VR’s biggest players back ‘VirtualLink’ connector for next-gen VR headsets

VR's biggest players back 'VirtualLink' connector for next-gen VR headsets

AMD, Nvidia, Valve, Oculus and Microsoft are involved

Published: 17th July 2018 | Source: VirtualLink | Author: Mark Campbell

VR's biggest players back 'VirtualLink' connector for next-gen VR headsets

VR's biggest players back 'VirtualLink' connector for next-gen VR headsets

Today's PC-based VR headsets are a pain to setup, requiring a large number of cables, a lengthy setup process and are already hitting the limits of what is possible over standard display interfaces.
HTC's Vive Pro headset currently requires separate power, USB and DisplayPort connections, while Oculus' Rift headset requires both HDMI and USB connectivity. Wouldn't it be nice if a single cable could drive VR headsets? Cutting down on cable clutter while also simplifying setup.
Five of VR's biggest players, AMD, Nvidia, Valve, Oculus and Microsoft, have created the VirtualLink consortium, who plan to build a single cable solution to for next-generation VR headsets.
The group have built a new "open industry standard" called "VirtualLink", acting as an "Alternative Mode" for USB Type-C that can deliver power, display data and input data required to run current and future VR headsets using a single lightweight cable. The cable itself will offer a full USB 3.1 data channel as well as four high-speed HBR3 DisplayPort lanes for display connectivity while also being able to provide up to 27 watts of power to connected headsets.

VirtualLink has been developed as an open standard by an industry consortium of leading silicon, software, and headset manufacturers led by NVIDIA, Oculus, Valve, Microsoft, and AMD. This open industry standard for VR connectivity advances VR interoperability and provides economic benefits to head-mounted display (HMD) makers, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), developers, and consumers. It will accelerate the development and implementation of new VR technologies.

VR's biggest players back 'VirtualLink' connector for next-gen VR headsets
What remains unknown is how this cable will function in practice, as connecting the cable to either a motherboard or graphics card directly could cause issues, as USB-like data is typically catered to by the motherboard whereas visual data usually resides in the domain of a graphics card. The VirtualLink cable will do both, so data from one portion of a system will need to be routed to another component (either from a motherboard to a GPU or vice-versa) to output to a VR headset, which could cause issues within some future devices.
You can join the discussion on VirtualLink, the new single-cable connector for future VR headsets on the OC3D Forums.

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