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PlayStation 4 Camera

by Sony

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Sony Playstation VR Is Bringing Virtual Reality to the Masses

Although Oculus Rift was the first to generate a lot of hype and interest around virtual reality.  However, beyond a sophisticated user base, the Oculus Rift is not very visible to the general consumer and hard to find even at one of its key retail partners, Best Buy.  Other stores in the San Francisco Bay Area like Fry's doesn't carry it at all.

The other main PC based VR headset is the HTC VIVE but that is only highly visible at Microsoft Stores and requires appointments to try the technology out.

If there is one company that knows how to market a technology broadly across different sales channels in many countries, it's Sony, especially its PlayStation division.  With the Sony PlayStation VR, this is the VR industry's first opportunity to get beyond the early technology adopters and into the hands of the everyday consumer.

At various retail stores in the San Francisco Bay Area like Best Buy, Fry's, and GameStop, you can see impromptu Sony PlayStation VR demo's.  They may not be as fancy as what you see with the HTC VIVE in the Microsoft Store, but it's easy for people in the store to just drop by and experience VR technology for the first time.

The other way Sony makes the Sony PlayStation VR very accessible by millions of users is simplifying what type of hardware is needed to support virtual reality.  Unlike the HTC VIVE and Oculus Rift which appeal to serious gamers willing to buy or build VR ready PC's with the latest specs, Sony PlayStation VR users can use any of Sony's PS4 models like the Playstation 4 SlimPlayStation 4, and PlayStation 4 Pro.

Most important for most users, the Sony PlayStation VR comes at a much lower price point (check price on Amazon) compared to the HTC VIVE and Oculus Rift, and is available in any of the many retail outlets that carry the PlayStation.

Unlike the Oculus Rift which connects directly to your PC using USB and HDMI connectors, there are more wires and connectors involved with the Sony PlayStation VR since it uses a separate Processing Unit.

The Sony PlayStation VR's headset also uses a HDMI connection to get display information from the Processing Unit but also uses a proprietary connector that carries power, control, and data from the Processing Unit instead of using standard USB.  

The Processing Unit then needs another 2 HDMI cables in the back- one to connect to your TV, and one to connect to the PlayStation 4 itself.  Note that if you are using the PlayStation 4 Pro, 4K is supported on the Processing Unit but not HDR which means you won't be able to enjoy HDR content on your 4K HDR TV.

The Processing Unit also has a micro-B USB port to connect to the one of the PlayStation 4's USB ports for data and control purposes.  Power is provided by a separate AC adapter.

Note to use the Sony PlayStation VR, you will also need the PlayStation 4 Camera which connects directly to the PlayStation 4 and acts as the sensor to detect your headset's motion (click here for Amazon pricing on the PS Camera).

The Sony PlayStation VR will raise the awareness and accessible of virtual reality to the many consumers around the word beyond the smaller early tech adopter and serious gamer that have the budget to experience the HTC VIVE and Oculus Rift.

 

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