Oculus announces Google Chromecast support for the Samsung Gear VR headset, making phone-based VR more social.
If you are using a PC-based virtual reality system like the Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR, then you might be accustomed to displaying your VR experience on an external display for your friends to follow along. If you’ re using a phone-based VR headset, however, you have probably felt a bit more isolated.
That is because unlike the more expensive and powerful VR systems, phone-based systems have not supported streaming to an external display. As of Wednesday, that is changing as Oculus announced Chromecast support for the Samsung Gear VR headset.
Given the new capabilities, Gear VR users can now stream their VR experience directly from their headset to any TV with Google’s Chromecast player connected to it. All users have to do is open up the Oculus mobile app on Android, tap on the Cast button, and the select the appropriate Cast device.
Once things are set up, then whatever is in focus in the Gear VR environment will show up via Chromecast. According to Oculus, that adds a new social element to mobile VR, which is true to the extent that it allows others to take part in the fun but it does not quite yet allow external parties to interact within the VR experience — something that is coming in more powerful systems.
Chromecast support on Gear VR is just another example of companies working together to improve cross-platform VR support. Another example is Samsung’s addition of Galaxy S8 support for Google’s competing Daydream platform.
The new Gear VR Chromecast support requires Android 7.0 or later. The feature is not hitting everybody’s device at once and you will know if the feature is available for you if you see the Cast button in the Oculus app. Make sure that you are running the most recent version of the Oculus mobile app and that your device is fully updated and then be a little patient in waiting for the required bits to make it your way.