Is your office too small for your Vive or Rift? No room to move around? Consider moving your VR setup to your living room. Now you have plenty of space for VR but your office no longer has a PC.
Luckily there is a better solution. You can extend the cables on your PC so that you can setup your Rift or Vive in another room and share your PC with your office. Now you can have the best of both worlds – plenty of space for VR and your PC stays where you need it.
This gives you all sorts of solutions:
- VR in your living room without a PC
- Setting up VR in your basement or garage
- Moving VR to a room where you have free space
- Using your VR PC in your office
- Sharing your dedicated VR PC
Extending your PC allows you to use your expensive VR PC wherever you want.
The key to extending your VR system is literally extending the wires. We need to make all the cables connected to your PC longer. The best way to do this is with Ethernet extenders that will transmit an HDMI or USB signal over Ethernet. This allows fewer and smaller cables to be run over longer distances than normally possibly with HDMI or USB. The Ethernet plugs have much smaller connectors than HDMI and require smaller holes to route them through a wall or ceiling.
A note that these extenders are normally not network devices, the extenders have to be wired directly to each other with no switches or routers in between.
There are two ways to solve your wiring problem and it’s ultimately a question of where you want your PC. The simplest path is to leave your PC right next to your Vive or Rift and then extend the cables to your monitor, keyboard, and mouse to another room. This method has less wires to extend and keeps your VR setup simple. It allows for more space in your office but may place your PC right in your primary living space.
The alternative method is to keep your PC in another room and extend all the VR cables to your VR space. This can be a little trickier but will keep your VR space a lot tidier.
Extend Your Monitor
Extending your monitor may be your easiest solution depending on what you need to extend and how far you need to go.
The best case scenario is if you’re only going to the next room over or possibly directly below or above your PC. A wireless keyboard, mouse, and headphones should have no problem punching through a single wall or ceiling. In this case you will only need an HDMI extender for your monitor.
Stray too much further and you’ll encounter a lot of frustration trying to use a wireless mouse. If you need to extend further distances you will need to add an extra USB extender for peripherals.
HDMI Over Cat 6 Extender – This will take your HDMI signal from your PC and run it over Cat 6 directly to your monitor. It handles 1920 x 1080 at 60 frames a second with no problem. Grab some Cat 6 cabling and don’t mix up the receiver and transmitter.
Remember, don’t send this signal through a switch, go direct – transmitter to receiver.
If this extender uses the one HDMI port you were using for your Rift or Vive then switch over to your DisplayPort. If you need a DisplayPort to HDMI adapter make sure you get an active version.
USB Over Cat 6 Extender - This takes all of your USB devices and sends them over Ethernet to your PC. There are cheaper versions available for single devices but this one is bulletproof.
I prefer these Ethernet extenders since Ethernet plugs are much smaller than HDMI connectors and require smaller holes to route them through a wall or ceiling. If you’re not worried about larger cables you can purchase active HDMI and USB extension cables that will get you the same result.
Extend Your VR System
Extending your VR system can be a little tricky due to the number and complexity of cables involved. It’s still possible and uses a lot of the same hardware described above. The critical criteria is making sure your HDMI cable can handle the high throughput video signal and that your USB cables can handle the pass through or tracking camera throughput.
Since Ethernet extenders can be touchy with higher bandwidth signals it’s recommended to only use active HDMI and USB cables when extending a headset. This will ensure the video signal arrives undistributed and without lag. Unfortunately this means the connectors will much larger and if you’re going through a wall or ceiling you’ll need a bigger hole.
Extending the Vive
Extending the Vive is relatively straightforward, the key is to keep the link box with the headset and extend the USB and HDMI cables that run to the link box.
Finding a good cable can be a little challenging as many don’t work the way they are advertised. The /r/vive wiki has a great guide on cables that have been tested.
Active HDMI cable – Tested and approved, this is your best bet for a clean video signal to your Vive. Monoprice builds great cables for a reasonable price.
Active USB cable – This is an active USB 2.0 cable that has been tested and is working with normal camera operation. Vetted and approved.
Extending the Rift
Extending the Rift is a little bit trickier as the headset and sensors are very particular about the PC port and extension cable used. There are mixed reports about active and passive cables working.
The /r/oculus wiki has a good guide on cables that have been tested and are working but most are on the short side. Proceed at your own risk.
You’ll need to extend at least one USB cable for the headset and one for the sensor. One more cable may be required for the controller and you’ll need to add cables down the road if you add more sensors for Touch.
HDMI Extension Cable – Tested and approved, this should give you the best reach and deliver a clean signal to the headset.
Headset USB Extension Cable – This is an active USB 3.0 extension cable that has been tested and confirmed as working with the headset.
Sensor USB Extension Cable – Another active USB 3.0 cable, you may be able to get away with USB 2.0 for the sensor but it’s better to err on the side of caution.