Published: Sat, July 21, 2018
IT | By Lester Massey

[H]ardOCP: New Cable Standards for Full Motion VR HMDs with VirtualLink

[H]ardOCP: New Cable Standards for Full Motion VR HMDs with VirtualLink

Naturally, USB Type-C is the best choice as the connector for this new standard.

"At Oculus, we're committed to making VR easily approachable for a wide variety of people, a consolidated connection point is critical in removing barriers to experiencing high-powered PC VR".

Now, a properly configured USB Type-C port with Alternate Mode could do all of this already, the problem is with standardizing it as a single branded connector, instead of manufacturers stating that a given USB Port can be used for Alternate Mode and Power Delivery with data transfers at USB 3.1. This includes more compact devices like light notebooks that might not have full-sized USB ports.

The VR market just got a whole lot more interesting over the last 24 hours, with a new consortium that involves NVIDIA, AMD, Valve, Oculus, and Microsoft introducing the new VirtualLink specification. Four lanes for video via DisplayPort and two lanes for a single USB 3.1 Gen 2.0 channel, as well as 27W of power. It will eliminate the need to use multiple cables as one has to now.

VirtualLink might not have happened if all those major VR players hadn't banded together.

The answer should be fairly obvious to anyone who has seen the connectors for first-generation VR headsets.

Given that this is a new standard, only future headsets that support USB-C will be able to take advantage of single-cable benefit of VirtualLink.

If you don't like having to use separate cables with separate virtual reality headsets for PC then rejoice because you may not have to in the future. While companies like HTC have been investigating doing away with wires altogether via high-bandwidth and low-latency wireless connections and battery packs, the VirtualLink consortium has a different proposal: Simplifying things down to a single cable with a single USB Type-C connector on the end.

KitGuru Says: This is a good move that will hopefully help cut down on the clutter of VR headsets and improve ease of use. But it's easy to have that sense of immersion broken by reams of trailing cables coming from a headset, not to mention the frustration they cause when initially setting up. However, it will be a while after that before virtual reality headsets start using the technology.

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