Ever dreamt of watching movies in your own private cinema? Now you can do just that with virtual reality headsets, the future of watching movies and Netflix!
VR immerses you into another world where you can be anywhere from on the moon to being in the cinemas with your friends.
It’s a breathtaking experience and I recommend everyone give this a try.
The 5 Best VR Headset For Movies
|Best Overall||Oculus Go||4.1|
|Runner Up||Oculus Quest||4.1|
|Cheapest Option||Google Cardboard||2.7|
|Highest Resolution||Pimax 5K||4.8|
|Most Comfortable||Oculus Rift S||4.0|
How Good is VR for Watching Movies?
The best aspect of watching movies on VR is the social aspect: being able to go to the cinemas with other people.
There are Discord groups dedicated to movie viewing sessions. This is where you can meet new friends and watch your favorite shows together. There are all kinds of people looking to watch: sports, anime, movies, TV shows, Twitch streams or even adult content together.
The best part is, unlike toxic gaming culture, the VR community is extremely mature and you’ll find some very pleasant people to hang out with.
No home theatre can beat that.
With VR, you can immerse yourself in any environment: a cozy home, a grand cinema or even the moon. You can spawn virtual popcorn, drink virtual drinks and give virtual high-fives with other people.
On top of that, you can watch 3D movies which you can’t watch on a normal TV.
So overall, watching a movie in VR is the most fun experience I’ve ever had because of the social aspect.
Downsides of Watching Movies on VR
Since the screen is right in front of your eyes, you’ll notice more pixels. Try watching the TV with your eyes directly in front of the screen to see what I mean.
The good news is, you’ll be so immersed that you’ll forget about the pixels completely.
After hand-testing each product on this list and bench-marking them, our team of experts will show you what are the best VR headsets for movies.
Best Overall: Oculus Go
The Oculus Go is the go-to headset for watching movies. If you’re reading this right now, there’s a 90% chance the Oculus Go was meant for you.
Every other headset on the market was designed for gaming, but the Go was specifically designed for movies and it suits the purpose perfectly.
Oculus Go Key Features:
- Portable: you don’t need to be tethered to a PC to use the Oculus Go. You can use it from anywhere you want (whilst you’re traveling, on your bed, or outside your house).
- 2.5 hour battery life (allows charging during use). Can be improved with a power bank.
- High resolution: 2560 x 1440 pixels (one of the highest on the market)
- Top-notch visual quality: with 3 subpixels per pixel. Very little screen door effect compared to other headsets.
- 60 Hz refresh rate
- 100° field of view
- Supports light gaming experiences
- 3 dof (degrees of freedom) which means you can rotate your head to look around in 360° but you can’t move side-to-side or backwards/forwards. This doesn’t matter if you’re just watching movies.
- Can’t play intensive games
Why should I buy the Oculus Go?
It’s got top tier resolution and visual quality at the cheapest price possible (compared to other headsets which are $400-$1000). The Go even has it’s own library of games/content that aren’t accessible through other headsets.
Overall, it’s the best VR headset for Netflix, Youtube Videos and downloaded movies (or adult stuff). It can play 4K videos perfectly fine.
The Oculus Go offers the highest ‘benefits to cost ratio’ and is our #1 pick for best VR headset to watch movies.
Runner up: Oculus Quest
If you want a VR headset for movies, the Oculus Quest performs very similarly to the Oculus Go. It has nearly the same picture quality, slightly higher resolution (1,600 x 1,440 per eye), but is more expensive and more uncomfortable to wear as the Quest is about 100 grams heavier.
The comfort issues can be solved by using some Oculus Quest comfort mods.
Why is the Oculus Quest more expensive? Because it was designed for gaming. You’ll be paying an extra couple hundred for the gaming potential. Otherwise, for watching movies, they’re both really similar.
Oculus Quest Key Features:
- Portable: you don’t need to be tethered to a PC, but you have the option to using Oculus Link if you decide to run powerful games. Keep in mind, you do need a VR capable PC for that.
