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How to Protect Your TV During Intense VR Sessions?

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06 How to Protect your TV During Intense VR sessions Cover

VR is really quite the contact sport, and there are plenty of instances where people hit their furniture, or their large screen TVs, or even computer monitor screens by mistake.

These stories are so common that it might be wise to take a few precautions to make sure you don’t take your expensive television to pieces in the course of an intense VR session.

An expensive television is a loss, of course, but if you happen to punch a wall by mistake it could even lead to serious injuries. Another thing that could happen is that you strike another person, or a pet in VR.

However, there is no need to give up on VR, because with a few simple safety rules in place, you can be sure to protect your television, or the people around you during intense VR sessions.

Set boundaries

This is really by far the best tip. You know that most virtual reality headsets such as the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive allow you to set a safe zone.

This ensures that you don’t bump into furniture or hurt yourself striking a wall. The reason these things still happens is that people then to try to push that safe zone outwards as much as possible.

This is a big mistake.

They’ll set the edges of the safe zone so that it almost touches their furniture or their television, and then they wonder why they tend to break things by going beyond those boundaries. Here’s a small tutorial on roomscaling for the Oculus Rift.

Set a safety buffer zone

The key to avoiding breaking things beyond the limits of your safe zone is to reduce the edges of the safe zone by about two feet.

By pulling the edges of the safe zone inwards about two feet, you create a two feet buffer space that will ensure that even if you step or move past the boundaries of the safe zone, you will still not end up breaking anything or hurting yourself, or anyone else.

Make sure that family members don’t enter your VR space. Remember that it not just your TV and your furniture that is at risk here, but any family member that enters your VR space.

Build yourself a Shield

If you’re really worried that you might break through your TV by mistake during one of your more energetic VR sessions, buy a plexiglass sheet that is about a quarter of an inch in thickness, and the size of your TV.

Now stick strips of velcro to the TV and the plexiglass sheet, so that you can attach or remove the plexiglass sheet from your TV whenever you wish. This is cheaper than TV armor, but it doesn’t look too elegant, and of course you need some basic DIY skills to put this together.

Then there’s TV Armour

If you’d prefer a more elegant solution, you can just buy ‘TV armour’. This works very well, and is reasonably priced. TV armour also gives you better visual clarity. Check out the latest deals on TV armor on Amazon…

Check out the TV protection on Amazon

Put out a VR alert

The best thing you can do is to alert people around the house when you are about to engage in a VR session. Alternatively, you can simply shut and lock the door before you start up your latest VR game. Make sure that everyone knows that you cannot see or hear them in VR.

Drink and VR don’t go together

Don’t go into VR drunk. It might seem like drinking just before a VR session might be a good idea. After all, it might lead to a more ‘way-out’ experience.

In reality, though, there is a great deal of balance required for VR, and your senses don’t work as well as they do in everyday life.

If you drink before a VR session, there is a good chance you could stumble and put your hand (or head!) through the screen of your expensive television.

A seated VR session is safer

If you play your VR games seated, you’ll find that there is a lot of safety in this. Yes, a good many games feel much more intuitive and are more fun when you play them standing, but this is also more dangerous to yourself, to the people around you, and to your furniture, televisions and computers.

If you can show discipline and maintain the limits you set in VR, then engaging in VR while standing is perfectly safe. But if you feel that you lack the discipline to maintain your position and not exceed the boundaries that you set in VR, then sitting in a chair while engaging in a VR session is probably the safest thing that you could do, as there is no danger of you striking an object or a wall, or stumbling over some furniture.

There are even some very interesting VR Chairs available that can make a seated VR experience astoundingly immersive.

Mind your controllers

While the controllers for headsets like the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive generally have a safety strap that keeps the controller attached to your wrist even in the midst of an intense VR session, there are still stories of people swinging their arms wildly and letting go of a controller – which then flies across the room and breaks the television, or even hurts someone.

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To prevent this, make sure that you hold your controllers tightly. Just because you are throwing a rock in VR, doesn’t mean that you need to enhance the realism of the experience by actually flinging your controller across the room and straight through your expensive television.

Remember that a VR world can be rather convincing

It can become difficult to remember that the controller you hold in your hand can actually fly across your living room in reality if you let go of it. Immersion in virtual reality shouldn’t extend far enough into the real world that you actually start breaking things that you’d rather not.

Just remember to ensure that the safety straps are well fastened around your wrist, and you have nothing to worry about. These are very simple tips, but following then can ensure that you don’t break expensive accessories around your house, or hurt someone, or even yourself.

Is Samsung Odyssey Mixed Reality Headset Worth It?

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02 Samsung Odyssey Mixed Reality Headset Cover Image

While the HoloLens embodies Microsoft’s vision of mixed reality, a great many manufacturers have also brought out their own mixed reality headsets. Foremost amongst these are of course Acer, Dell, Lenovo and HP.

However, the most impressive headset of the lot is undoubtedly Samsung’s HMD Odyssey.

