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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, @09:24PM

    by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {}> 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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