PlayStation VR won't play nicely with HDR or wireless headphones

PlayStation VR

If you're hoping that your brand, spanking new PlayStation VR will play nicely with other hi-tech equipment like wireless headphones and HDR TVs, then you could be in for a disappointment

Sony earned a great deal of praise when it brought HDR to all existing PS4 consoles via a firmware update earlier this year, but not only will its headset not support the standard, but your TV will also not be able to display HDR footage while the headset's processing box is hooked up.

This means you'll have to completely detach the processing box whenever you want to enjoy HDR content.

Passthrough problems

The reason for this is that when the processing box is connected, there is no HDMI cable directly connecting the console and the TV. Instead the cable passes through the processing box, and since this can't handle an HDR signal, this is unable to reach the TV.

In contrast, PC VR headsets like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift leave the cable connecting the PC and monitor intact, and instead connect to a second port on the back of the PC.

Without a second port, the PS4 is forced to use this passthrough method.

Audio woes

When it comes to headphones, you'll have to be using wired headphones plugged into the headset's 3.5mm jack in order to experience 3D audio, which is an important element in feeling immersed in a virtual world.

The reason for this is that the headset's 3D audio processing is handled by the small box that sits between your headset and console. Since wireless headphones bypass this box and connect directly to the console, they remove its sound processing from the signal chain.

Although not many gamers currently use wireless headphones with the PS4 because of the limited number of supported bluetooth headsets, it could be frustrating for anyone looking to minimise the amount of wires tethering their VR experience to their console.

It would be an exaggeration to suggest either of these issues are deal breakers for the new headset, but it's an unfortunate annoyance for any early adopters of either technology.

  • Will these issues be enough to harm PSVR's immanent entry onto our list of the best VR headsets?
Jon Porter

Jon Porter is the ex-Home Technology Writer for TechRadar. He has also previously written for Practical Photoshop, Trusted Reviews, Inside Higher Ed, Al Bawaba, Gizmodo UK, Genetic Literacy Project, Via Satellite, Real Homes and Plant Services Magazine, and you can now find him writing for The Verge.