VR and AR headset market to be huge in coming years
If you are a PC gamer you are probably already familiar with the VR headsets that are on the market today. These headsets are designed to be worn and pull you into video games with levels of immersion that aren't possible with other hardware. With a VR headset on your face, you are part of the video game and your view inside the game changes as you move your head around.
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These headsets connect to your PC and replace the normal computer monitor you use when gaming. Eventually there will be things you can do with VR headsets other than gaming with augmented reality capability in the works to overlay data from your computer on the real world.
If you have decided to step into the VR world with your Windows 10 compteur, there are some details you need to know. The first thing is that you need to be sure your PC has the brawn to run VR content. Your PC needs Windows 10 obviously, 4GB of RAM, a GPU that works with DirectX 12, a quad core CPU (dual core processors with Hyperthreading will work), and a USB 3.0 port. Keep in mind those are minimum specifications for your computer, better specs will deliver better performance and some goggles might require higher specs to function.
The next thing you need is a VR headset and there are several on the market and more coming. This list runs down available Windows 10 VR headsets and some of them may also support other versions of Windows. New VR headsets from major Microsoft partners are due out this month.
PIMAX 4K VR Headset
This headset is notable because it has 4K resolution with 3840 x 2160p native resolution. It supports 806 ppi for perfect and clear video. It uses dual 53mm aspherical lenses that deliver a 110 degree FOV. The headset is lightweight at 290g and has 1000Hz dual gyroscopes. The headset also has a detachable 3.5mm headphone port, 40mm drivers and support for virtual 5.1 surround sound. People who need glasses can use this headset thanks to an adjustable lens distance.
The headset is compatible with Windows 7, 8, and 10. It states an Intel Core i5 or higher processor is needed. An HDMI output is required for connectivity along with a USB port. Refresh rate is up to 90 Hz in asynchronous mode and 60hz in synchronous mode. The headset is available via Amazon for $399 and can be had at other retailers.
3Glasses Bluebur S1
3Glasses is one of the major VR partners with Microsoft that is set to launch cool VR goggles this year. One of the offerings from the command is the Blubur S2. these glasses have a 110-degree FOV and are designed to be adjustable for comfort with adjustable straps and soft padding. Native resolution for the headset is 2800 x 1440 with a 120Hz refresh rate.
The goggles have Blue Light Cut tech inside that removes 99% of the short-wave blue light to protect eyesight. The goggles are made using a Sabic infrared transparent material and have integrated earphones for sound. You will need Windows 10, a Core i7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and at least an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 video card. A DisplayPort 1.2 port and USB is needed for connectivity. Pricing is unknown.
3Glasses D2 2K VR headset
The 3Glasses D2 VR headset has a 5.5-inch HD 2K display with 534 ppi, native resolution is 2K 2560 x 1440. The goggles have low latency and a high refresh rate to help reduce dizziness felt by some users. Latency is less than 13ms and refresh rate is 60Hz. The goggles can be used with glasses thanks to an adjustable pupil distance. FOV is 110-degrees and the lenses are coated with anti-blue light material. The goggles weigh 246g and have an ergonomic design for comfort. Pricing is unknown.
One of the best known names in Windows VR headsets is Oculus with its Rift headset. This is also one of the more expensive headsets available for Windows users ticking in at $598 with the touch controllers. The headset like most others does require a camera to track movement and that camera is included. Oculus' recommended specs for your computer to work with the headset include an NVIDIA GTX 1060 or Radeon RX 480 or higher video card.
The processor needs to be an Intel i5-4950 or equivalent. Your machine needs at last 8GB of RAM and a HDMI 1.3 output. Connectivity recommendations include three USB 3.0 ports and a single USB 2.0 port and Windows 7 or higher for the OS. The Rift has an OLED display with 2160 x 1200 resolution and a 90Hz refresh rate. The field of view is 110-degrees and the tracking area is 5 x 11 feet. Audio is integrated as is a mic. The headset works with the Oculus Touch or Xbox One controllers.
Another well known and mainstream VR headset comes from HTC in the form of the HTC Vive. This headset has specs very similar to the Oculus Rift with an OLED screen, 2160 x 1200 resolution, 90Hz refresh rate, 110-degree FoV, integrated audio, and a built-in mic. The Vive does have a larger tracking area measuring 15 x 15 feet. The Vive minimum requirements for your PC are a GTX 960 video card or Radeon RX 480 or higher. An Intel Core i5-4950 or higher CPU, 4GB or more RAM, HDMI 1.3 output, one USB 2.0 port, and Windows 7 or higher.
Lenovo VR headset
As of now we don't know all there is to know about the coming Lenovo VR headset. It was on hand at CES 2017 back in January and promises to ring in at around $300 making it much cheaper than either the Rift or the Vive. Since the Lenovo headset hasn't launched yet, there is a chance specs will differ when it lands. As of CES 2017, the specs included a target weight of around 350g, and a pair of 1440x1440 resolution OLED panels giving it better resolution than Rift and Vive.
One big change for the Lenovo headset and all the the 2017 Microsoft VR headsets is that you won't need an external camera or sensor for tracking, all the sensors needed are inside the headset. Lenovo isn't offering any controllers for the headset whether, it's relying on third party offerings that meet Windows Holographic specs. We don't know exactly when this headset will launch.
Other Windows 10 VR Headsets
2017 will be a big year for VR on the Windows 10 platform. Along with the Lenovo VR headset we just talked about, there will be new VR headsets coming from Acer, Asus, HP, 3Glasses, and Dell. All of these headsets will be part of Microsoft's big push and all will have internal sensors for motion tracking.
Many of the VR headsets on this list are available for you to purchase right now. You tend to get what you pay for in the VR realm so be warned that other bargain headsets on the market might not perform well. The new VR headsets coming this year will likely outperform all the existing hardware, but the upside to newer and better headsets landing is that prices of existing VR headsets should fall.
Is VR going to be a Bg Deal?
You might be wondering just how big will the VR market be before you plunk down your cash to buy a VR headset. The answer, according to a new report from IDC, is VERY big indeed. IDC is a research firm and the company has a new report that looks at how big the Windows 10 VR headset market will be.
IDC says that global quarterly augmented and virtual reality headset shipments will reach 99.4 million units per quarter by 2021. That is a gigantic increase in units compared to the 10.1 million units shipped in 2016. IDC says this is a compound annual growth rate of 58% across the five year period.
IDC foresees gains in both entries and consumer use in AR and VR platforms. In the enterprise time and money can be saved using these devices to map out changes ahead of the actual launch of a project. For consumers, the AR and VR experiences will be in the form of content and experiences that make you feel as if you are there.
IDC says that AR headsets will be the minority in shipments, but they are expected to bring in more revenue overall with AR headsets growing from $209 million in 2016 to $48.7 billion in 2021. VR headsets will grow from $2.1 billion in 2016 to $18.6 billion in 2021. Most AR headsets are expected to cost over $1,000 with VR headsets selling for under $100 to over $1000. IDC also says that the low cost VR headsets might prove to be inhibitors to VR adoption due to poor experiences delivered.