VR Headsets Get Connector Standard Boost

VR Headsets Get Connector Standard Boost
Virtual reality users will be able to use one cable to connect any VirtualLink-compatible headset to their system.

(CCM) — The virtual reality (VR) headset market will get a huge shot in the arm thanks to a new connection standard. This has been hammered out by the VirtualLink Consortium, a group made up of VR competitors Microsoft, Valve, and Facebook-owned Oculus, plus GPU makers AMD and Nvidia, according to an Ars Technica report.

The most notable absence from the consortium is that of HTC, maker of the popular Vive VR headset.

Today's headsets require multiple cables to connect them to a computer, including a USB data connection to send positioning and camera information, and a DisplayPort or HDMI connection to carry the display data from the computer to the headset's screens.

The new spec requires a single cable, using the USB-C connector's "Alternate Mode" capability for different data protocols such as Thunderbolt 3 data or DisplayPort or HDMI video. It is capable of carrying two 3840 x 2160 streams at 60 frames per second, as well as 10 gigabits of sensor data per second, and can also supply 27W of electrical power.

The new standard means that consumers will be able to buy any VirtualLink-compatible headset and be sure that it will work with any VirtualLink-compatible VR platform.

But further into the future the standard may become irrelevant if headsets that use a high-speed wireless computer connection become popular.

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