NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Netflix (NFLX - Get Report) last month announced that it has made it possible for you to binge-watch your favorite TV shows in virtual reality. Although the stock jumped immediately following the news, it remains to be seen how much of a positive impact the company's efforts in virtual reality will have on earnings, user numbers and Netflix's share price in the long run.
The company certainly isn't missing an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of an exciting new technology. Netflix is the first streaming media service to enable customers to view its programs with the aid of a virtual reality headset from Facebook's (FB - Get Report) Oculus unit. As of now, the shows are available in two dimensions. However, there is chatter that a 3D option will be released later. Although Oculus' Rift headset won't ship until early next year, the company's technology is behind Samsung's (SSNLF) Gear VR headset, which is already available but requires a compatible Samsung smartphone such as a Galaxy S6 Edge+ or a Galaxy Note 5 for use.
The service will be offered as part of a new app. It's dubbed a "virtual living room," and will allow users access to the VR environment.Although Netflix may be the pioneer in this effort, it won't be alone for long. Plans are in place for Vimeo, Amazon's ( AMZN - Get Report) Twitch, Hulu and TiVo ( TIVO - Get Report) to also work with virtual reality equipment, according to a statement by Oculus at its developer conference.
Also, it's not just streaming services that will work with the technology. Lions Gate Entertainment (LGF) and 21st Century Fox (FOXA) will offer movies like X-Men and The Hunger Games to people who prefer the use of virtual reality hardware. It's expected that those movies will be released in 3D as well.
Facebook, which owns Oculus, will make its 360-degree videos compatible with virtual reality devices as well.
Oculus' chief technology officer, John Carmack, said that Netflix developers had produced the app just within the past month.
"It was very rewarding to be able to do this work right before Oculus Connect and make it available to all of our users in such a short timeframe," Carmack said. "Plus, I got to watch the entire season of Daredevil from the comfort of my virtual couch. Because testing, of course."
Netflix stock had made a nice recovery in recent weeks after trading as low as $94.95 on Sept. 8. But shares tumbled 8.3% on Thursday after the company Wednesday reported disappointing U.S. subscriber growth when it announced earnings.
Wall Street was expecting Netflix to add 1.25 million subscribers in the third quarter. Instead, the company added only 880,000 subscribers.
"Our over-forecast in the US for Q3 was due to slightly higher-than-expected involuntary churn (inability to collect), which we believe was driven in part by the ongoing transition to chip-based credit and debit cards," Netflix said in a statement.
The company's earnings also missed analysts' estimates. Earnings per share were 7 cents, and revenue was $1.74 billion. On average, analysts were expecting EPS of 12 cents on revenue of $1.75 billion.Netflix expects to add 1.65 million users in the fourth quarter.
Will the new VR app positively impact Netflix's stock prices, earnings and users? Only time will tell, but it could present an interesting opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a burgeoning market.