Virtual reality could spell the end of the traditional home cinema, and it’s easy to see why. VR is both better at immersing viewers in the action, while simultaneously being available at a much lower cost. There’s also no need to dedicate masses of space to enjoy the technology, while its diversity means users can play games, watch movies or even learn real life skills. So how does one build the ultimate VR cinema?
Building a VR cinema isn’t without its drawbacks. Unlike a traditional home cinema, it’s unlikely that VR is going to be particularly social. That means those who love socialising and having their friends around for a movie night, VR is probably not going to be the ideal solution. It does have the advantage of allowing users to interact with each other remotely, however.
So what exactly is needed in order to get started with a VR cinema? Well, read on and find out…
What Sort Of Room Is Needed For A VR Cinema?
Unlike a traditional home cinema, a massive amount of space isn’t required to build a VR cinema. In fact, users who want the essentials will only need room for one comfortable chair. That means it’s not always necessary to dedicate an entire room to VR experiences – although by not doing so, it severely limits the things that can be achieved. For example, this setup would only enable seated VR experiences, and not offer the ability to move around freely or play games.
So what sort of size would be required to enable room-scale VR in which the user can walk around and play games? Well, anything up to 3m by 3m is recommended for the HTC Vive, with a minimum play area of 1.5m by 2m required. Rooms with traditional home theatres often eclipse this size – easily. In fact, the minimum size required is around the same size as the average UK bathroom.
It’s not just about the area of the room either. For a decent VR room, height also needs to be considered. HTC requires users to mount the motion trackers diagonally and above head height, with a recommended height of above 2m. That should be relatively easy in most homes.
The type of furniture in a VR room heavily depends on what sort of set up users want. There are a number of accessories that users can acquire to maximise their enjoyment of VR, although none are necessary. In fact, VR often works better in a completely bare room – as it means users won’t be constantly bumping into objects. If it’s a movie that a user wants to watch, then simply a comfortable chair should suffice.
What Headset Is Needed For A VR Cinema?
Thanks to VR being the current hottest trend in the technology industry, consumers are literally spoilt for choice when it comes to hardware solutions for their VR room. There is a distinct gap between many of these solutions, however. Some require high-powered PCs and an array of sensors, while others simply require a smartphone and a VR headset. Here are our highlights:
What Gaming PC Is Needed For A VR Cinema?
For those wanting either an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, a high-end gaming PC will be required. While there are literally countless options to choose from, users will need to bear in mind that their PC will be required to support VR gaming – something that is only supported on the highest end of the spectrum.
In terms of specification, HTC recommends a minimum specification of the Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 or AMD Radeon R9 290 (or better) for the GPU, an Intel Core i5-4590 or AMD FX 8350 (or better) for the CPU, and at least 4GB of RAM.
That’s the minimum specification, so in order to future proof, it’s recommended to go all out. Currently, the recommended graphics card for VR and 4K gaming is the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080, which costs upwards of £400. Add a top-of-the-line CPU, such as the Intel Core i7 7700K, then just two components can cost users over £700. Other components that will be needed include RAM, motherboard, PSU, case and cooling – all which add to the overall cost.
What Accessories Are Needed For A VR Cinema?
To get the most out of VR, users will want to consider acquiring some key accessories to go inside their VR cinema. These can include everything from a flying simulator to a simple box for enabling wireless connectivity.
Which Software Can Be Used In The Ultimate VR Cinema?
Software is going to be an important aspect of the VR cinema. If users want to watch movies, then it’s likely that they want to access a media server or streaming service like Netflix. If they want to play games, then what are the key games currently available on the various platforms?