An Excellent effort

Our impressions confirm what is really a general feeling among those who have tested the Samsung HMD Odyssey. The headset is a step above other mixed reality headsets, both in terms of features, and in quality of manufacture.

The know-how of the Korean giant is evident from the moment you open the box. The product gives one a feeling of being very robust – and that’s in addition to its impeccable finish. The visual and sound clarity has to be experienced to be believed.

Particular care has been taken with regard to its ergonomics, and this is something that is apparent from the moment you put on the headset.

Check out the best Samsung Odyssey deals here

Earphones and integrated microphone

The Samsung Odyssey mixed reality headset stands out from the competition with a microphone, and integrated headphones. The headphones are from the prestigious brand AKG.

While it is, of course, possible to use conventional headphones with most mixed reality headsets, having the headphones and microphone incorporated into the Samsung Odyssey simplifies the amount of equipment that you have to wear in virtual reality, reduces cords, and decreases the total weight on your head.

The controllers are also reasonably ergonomic, though not exceptionally so

They are slightly more comfortable to take in one’s hand than the standard controllers of other mixed reality headsets but do not attain the levels of comfort of Oculus touch controllers.

Excellent display quality

Samsung’s dedication to quality is also reflected in the HMD Odyssey screens, which use OLED technology and which each boast a resolution of 1440 x 1600, this opposed to a resolution of 1440 x 1440 in most other mixed reality headsets.

The OLED technology ensures that there are no after images on the screens, and can prevent nausea associated with some mixed reality and virtual reality headsets. The field of view is 110 degrees, which on par with the best headsets on the market today.

Comparisons with the Rift and the Vive

Each headset has its own advantages and disadvantages.

The Samsung Odyssey mixed reality headset, like all mixed reality headsets, has the significant advantage of not requiring external sensors to function.

All you have to do is take it out of the box and connect it to a computer running Windows 10. There’s a short software update and you are ready to go.

This makes the Samsung Odyssey much easier to use than the Vive, for example, and much easier to carry around as well. It goes without saying that the Samsung Odyssey far outclasses the resolutions of the classic Vive.

One advantage that the Vive has over the Samsung Odyssey is with the controllers. The Samsung Odyssey’s controllers are tracked by the camera in front of the headset, which means that it is not possible to track an object that is outside their field of view.

So long as your controllers remain in the field of view of the headset’s cameras, the tracking is absolutely perfect.

For applications that are designed for the Samsung Odyssey headset, this is rarely a problem, as consideration for this limitation in tracking is built into the application design.

However, it does remain a limitation when compared with the Vive.

Minimum Specifications for the Samsung Odyssey

You’ll need an Intel i5 6300 processor or higher, and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 or higher. You’ll also need 8GB of RAM, Windows 8 or Windows 10 as your operating system, two USB ports and an HDMI port.

Click here for the best Samsung Odyssey deals

Microsoft signs a deal with Steam

Microsoft has forged partnerships with good many software vendors, and perhaps the foremost of these is Valve. The SteamVR platform will, therefore, be compatible with Windows mixed reality headsets.

This allows the Samsung Odyssey to actually go all out in competition with the Vive.

Play Oculus Rift exclusive games in Windows mixed reality with Revive

LibreVR’s Revive app, originally designed to allow HTC Vive users to play Oculus Rift games, is perfectly compatible with Windows mixed reality headsets, and will allow you to play the entire Oculus Rift library <on your Samsung Odyssey mixed reality headset.

For those who weren’t aware of Revive, its been in development since around 2016. It started out with Jules Cross, a VR enthusiast, working on the project in his spare time, but the project has since received funding from Oculus’ founder.

The Best Headphones for the Samsung Odyssey1

Should you buy the Samsung Odyssey Mixed Reality Headset?

Certainly.

The headset is vastly superior to most of the other headsets on the market and offers a visual clarity that outclasses the classic Vive.

It also offers excellent 3D soundscapes, and the ergonomics will allow you to experience hours of comfortable play.

While the controllers do not match the controllers of the Vive for tracking, the fact that you don’t have to set up base stations or light houses, and can simply plug in the headset and start using it is actually a considerable convenience.

Go for it, because this headset is real value for money.

Click here to order your Samsung Odyssey

The Best VR Backpacks

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A VR backpack is an excellent solution when it comes to being rid of the mass of cables that are associated with the average VR headset. Let’s take a look at the best VR backpack PCs out there that are compatible with the Rift and Vive.

We’ll be considering different factors, such as ease of use, weight, ergonomics and much more. Let’s see how each VR backpack compares with the others.

HP Omen X VR backpack

The HP Omen X VR weighs less than 5 kg and measures 31cm x 23cm x 5cm. This HP VR backpack is very compact, and the onboard battery lasts between one hour to one and a half hours. It is possible to hot-swap the battery, so you need to ensure that you have a stock of charged batteries on hand before an intense session. This VR backpack is compatible with both the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift.

