR has become quite popular recently with many websites and discord servers being made into ‘virtual cinemas’, so you can watch your favorite movies with a community that loves them, all from the comfort of your own home.
However, because VR is built primarily for gaming, it’s often hard to find headsets that give a great movie-watching experience. So we’ve compiled a list of the best VR headsets and rated them solely on their ability to give you an immersive, fun movie experience.
So grab your popcorn, sit back, and relax while we do the research, and find your perfect VR headset.
OUR TOP PICK
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Although many VR headsets are designed for gaming but can play movies on them, the Oculus Go is an altogether different story. The Oculus Go was specially designed for watching movies.
The Oculus Go comes with a decent resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels with a great visual quality of 3 subpixels per pixel. This means that when you’re watching a movie in your headset, it won’t feel like the screen is right in front of you like it would if you were sitting a few inches from a TV for example.
The Oculus Go is a standalone VR headset, which means that you don’t need to be connected to a PC to use the Oculus Go. This allows you to take it wherever you would like and still use it to its full extent.
The Oculus Go does only have a two-and-a-half-hour battery life but allows you to charge it during use. There are also many battery packs available that enable you to use the Oculus Go for longer periods of time.
- Built-In HD Audio – Audio Drivers are built right into the headset, allowing you to be immersed in surround sound without needing additional headphones.
- Light and Portable – The Oculus Go only weighs just over 2 and a half pounds, and is disconnected from any PC allowing you to transport it anywhere with ease.
- Easy to Use – Because you don’t need to plug it into any PC you can use it freely and easily. All you need to use the Oculus Go is a Facebook login.
- Visual Quality – The Oculus Go has great visual quality with 3 subpixels per pixel. Meaning you’re fully immersed in the movie that you’re watching.
- Not great for gaming – If you do want to game as well as watch movies on your VR headset, the Oculus Go can only support light gaming experiences and doesn’t work well with intensive games.
- 3 Degrees of Freedom – The Oculus Go only has 3 degrees of freedom. Meaning you can rotate your head, but cannot move backward, forwards, or sideways. This however isn’t a problem if you are just using it for movies.
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For graphic quality, the HTC VIVE Pro is hard to beat. This VR headset houses a resolution of 2880 x 1600 pixels and 615 PPI (pixels per inch) allowing full immersion into any movie that you are watching without it feeling like you’re too close to a screen.
The audio on the HTC VIVE Pro is also designed for immersion, the VR headset comes with a set of headphones that are driven by a powerful amplifier to create a Hi Resolution Soundstage that blocks out a majority of background noise.
The HTC VIVE Pro is also reviewed to be quite comfortable too, with its optimized ergonomics distributing the headset evenly on the head allowing for an optimal center of gravity. This allows you to keep the VR headset on for long periods of time without feeling it too much on your head.
Although fantastic for watching movies, the HTC VIVE Pro can also run a plethora of VR games and comes with VIVEPORT INFINITY, which allows you to try 700+ games for free for 2 months.
- Enhanced Graphics – With a resolution of 2880 x 1660 and a PPI of 615, the HTC VIVE Pro will not disappoint in immersive movie watching when it comes to visual quality.
- Comfortable – Its optimized ergonomics allow you to wear the VR headset for longer as it transfers the center of gravity to its optimal position.
- Audio Quality – The HTC VIVE Pro creates a hi-resolution soundscape through its powerful amplifier and its integrated 3D spatial sound delivers an even more immersive sound experience.
- Can Be Used for Gaming – If you want to try your hand at VR gaming then the HTC VIVE Pro comes with many options for free in the first two months of purchase.
- Expensive – The HTC VIVE Pro is one of the more expensive VR headsets on the market because of its gaming capabilities. So if gaming isn’t a route you ever want to go down it would be best to go for something a little cheaper.
- Portability – The HTC VIVE Pro requires a constant connection to a PC meaning that you can’t easily take it anywhere else but your home.
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Although the Oculus Rift S is designed for gaming, it is a great option for anyone who would primarily be watching movies as well. This headset has a decent resolution of 2560 x 1440 which gives a fantastic visual experience that can immerse you fully.
It features improved optics that give the lenses a sharper display and stop the feeling of being too close to the screen.
The Oculus Rift S also focuses a lot on the comfort of the user, which can be very helpful when sitting through long movie marathons.
The Oculus Rift S has a cushioned facemask and headband, along with an ergonomic design that allows the headset to stick tight to the user’s head and not feel loose during use.
The headset is also very lightweight which adds to the comfort, weighing just over 2 pounds.
- Visual Quality – The Oculus Rift S has a decent resolution of 2560 x 1440 which is more than enough to give you an immersive viewing experience.
- Comfortable – This headset is one of the most comfortable on the market, with padding all around and its ergonomic design stopping any looseness on the head.
- Lightweight – Weighing just over 2 pounds, you’ll barely feel the Oculus Rift S on your head, adding to the comfort.
- Can Be Used for Gaming – If you want to try your hand at VR gaming then the Oculus Rift S is a great option for high-quality gaming experiences.
- Wired – The Oculus Rift S requires a computer to run and must be wired to that computer at all times, meaning it has no portability, but it doesn’t run out of battery.
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If you like your movies as high definition as possible, then the Oculus Quest 2 has one of the highest resolutions on the market at a staggering 3664 x 1920 and 3 subpixels per pixel.
Meaning that the Oculus Quest 2 doesn’t feel like you’re just sitting in front of a screen. The audio is crisp and clear and has surround sound to fully immerse your ears in the movie that you are watching.