- 3 hour battery life (allows charging during use)
- Can handle every game on the market and has top-notch tracking which only loses out to HTC Vive’s Lighthouse tracking.
- High resolution: 2,880 x 1,600 total (slightly higher than the Go, but barely noticeable).
- 6DOF (degrees of freedom) for moving around in room scale games
- 72 Hz refresh rate – slightly higher than the Go and provides a smoother viewing experience
- 100° field of view (same as the Go)
- Very affordable
- Uncomfortable – usually requires you to spend an extra $50 on a comfort mod
- Requires you to spend extra money on an Oculus Link cable if you want to play PC VR games.
Why Should I get the Quest?
Get the Quest if you want a headset that can watch movies and play games. It can handle much more intensive games than the Oculus Go, whilst being only a couple hundred dollars more expensive.
There aren’t many cons to the Quest – it’s the overall best headset on the market for under $1000.
Cheapest: Google Cardboard ($15)
Want to just give VR a test run? you can do so with the Google Cardboard. Totally worth it for the price!
How good is it for watching movies? It’s actually pretty good for 2D movies. Obviously not as good as the Go or the Quest, but it’s not gimmicky at all. It just takes longer to pause or switch movies because you don’t have a controller like the other headsets.
However, when you start talking about 360° experiences, that’s where it starts to feel gimmicky because the motion isn’t as smooth as other headsets and might cause motion sickness when you turn your head.
Google Cardboard Key Features:
- Dirt cheap
- Works with most smartphones including all recent iPhones and Android models – the best VR headset for watching movies on iPhone
- It gives you a good “theatre feel” in movies, despite the price.
- Good for watching Youtube videos.
- Allows you to look around in 360°, but turning motions aren’t as smooth as other headsets.
- Allows you to look around in 360°, but turning motions aren’t as smooth as other headsets.
- Feels gimmicky
- Can only handle mobile VR experiences |
- Uses your mobile phone to run
- Poor resolution
- Mainly used to watch 360° Youtube videos
Why Should I buy the Google Cardboard?
The Google Cardboard gives you a taste of what immersion feels like at a cheap price. Get it if you want to test our VR. Honestly, it’s worth the $15 just for something cool to show to your friends.
If you’re planning on getting another headset, then you won’t be needing this.
Highest Resolution: Pimax 5K PLUS
For those who have a penny to spend, the Pimax 5K is the best VR viewing experience you’re going to get.
The Pimax 8K is actually the highest resolution VR headset (7680 × 2160), but it has poorer picture clarity than the 5K and will be more blurry.
For that reason, I recommend the 5K over the 8K.
Pimax 5K Key Features:
- Requires a powerful computer to run.
- 5K resolution (2560×1440 per eye | 5120×1440 in total) – the highest resolution VR headset
- 120 Hz refresh rate provides a smoother viewing experience than other headsets
- Lighter than it looks (514 grams/1.1 pounds)
- Slightly more comfortable than the Oculus headsets, around the same as a HTC Vive
- Can run most games just fine, including Oculus exclusive titles. A few games may require setting adjustments in order to run.
- It has a 200° field-of-view (FOV) which makes this the most immersive VR headset on the market. FOV is adjustable of up to 200° although the recommended is 155° which is still much higher than the Quest/Go (100°) and the HTC Vive Pro (110°).
- Requires a lot of technical tweaks to get working on some games
- Requires a very powerful PC
Why Should I Buy the Pimax 5k?
Get the Pimax 5K if you want the highest resolution headset that money can buy. The high FOV is a huge game changer and makes things so much more immersive.
The screen door effect (SDE) is also very minimal compared to other headsets due to the large resolution of the Pimax 5K. If you can afford it, you won’t be able to go back after using this headset.
Most Comfortable: Oculus Rift S
Comfort can be important if you watch a lot of movies and the Oculus Rift S does this best. You want to be able to wear your headset for hours at a time.
Without any mods, the Oculus Rift S is the most comfortable headset out there apart from the Valve Index which I excluded because of it’s price ($1000).
