As YouTube Hits 8K on Quest, Netflix Languishes

As VR headsets continue to improve their resolution, apps and games need to follow suit to keep up. However, companies have differing attitudes to this, made blindly obvious if we compare to content giants; YouTube and Netflix. While YouTube hits 8K on Meta Quest this week, the Netflix app has been left to languish.

How to Watch Netflix in VR 2

YouTube 8K Update

This week Google updated its YouTube app on Meta Quest 3 enabling 8K streaming. That theoretically means you could watch normal YouTube content, as well as 180-degree and 360-degree video in glorious 8K resolution. However, as Quest 3 doesn’t support 8K – its max is 4K resolution – it seems as though Google is future-proofing the app.

While the update means you can watch YouTube content is the best quality Quest 3 can provide, it leaves the door open for future headsets with better displays. This is very reassuring considering Google’s patchy history in the immersive space. It was once a pioneer with devices like Cardboard and Daydream. More recent efforts have been far more curtailed.

Netflix 480p Misery

In comparison to Netflix, however, Google and YouTube are leaps and bounds in front. It was an exciting day in 2019 when Netflix officially released its streaming app for Quest. The idea of sitting in a cosy virtual living room watching your favourite shows was a boon for VR at the time. Even if the resolution was 480p.

Unfortunately, time has shown that this was a muted effort on Netflix’s part. Keen to jump onto the VR bandwagon the app hasn’t received any meaningful update in five years. So as the Quest 2 and Quest 3’s displays have improved, the Netflix app hasn’t. It is still frustratingly sat at a streaming resolution of 480p. Even an upgrade to 720p would delight owners, let alone 1080p.

Alas, that seems never to materialise, as Netflix focuses on upping rather than VR support.

Why the disparity?

This clear lack of disparity between the two could merely be that one is a tech company whilst the other is a content streamer. Google has been involved in XR for a long time, and is still innovating – Google IO this year is rumoured to feature AR announcements. As YouTube is the most watched platform online, Google also understands the need for parity across all supported platforms, even VR.

Netflix, on the other hand, just doesn’t seem to care. Known for being ruthless, cancelling popular TV shows after one season if the viewer numbers aren’t right, that’s probably what happened to the VR app. Not enough people were using it so no more effort was made.

Which is a shame. Because now in the Quest 2/Quest 3 era with many more headsets on the market, I’m sure more of us would use Netflix in VR if the resolution quality was there.

What do you think? As YouTube hits 8K on Quest, would you use Netflix in VR if it supported 4K? Let us know in the comments below.