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Your next PC VR headset will (almost) cut the cables

A new standard specification for connecting VR headsets to PCs has been announced by a consortium of the industry’s major players, reducing the need for multiple cables down to a single USB-C connection.

The specification is titled VirtualLink and is formed by a partnership of Nvidia, Valve, Oculus, AMD, and Microsoft, and aims “to meet the connectivity requirements of current and next-generation virtual reality (VR) headsets”.

VirtualLink is able to simultaneously deliver four high-speed lanes of HBR3 DisplayPort, a USB3.1 data channel, and up to 27 watts of power. These specifications should ensure a good degree of future-proofing when it comes to VR releases down the track.

The new reality

The existing requirement for most PC-based VR devices is to connect via multiple HDMI and USB cables, limiting its uses to machines with a variety (and availability) of ports. 

By reducing the data transmission to a single USB-C cable, this allows headsets to connect to smaller form-factor devices that might only have one or two of these connections, as is often the case with the latest ultrabooks and 2-in-1 devices.

Naturally, this also alleviates issues of mobility where multiple cables can become entangled and/or rigid when moving – a bit of a deal-breaker when the goal is to become totally immersed.

Harry Domanski
Harry is an Australian Journalist for TechRadar with an ear to the ground for future tech, and the other in front of a vintage amplifier. He likes stories told in charming ways, and content consumed through massive screens. He also likes to get his hands dirty with the ethics of the tech.