The Rift S is basically the wired version of the Oculus Quest. They’re both the same price and are very similar in all regards.
In terms of weight, the Rift S is slightly lighter than the Quest (1.2 pounds vs 1.25 pounds) and the weight is distributed better, making it feel lighter.
Oculus Rift S Key Features:
- Good for gaming and watching movies – same tracking quality as the Quest
- Image quality very similar to the Quest and Go
- 2560×1440 resolution (same as the Oculus Go)
- 100° field of view (same as the Quest and Go)
- 80 Hz refresh rate – slightly higher than the Quest, but the difference isn’t noticeable
- Requires a computer for VR
- You might notice god rays in games or loading screens
Why Should I Get the Rift S?
Get this as an alternative to the Oculus Quest if you like the features the Quest has to offer, but want greater comfort at the sacrifice of being wired to your PC. Other than that, they’re pretty much the same headset.
VR Headset Resolution Comparison
|Headset||Resolution (Pixels)||Pixel Density (PPI)||FOV (º)||Refresh Rate (Hz)|
|Oculus Go||2560 x 1440||538||100||60|
|Oculus Quest||2,880 x 1,600||100||72|
|Valve Index||2,880 x 1,600||598||130||144|
|Oculus Rift S||2560×1440||600||100||80|
|Google Cardboard||Depends on phone||80||60|
|Pimax 8K||7680 x 2160||400||200||90|
|Samsung Odyssey+||2880 x 1600||404||110||90|
|Playstation VR||1920 x 1080||110||120|
|HTC Vive Pro||2880 x 1600||404||110||90|
|Samsung Gear VR||Depends on phone||96||60|
|Destek V5||Depends on phone||110||60/90|
|HP Reverb G2||2160 x 2160||1057||130||90|
Important Features to Consider
Here are the most important features when looking for the best VR headset for movies:
- Field of view (FOV): is the angle of how much you can see in front of you. Normal human vision reaches 220° field of view and most headsets are around 100-110°. The higher the FOV, the most immersive your experience will be.
- Comfort: most headsets can be made comfortable by using comfort mods, but are you willing to pay the extra price for them?
- Resolution: higher resolution and pixel densities will result in better image clarity and less screen door effects.
- Price: How much do you want to spend?
- Tethered or Wireless? If tethered, can your PC support the headset?
- Gaming: How much gaming do you plan on doing?
- Refresh rate – determines how smooth motion will be. A good feature to have for watching movies, but it’s more important for gaming.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How much memory/space do I need?
The size of most movies are 1-4 GB. 32 GB or 64 GB should be enough for 99% of people just looking to watch movies. If you’re looking to play games, get 64 GB, unless you like to hoard a lot of games. In that case go for 128 GB.
How do I watch movies together with friends on VR?
You’ll need to download an app called Bigscreen VR (or Bigscreen Beta). If your friends also have a VR headset, they’ll be able to join you in watching movies in whatever environment you want. Best of all: it’s completely free.
How good are the ‘adult’ stuff on VR?
Let’s just say… You can’t go back.
Do I need the Oculus Link Cable for the Quest?
Not unless you plan on playing PC-VR games. The cable allows you to use your computer’s GPU to run intensive games it can’t handle on it’s own.
Is it better to buy a VR headset over a home theatre?
A home theatre will always trump VR headsets in terms of picture quality. You’ll also feel more comfortable not wearing a VR headset, but on the flip side: you’ll be spending thousands of dollars on a home theatre system as opposed to hundreds of dollars on VR.
VR allows you to watch movies in 3D and 360° which makes it worth having alone. The immersion you get from 360 videos is just spectacular and you won’t be able to go back.
So my answer: if you can afford a home theatre system, then get both. If you can’t afford it or don’t have the space, then get VR.
What 3D movies are available to watch?
There are two types of 3D movies: ones that were made in 3D and ones that were converted from 2D to 3D.
The ones that are converted don’t look as good, but you can find a list of them here:
My personal favorites are: Alita: Battle Angel and Blade Runner 2049
What are some cool videos to watch on VR?
