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posted by mrpg on Thursday July 19 2018, @07:30PM   Printer-friendly
from the now-it-looks-like-the-20st-century dept.

VR rivals come together to develop a single-cable spec for VR headsets

Future generations of virtual reality headsets for PCs could use a single USB Type-C cable for both power and data. That's thanks to a new standardized spec from the VirtualLink Consortium, a group made up of GPU vendors AMD and Nvidia and virtual reality rivals Valve, Microsoft, and Facebook-owned Oculus.

The spec uses the USB Type-C connector's "Alternate Mode" capability to implement different data protocols—such as Thunderbolt 3 data or DisplayPort and HDMI video—over the increasingly common cables, combined with Type-C's support for power delivery. The new headset spec combines four lanes of HBR3 ("high bitrate 3") DisplayPort video (for a total of 32.4 gigabits per second of video data), along with a USB 3.1 generation 2 (10 gigabit per second) data channel for sensors and on-headset cameras, along with 27W of electrical power.

That much video data is sufficient for two 3840×2160 streams at 60 frames per second, or even higher frame rates if Display Stream Compression is also used. Drop the resolution to 2560×1440, and two uncompressed 120 frame per second streams would be possible.

Framerate is too low, and it's not wireless. Lame.

VirtualLink website. Also at The Verge.

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  • (Score: 2) by takyon on Friday July 20 2018, @12:42AM (6 children)

    by takyon (881) <> on Friday July 20 2018, @12:42AM (#709708) Journal

    Couple things I forgot.

    AMD, Nvidia, ARM, Qualcomm, and the rest of the gang ought to be heavily marketing, praying, sacrificing goats, etc. in order to ensure that VR takes off (such as at least 1 billion casual and many millions of heavy users). Because the desire for ultra-realistic VR can push graphics hardware to its utmost limits, and ensure strong demand up until and even past the end of Moore's slaw scaling (meaning a point where we stop making smaller process nodes but also figure out how to start stacking layers of transistors for CPUs and GPUs, increasing peak performance by further orders of magnitude... while making interconnect issues even more apparent).

    However, a caveat is that algorithmic tricks could reduce the hardware performance needed. For example, Google's [] Seurat [], or a variety of other graphics techniques and tricks that are discussed on this YouTube channel []. We can't forget that software is improving alongside hardware.

    Had something else but forgot that too.

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  • (Score: 2) by legont on Friday July 20 2018, @12:58AM (3 children)

    by legont (4179) on Friday July 20 2018, @12:58AM (#709719)

    push graphics hardware to its utmost limits

    What, mining is not enough for them? Or do they think mining is about to die?

    "Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding" - John Kenneth Galbraith.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 20 2018, @06:39PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 20 2018, @06:39PM (#710054)

    At least 1 billion? Are there even that many people who own game consoles or PCs?

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Friday July 20 2018, @09:24PM

      by takyon (881) <> on Friday July 20 2018, @09:24PM (#710119) Journal

      There are apparently at least 2 billion people using smartphones, and plans to reach more people. Smartphones can be turned into basic VR headsets with hardware as simple as cardboard and lenses. []

      This source says over 4 billion Internet users, although many could be on dumbphones or other primitive devices. (Note that Mexico is included in Latin America and not North America in their table.) []

      Instagram supposedly has 1 billion active users monthly. Facebook has over 2 billion.

      My scenario gives AMD, Nvidia, et al. some years to figure out VR. Sales aren't fantastic [], content and games aren't ubiquitous. 360-degree or 180-degree cameras aren't commonplace. But you have Oculus Go lowering the cost for a decent standalone device to $200, and something like Gear VR or Daydream View can be had for $50-100 (or free as a promo offer).

      At the end of the day, content is king, and there needs to be a lot more of it to keep people interested. 360-degree video is available, and live 360-degree video is possible. Oculus is trying to push live sports and entertainment. There are games and other stuff (e.g. SpaceEngine) that can be adapted to VR fairly easily. And of course, who can forget the porn. People can also use a headset for a virtual desktop or cinema (displaying high-resolution 2D video over a wide field of view, simulating a theater experience).

      We're still at a point where early adopters are getting hosed by crappy products. For example, the Oculus Go has 3 rather than 6 degrees of freedom. Frame rates and resolutions could be a lot higher, and field of view could be much wider (~200 degrees should be the target, not ~100-110°). Combine that with a meager flow of new content, and I see no reason to get one right now.

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