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Netflix to Build App for Microsoft’s HoloLens Augmented Reality Headset

Variety logo Variety 4/28/2017 Janko Roettgers

Netflix has plans to build an app for Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality headset: Plans to support HoloLens were mentioned in one of the company’s recent job listings for a Windows Senior Software Engineer, which promised “a great experience to all Windows app users in a variety of devices,” including “HoloLens and VR devices.”

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A Netflix spokesperson confirmed that the company has plans for “support in a basic way down the road” — language that’s consistent with Netflix’s cautious take on augmented and virtual reality so far. The company has built a few basic apps for VR headsets like Google Daydream and Samsung Gear VR that allow viewers to watch the company’s existing catalog in a kind of virtual theater setting.

Netflix’s spokesperson likened the company’s plans for HoloLens to these efforts, and emphasized that it was in a “wait and see mode” with regards to AR and VR. Netflix has started to produce some 360-degree promotional footage, but hasn’t full-on embraced VR as its own medium, and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has repeatedly voiced skepticism about VR being anything other than a medium for video games.

That’s notably different from competitors like Hulu and Amazon. Hulu has been investing in its own VR content, including a weekly news show and a comedy series produced by AOL’s RYOT Studios. Amazon has kept quiet about its own efforts, but also staffed up to produce and distribute VR originals. One of these recent hires included former Tribeca director Genna Terranova, who is now heading VR content for Amazon Studios.

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