North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz checks out virtual reality in Samsung Gear VR. ESPN/Foglight Entertainment
Virtual reality doesn’t have to be an isolating experience involving people wearing bulky headsets that make them oblivious to what's around them.
Oculus, the Facebook-owned virtual reality business, said Wednesday that people can now stream virtual reality video from Gear VR headsets to Google’s Chromecast media player. Now, when people play virtual reality video games or watch VR films, others will be able to watch along with them on televisions.
The new streaming feature is only available for the Gear VR headset, which requires an Android phone to operate. Samsung makes the Gear VR headset while Oculus supplies the software.
Unlike virtual reality headsets like Facebook’s Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive, mobile headsets like the Gear VR or Google’s Daydream View, are relatively inexpensive but are less powerful than PC-powered VR headsets. As a result, visuals are lower quality, among other tradeoffs.
The new streaming feature follows a similar announcement from Google.
The search giant said a few weeks ago during its annual developer conference that Daydream View customers would also be able stream VR media to the Chromecast when the next version of its Android operating system is released later in the year.
Samsung shipped roughly 4.5 million Gear VR headsets in the 2016 compared to about 300,000 Daydream View headsets, according to market research firm SuperData. Google debuted the Daydream View in November.