Oculus has added Chromecast support to the Samsung Gear VR headset.
That means, if you own a Gear VR, you will be able to use Chromecast to stream (or "cast") your virtual reality experience to your TV so that your friends or whoever else is nearby can join in on the fun by being able to see what you're doing inside the VR world. Such options have been available for tethered headsets like the Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR but not phone-based mobile VR headsets.
Tethered headsets are already indirectly connected to a monitor or TV and essentially mirror the headset display, for instance. But Oculus said that Samsung's Gear VR will be the first headset to officially support Chromecast - or at least the first one you can use right now. Remember, Google plans to add Chromecast support to a Daydream VR update, but that's not due until sometime later this year.
Here's everything you need to know about Chromecast support for the Gear VR, including how to set it up.
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What is Chromecast?
Chromecast is a Google platform you can use to send things from your VR headset to your TV, which must either have built-in Chromecast technology or be hooked up to a Chromecast dongle. The Chromecast platform also lets you send anything from a supported app, such as a YouTube video on your phone, to a TV. Or, you can send a desktop website on your computer to your TV.
And that's just three possibilities. Either way, all you have to do is hit the Cast button on your mobile device, then sit back, and watch your stuff appear instantly on your TV. For more information on Chromecast, including how the Chromecast dongle works and how to set up Chromecast to work with a range of devices, check out Pocket-lint's in-depth guides here and here.
What is Samsung Gear VR?
The Gear VR is a mobile VR headset developed by Samsung, in collaboration with Facebook-owned Oculus, and manufactured by Samsung. It requires a compatible Samsung device, such as the Galaxy S8 or Galaxy S8+, which acts as the headset's display and processor. It therefore works differently from the Rift, a more powerful, full-fledged, Oculus-made headset that's tethered to a PC.
To access VR content and apps on the Gear VR, you need to use the Oculus app on your Samsung device. From using head movements for games to watching Netflix in a virtual mansion, there's plenty to experience. See our favourite experiences here.
How do you Chromecast with Gear VR?
You need a Gear VR headset, a compatible Samsung phone, the Oculus app installed on that phone, and a modern, flat-screen TV that either has built-in support for Chromecast or is hooked up to a Chromecast dongle. If you have all that, you’ll be able to share your Gear VR experiences directly from the headset by streaming to your TV. Your friends can therefore experience it in real time too.
Once you have the latest version of the Oculus mobile app running on your Android (which also needs to be up to date), just hit the Cast button in the app, and then select your nearby Cast-enabled TV. You'll then be able to "step inside Gear VR while your friends sit back and enjoy the ride", according to Oculus, which also thinks Chromecast support is a "great way to introduce new people to VR".
Want to know more?
Check out Oculus' blog post for more details.