Try Skydiving in 360 degrees:
Youtube has plenty of good 3D, 360° and 180° videos – ranging from rollercoasters to hotel tours to VR dates (yes that’s a thing now).
Can I watch movies lying down?
Absolutely. The great thing about VR is you can adjust the screen wherever you want, so you can have it front of your eyes whilst you’re lying down.
Will I get motion sickness from VR?
No you won’t. Movies don’t cause motion sickness.
You only get motion sickness when there’s artificial movement going on e.g. when you’re playing games and using the controller to move. The reason for that is your eyes detect motion, but your body is stationary and this sensory conflict confuses the brain and causes motion sickness.
But for 2D and 3D movies – you won’t get motion sickness.
What is the best VR headset for Netflix?
The Oculus Go by far, because it offers the most benefit for cost. Samsung Gear VR is a good budget headset for those who already have a Samsung phone.
Can I use headphones or earphones with these VR headsets?
Yes you can. All these headsets come with integrated audio speakers, but if you got earphones, they’ll fit into these headsets. Most headphones on the other hand won’t fit, you’ll have to buy custom sized ones.
Other VR Headsets to Consider
Whilst these VR headsets didn’t make our top 5, they’re something worth considering especially if you plan on doing other things with VR.
Samsung Odyssey is a windows mixed reality headset that’s perfect for those on a budget and looking for a mixture of watching movies and playing games.
This headset plugs into your computer and allows you to watch movies from it (or play games). It can handle all PCVR gaming experiences and requires a VR ready PC.
It’s in-between the Oculus Go and the Oculus Rift: great for watching movies because of it’s high resolution and higher FOV, but the tracking isn’t as good as the Rift for playing games.
Samsung Odyssey+ Key Features:
- 110° FOV
- 2880 x 1600 resolution (same as the Quest)
- On-par with the Go and Quest for image quality
- 90 Hz refresh rate for smooth viewing experience
- Slightly poorer tracking than the Quest and Rift S
The PSVR allows you to watch movies from a Playstation 4 console. It launched at $549, but now it’s incredibly cheap! A decent option for PS4 owners looking for a mix of gaming and movies.
Playstation VR Key Features:
- Great for console gaming, but can’t run PC VR games
- Allows you to watch movies straight from your PS4
- You can stream 3D movies from the Playstation Network
- 1920 x 1080 resolution
- 110° FOV
- 120 frames per second
- Plenty of PS4 exclusive titles which other headsets can’t play
- 2880 x 1600 pixels (same as the Quest)
- 90 Hz refresh rate for a smooth viewing experience
- 110º FOV
- Near 100% perfect Lighthouse tracking for competitive games (best tracking on the market)
- Renders graphics better than the Quest/Rift S
- Wired and requires a powerful computer to run
Already have a Samsung mobile phone? Then an alternative to the Go is the Samsung Gear VR which is the cheapest option for watching movies (apart from the gimmicky Google Cardboard).
It actually performs really well as a movie headset, but the downside is it drains your phone’s battery really fast and can overheat it.
Supported phones: Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy S6 Edge+, Samsung Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge, Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+, Samsung Galaxy Note Fan Edition, Samsung Galaxy Note 8, Samsung Galaxy A8/A8+ (2018) and Samsung Galaxy S9/Galaxy S9+
Samsung Gear VR Key Features:
- FOV: 96º – a bit lower than other headsets
- Resolution will depend on your phone – which is usually similar to the other headsets
- A cheap option for movies and light gaming by using your phone’s GPU
Want a slightly more expensive alternative to the Google cardboard? You got yourself a Destek V5 – one of the best low budget VR headsets for watching movies.
These VR goggles allow you to experience a phone VR experience using almost any phone out there whether it be iPhone or Android phones like Huawei, Pixel or Galaxy.
Destek V5 Key Features:
- 110° FOV
- Resolution depends on phone
- Impossible to be disappointed considering its price
- Can play mobile games and 360 Youtube Videos
- Can watch anything that’s on your phone