Specifications

For specifications, this HP VR backpack boasts an Intel Core i7 6700 HQ quad-core processor that clocks at between 2.6 to 3.5 GHz. The Graphics card is an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060. It has 32 GB of RAM, and a 256 GB SSD.

Features and Impressions

For one thing, the design is excellent and quite stylish, with customizable lighting. The casing is solid, and is likely to last you through many energetic VR sessions. As you’ve just seen, the specifications are perfectly capable of running VR.

Since the VR backpack PC docks upright, it allows you to access a great many provided ports that will allow you to turn it into a powerful workstation at will. A highly reliable mechanical keyboard and excellent mouse are provided with it. As a VR backpack, the HP Omen X VR puts out exceptional performances.

The Omen X has very few negative aspects to it, but one of them could be that the HP VR backpack is a little difficult to set up before a VR session. The price is more or less on par with other backpack PCs on the market.

Click here for the best HP Omen X VR backpack prices


MSI VR One

When MSI first came out with their original VR backpack PC, it received a rather lukewarm reception because the ergonomics left much to be desired. But this changed with the VR One.

The first positive factor is weight

While the original MSI VR backpack PC weighed 5 kg, the VR One dropped that to just 3.6 kg. This is really a step in the right direction, because the lighter weight far outclasses other VR backpack PCs on the market.

Specifications

The specifications of this MSI VR backpack are optimal for a VR experience, and the PC boasts an Intel Core i7 with a GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card, both of which are pretty standard in VR backpack PCs today.

This VR backpack PC offers an hour and a half of active life on a charged battery, which, again, is more or less standard and on par with other backpack PCs.

Features and Impressions

The VR One is optimized for the HTC Vive, but it’s also compatible with the Oculus Rift.

Some advantages of the MSI VR backpack are the reduced weight, the ergonomic design, and the brilliant styling that makes this VR backpack look rather like a futuristic jetpack.

Another considerable advantage of this VR backpack is the excellent ventilation that pulls heat from the PC and releases it behind the user, so that the user doesn’t feel any appreciable increase of heat on his or her back. The cooling fans are very silent and will not interfere with your experience.

Another advantage of the MSI VR One is that the graphics card is upgradable, which will allow your PC to remain compatible with VR games that come out in the future.

This MSI VR backpack is more or less ideal for a room scale VR experience, and the price is more or less on par with other PCs on the market. There are virtually no negatives to it, except that you will, of course, need to have an extra monitor.

Click here for the best MSI VR One prices


HP Z VR backpack

The HP Z VR backpack is an HP VR backpack PC that is aimed at professionals, rather than at the average gamer. It is impressive in terms of looks and specifications.

Its impeccable quality is a demonstration of HP’s expertise. While it is extremely powerful, and is a fully operational workstation, this HP VR backpack is nevertheless portable enough to be used in extensive VR sessions.

Specifications

This HP VR backpack is a powerful machine, incorporating an Intel Core i7 7820 HQ processor, and an NVIDIA Quadro P5200 graphics card with 16 GB of dedicated RAM. The PC itself has 32 GB of RAM. When it was tried out in intensive conditions, the VR backpack could be used for an hour without faltering. An additional battery pack is provided, which can be swapped hot. This prevents you from having to interrupt your work.

Features and Impressions

This VR backpack is a fully functional professional level workstation, and it has very well conceptualized accessories.

The disadvantage is that at 4.5 kg it may be a little too heavy for long work or VR sessions.

Considering that this backpack PC is geared towards work, it will also require that you buy an extra set of batteries and a charging station, so that you can keep the PC going with a steady stream of hot swapped batteries.

Click here for the best HP Z VR backpack prices


Zotac VR Go

This rather spartan Zotac VR backpack is a powerful gaming machine, and will allow you to play most VR games at the requisite 90 frames per second that allows you to avoid the nausea associated with VR.

While the Zotac VR Go backpack PC is relatively heavy compared to other makes on the market, it is rather comfortable to wear, and the weight is very well distributed.

The design also allows heat to dissipate perfectly, so that the PC doesn’t feel hot on one’s back. The Zotac VR Go’s hot swappable batteries will allow you around two hours of gaming in virtual reality.

The system runs whisper smooth, and the connections and setup are effortless. If you’re looking for a VR backpack PC for gaming, the VR Go is a reasonable choice.

Other Impressions

One disadvantage of the VR Go is that the 250 GB of storage space is hardly suitable for modern games. The case is also rather light, being made of simple plastic. Since the system uses the original Vive cables, and since these are rather long, these cables tend to hang behind you as you use this Zotac VR backpack. The price is also significantly higher than other VR PCs on the market. The weight is the real issue with this backpack, since it weighs in at 4.2 kg, and this can be quite heavy if you’re playing some enthusiastic and energetic VR game.

Click here for the best Zotac VR Go prices


Those are some of the top backpack PCs on the market

Each has different specifications, and while some have the advantage of a lower price, others are more professional workstations that could carry a heavier load.

Still others have been designed with light weight in mind, which makes them far easier to use than the heavier backpack PCs.

Weigh the specifications of each model to choose the one that you like best.