How to Watch VR

There are 4 basic options for viewing virtual reality (VR) content today: An immersive VR headset; a simple VR viewer that uses a mobile phone; a mobile phone on its own; or a web video player. Scroll down to see how they compare…

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VR Headset

The best way to experience virtual reality is with an immersive VR headset that offers “look all around you” 3D vision and “hear things behind you” stereo sound. The best VR headset for you depends on your tech set-up and your budget. They cost between $99 and $600, and they all rely on another device to play VR experiences: Some use your mobile phone, while others rely on your computer or game console. Within’s VR films can be experienced with any of them.

How to do it: The first headset to market (now in its second iteration), the Samsung Gear VR headset, works along with certain Samsung mobile phones. To get started, insert your phone into the headset, then download the Within GearVR app from the Oculus or Samsung Milk VR stores. Once in the Within app, you can download videos and experience them in VR.

Other headsets coming out in 2016 – including the Sony Playstation VR headset, the Oculus Rift headset and the HTC Vive headset – will use your computer or game console as an engine. For these, you’ll download the specific Within VR app for each platform.

Cardboard VR Viewer

The next best thing to a VR headset is a simple Cardboard VR viewer. It’s the least expensive option for a somewhat immersive experience, with “look all around you” 3D vision and “hear things behind you” stereo sound. These headsets (which cost between $15 and $130 in the U.S.) are a quick and easy way to convert your mobile phone into a VR viewer.

How to do it: Cardboard viewers work along with your mobile phone, and are available in a range of styles from a range of companies, including ViewMaster (Mattel), DodoCase, Zeiss and Knox Labs (See a full list of Cardboard viewers here). For these viewers, you should download the Within app for iOS or Android, download individual videos, and then insert the phone into the viewer to experience them. Be sure to use your headphones / ear buds for stereo sound.

Mobile Phone

Even if you don’t have a VR headset, you can still get a “see and hear things all around you” VR experience using your mobile phone on its own.

How to do it: Download the Within app for Android or iPhone. Then download individual videos. After hitting play, move the mobile phone around to get a “magic window” revealing the scene. Be sure to wear your headphones for realistic, stereo sound!

Web Player

To get a glimpse of a VR video, you can watch it on the web, in what’s known as “360” video format. To be clear: This is not true VR. (It’s not immersive; it’s not 3D). But our web player makes it easy to view 360° content through your web browser. You can also embed our video player on your own website.

How to do it: After hitting “Play,” click and drag on the video to navigate left, right, up and down.