On May 31st, Oculus introduced an update to its mobile app, allowing users to stream/project from their Gear VR devices to a nearby television using Chromecast. This has been a long-time feature request, and actually precedes a planned update to Google Daydream to allow for streaming/projecting. What does this mean for InstaVR users? Your Gear VR apps can now be simultaneously viewed in headset and on screen. Below we detail how to use this feature and why it is important.
Please note that this chromecast feature is ready for Android 7 Nougat only, and the Oculus app updates are rolled out gradually. Please wait for OS and Oculus app updates if you can not do it.
What does it mean to stream/project/mirror from a Gear VR headset?
As we’ve discussed before, we’re big fans of using the Gear VR headset + compatible phones for a wide variety of use cases. However, one drawback of the technology was an inability to mirror the Gear VR experience onto a second screen. This isn’t something you would deal with if using Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, as they’re tethered headsets that could project to a screen easily using cords. The desire has always been to use a casting-type approach, similar to the popular Chromecast dongle, which allows purchasers to mirror their laptop screens or cast media from their smartphones.
This new functionality released by Oculus solves the aforementioned problems and makes the Gear VR platform even more valuable.
What types of InstaVR customers can see the most value from this?
The reasons for publishing to Gear VR are varied, as are the benefits to streaming using Chromecast. Let’s just look at a few of the use cases and discuss the ROI of using the combined Gear VR + Oculus app + television + Chromecast.
Tradeshow – Gear VRs are tremendously valuable at tradeshows and conferences. They’re easy to transport and easy to use, plus a lot more affordable than HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. To generate foot traffic to your booth, it’s great to stream what users are seeing on their headsets to a television. It would give potential users of your VR app a preview of why they should spend time in line waiting to experience your InstaVR-published app in a headset.
Sales Presentation – If doing a sales presentation to a group, it may not be feasible to pass around a Gear VR headset to everyone. But using the new Chromecast feature allows all present to get an idea of what your virtual environment is like. This is also particularly valuable if people in your audience may get motion sickness from wearing a headset.
Educational Presentations – Educational institutions have financial limitations that often prohibit them from purchasing too many Gear VR headsets. If you’ve created an education VR app — say, a virtual tour of the Taj Mahal — you can quickly and succinctly present your app with not everyone needing a headset.
Real Estate – As potential home buyers take virtual home tours, they’ll often have specific questions. But without being able to see what the home buyer is seeing, it’s hard for the agent to communicate effectively with the Gear VR wearer. Streaming using Chromecast overcomes this issue, and allows for better communication during the virtual tour experience.
How to Stream Your InstaVR App from Your Gear VR Headset to a Television.
Things you’ll need:
Gear VR compatible Android phone, a Gear VR headset, your InstaVR-generated app downloaded to the Android phone, the Oculus app running on your Android phone, a television, and an internet connection.
Steps You’ll Take:
- Download your InstaVR-authored app to your Samsung phone. Click here to learn how to author that app.
- Plug your Chromecast dongle into the television you’d like to cast to.
- Using the downloaded Oculus mobile app, select the Cast button, with your named television as the selected destination.
- After you’ve done that, just launch your InstaVR-generated app, place the phone in the Gear VR headset, and enjoy your VR experience as audiences get to follow along on your journey!