The Oculus Quest 2 is also wireless, which allows you to use your VR headset wherever you want without having any immersion-breaking cables dangling around you.
Unlike other VR headsets, the Oculus Quest has a foolproof and easy setup, so you don’t have to be a tech-guru to work the headset.
Despite the features and quality of the headset, the Oculus Quest 2 is relatively cheap compared to most other headsets making it a fantastic option for movie lovers who don’t want to splash too much out on a VR headset.
- Visual Quality – The Oculus Quest 2 comes with one of the highest resolutions on the VR headset market with 3664 x 1920 and 3 subpixels per pixel. And can easily stream 4K movies.
- Wireless – This headset comes with 0 wires attached allowing you to use it wherever you want with no wires getting in the way of your immersion.
- Ease of use – Reviews have said that the Oculus Quest 2 is very easy to set up and use, although you do need a Facebook account.
- Cheap – Despite all of its features, the Oculus Quest 2 comes in relatively cheap for a VR headset.
- Comfort – Some reviews have stated that this headset can become uncomfortable when used over a long period of time.
If you’re planning on sitting down with a VR headset and watching the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy director’s cut, then you’re going to want a headset that focuses on comfort.
The HP Reverb G2 does exactly that. The HP Reverb G2 comes with a built-in face mask that has an increased cushion size that allows the weight to be evenly distributed around your face.
Also because of its flex material and magnetic detachability, you can custom-fit your face mask to whatever shape or size.
As well as the face mask, the HP Reverb G2 also allows you to adjust the IPD (Interpupillary distance) which lets you move the screen as close or as far away from your eyes as you want. Like choosing which aisle to sit in when going to the cinema.
As well as its comfort, the HP Reverb G2 has exceptional visual quality with a 2160 x 2160 resolution, boasting 9.3 million pixels! The audio of the HP Reverb is built for comfort but this doesn’t hamper the audio quality.
The headphones sit off the ear by 10mm allowing you to hear the industry-leading Valve speakers without having to cover your ears. It’s no mystery why the HP Reverb G2 is a favorite for watching movies.
- Comfort – The HP Reverb G2 flaunts its focus on comfort, with its cushioned face mask and adjustable IPD, it is designed to fit whatever you find comfortable when watching movies.
- Resolution – At over 9 million pixels, and 2160 x 2160 resolution, this headset has one of the best visual qualities you can ask for with a VR headset. This allows you to be fully immersed in whatever movie you are watching.
- Audio Quality – Also the Valve speakers are built for comfort, situated 10mm off of the ear, this doesn’t stop the surround sound audio from being as immersive as possible.
- Field of View – Some reviews have said that the HP Reverb G2 has quite a narrow field of view, which can be quite annoying if you decide to play a few games on your VR headset.
If none of the VR headsets on this list are quite for you, then we’ve set up this brief buyers guide that will tell you all you need to look out for when buying your own unique VR headset for watching movies.
What is VR?
Before we get into what to look out for, it is important to understand what exactly VR is. In its simplest definition, it is a Virtual Reality.
VR takes a computer-generated environment and builds it around you, creating objects, scenes, and visual stimuli that appear to be right in front of you, as real as the fingers on your hands.
Due to its computer-generated potential, VR can immerse you in all kinds of different worlds, this is normally done through a sensory headset that has gyroscopic sensors, magnetometers, and accelerators that track your interaction with the environment and change the world according to these interactions.
In movie terms, these interactions could consist of looking at your surroundings, sitting in a cinema and talking to other VR users, and even using a virtual remote to adjust the movie settings. Now, let’s get to the list.
Resolution is probably the most important factor when buying a VR headset as a low resolution can not only take you out of the immersion but will be a strain on the eyes. 2560 x 1440 is a decent resolution that’s sure not to take you out of the movie, any higher than that is a bonus but you don’t want to go too much lower.
You’re going to be using this VR headset for long periods of time if you’re watching movies on them, that’s why it’s important to look at how comfortable the headset is.
Make sure to look at features such as ergonomic bands and cushioned face masks to back up their comfort claims.
The price of the VR headset is depending on what you want to use the headset for. If it’s just for watching movies and you have no intention of using it for games then it’s best to look at cheaper options, as the expensive ones are normally optimized for high-quality gaming experiences.
Wired or Wireless
Wired or wireless is a question that comes down to where you want to watch your movies, if you’re watching your movies in the same room as your PC anyway, then wired isn’t going to matter. However, if you want to watch movies elsewhere then it’s best to find a VR headset that’s wireless.
Although the primary use of your VR headset is going to be watching movies, it’s important to ask yourself if you’re going to be using it for any gaming at all. If so you may want to look at what games, if any, your headset can handle. This can be done by looking at graphics cards and storage.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will I Get Motion Sickness From Watching Movies In VR?
If you’re only watching movies in your VR headset, then no. Motion sickness is caused in VR headsets mostly in games, using a controller to move the world around you while you are staying still confuses your brain and causes motion sickness. With movies, even 3D ones, you’ll be fine.
How Much Memory Will I Need For My VR Headset?
The amount of memory needed for most movies is around 1-4 GB. Therefore 32GB or 64GB should be enough for you and your films. 64GB should also be enough to house a few games too, but if you want a lot of games downloaded then I suggest you splash out and go for 128GB.
Can I Wear Glasses In VR?
Most VR headsets come fully equipped for glasses users and give enough space inside their masks for glasses to safely fit. However, before buying a headset we’d recommend measuring the length of your frames and comparing them to the said headset.
If you still find glasses in VR headsets too uncomfortable, however, there are prescription lens inserts that are available to purchase.