Oculus Rift will soon let you broadcast your VR antics live on Facebook

If you like an audience for your virtual reality antics, then you’ll doubtless be pleased to learn that the Oculus Rift is about to offer all users the ability to livestream to Facebook.

Yes, the first update of 2019 for the Oculus Rift– which is available on the public test channel now, and will roll out later in January for everyone – introduces streaming to Facebook Live, assuming that the game or app you are running supports the feature.

Your Facebook audience will see exactly what you’re experiencing in virtual reality with a live broadcast. The caveat, as mentioned, is that developers have to opt-in and support the live streaming feature for their apps.

Currently, hundreds of apps apparently have support ready to roll, and they include Echo VR, VR Sports Challenge, and Wild West shooter Dead & Buried.

If you want to show off to your friends, family, or anyone else who cares to watch, simply head to the Dash Menu when you’re in VR and hit the Livestream to Facebook button. It’s as easy as that.

Virtual housekeeping

Oculus is also introducing Public Homes with this update, and as the name suggests, this means you can open your VR Home to visitors by flicking a switch to make it public.

Users will be given recommendations of Public Homes they might want to visit, and the idea is to make it easy to find folks who share your interests. And of course you may get some inspiration for how to do-up your own VR space by looking at other people’s homes.

Public Homes will arrive with a raft of tools to manage your privacy and give you control over the guest list of visitors, so you can decline a request to look at your space, or indeed disable the public option entirely, should you think better of it down the line.

Furthermore, it’s possible to report any abuse you get from visitors intent on griefing and the like, and you can mute them, too, if necessary.

As with Facebook livestreaming, this is still in beta and only available to testers right now, with a broader rollout to the general Oculus Rift population expected later in January.

  • Which is the best VR headset? HTC Vive vs Oculus Rift

Via Engadget

TV makers are finally thinking outside the box

How much have TVs really changed in the last few decades? 

While we’ve seen incredible enhancements in picture quality, pixel density, color gamuts and panel technology over the years, there’s only so much the humble television has been able to change about its shape. 

Sure, TVs are generally slimmer, wider, and with an average picture quality we could only have dreamed of when flat screen televisions first hit the market. At the end of the day, though, you’re looking at the same old rectangles we had in the 00s and 90s. 

It’s only now that TV manufacturers have the sophisticated manufacturing to offer something new, and our time at CES 2019, the world’s largest tech expo, has shown us that the air is buzzing with TV revolution.

Roll, fold, and click into place

The TVs of tomorrow are increasingly experimenting with new shapes, sizes, and forms.

We were struck by the LG Signature Series OLED R, a rollable television that unfurls out of a box at the touch of a button, offering practical use of space and an innovative form factor far beyond the rest of its OLED TV range.

LG Signature Series OLED R

LG Signature Series OLED R, all rolled out

Samsung, meanwhile, has been showing off the latest version of its modular MicroLED panel technology. Consisting of millions of tiny LEDs that can be turned on and off individually, in a detachable lattice of screens that can come apart for a personalized size and shape, this tech offers a whole new way of looking at your television and the ways it can fit into your home.

There’s a whopping 219-inch model called The Wall, while a comparatively compact 75-inch version – one you might actually be able to fit into your living room – is branded as The Window. 

As astronomically large as these sets may seem to some, the modular nature of Samsung’s panels will give you a lot of leeway as to the actual size of your television. Why not a 40-inch set when half-watching Youtube videos, and an 75-inch set for big sports matches or 4K films?

Samsung’s Wall and Window may not have confirmed release dates, but are likely only a year or so away from release – while LG’s rollable OLED is set to hit the market in the second half of 2019. These technologies are imminent, and could truly shake up our expectations of what a television should be.

Samsung The Wall

Samsung’s 219-inch The Wall, in all its super-size glory

Thank you, next

Of course, it’s easy to dismiss either rollable or modular televisions as a gimmick. Whether or not your TV rolls, folds, or crumbles into little pieces, you’ll be using it for the same thing, in the same way: staring at a box. And use of these new technologies will, for the near future, likely be restricted to those with a lot of cash to burn.

In the next decade, though, as flexible screen technologies get progressively cheaper to manufacture, we could well see folding, rolling, and modular screens trickle down into more mid-range, mainstream televisions – just as we’re seeing with the advent of 4K resolution, smart TV platforms, or even QLED panels.

And when we get to that stage, there’s no telling how new screen technologies could change the way we watch and interact with our televisions. 

In the middle of a Netflix episode? Why not break off a square from your television to take on the tube? Or tug a flat TV screen into a curved gaming monitor when it gets to the late hours? 

Flexible screens and hardware make for flexible use, and it’s only when these new form factors get widespread that we’ll realise just how much potential they could have.

Until then, our regular old rectangle will have to do.

  • Check out all of TechRadar’s CES 2019 coverage. We’re live in Las Vegas to bring you all the breaking tech news and launches, plus hands-on reviews of everything from 8K TVs and foldable displays to new phones, laptops and smart home gadgets.

Powercast’s over-the-air charging Nintendo Switch Joy-Con grips tease truly wireless power delivery

Truly wireless power delivery has been a dream for basically a century now, and it’s coming to fruition in the strangest of places, like Nintendo Switch controllers. At CES 2019, a company called Powercast has debuted a range of products designed to wirelessly charge your Switch Joy-Con controllers over the air.

Here’s how it works: players connect one of Powercast’s new Powerspot wireless power transmitters to an outlet. This transmitter then creates a short field of radio frequency (RF) around itself – in this case up to two feet, but Powercast claims it can broadcast up to 80 feet of RF with the Powerspot.

Finally, you attach a either a single Nintendo Switch Joy-Con controller to a horizontal grip or two Joy-Cons to a more traditional grip accessory that looks a lot like the one included in the Nintendo Switch box. However, here’s the difference: these grip accessories contain a Powercast development known as the Powerharvester receiver as well as an additional battery.

When within two feet of the transmitter, the controller grip will automatically charge by converting that RF field into DC power, topping off the Joy-Con(s) within as it goes. With this method, Powercast promises up to 38 hours of use from your Joy-Con controllers when attached.

Of course, an LED on the grips illuminates both when it first begins wirelessly charging and when it’s topped off.

Baby steps toward truly wireless charging for all

It’s odd to see one of the first consumer applications of truly wireless charging in something as inconspicuous as dinky video game controllers. But, perhaps that’s the necessary proving ground for such a groundbreaking technology.

While we would have loved to have been able to play with Powercast’s Joy-Con grips while they’re charging, we’ll take this baby step toward that dream.

The true power of this development is that the Powerspot product is completely agnostic to whatever it delivers power to, allowing Powercast to develop any number of products in tandem with it, all within the Powerspot’s 80-foot theoretical range of RF field transmission.

It’s currently unknown how much the Powerspot and its accompanying Nintendo Switch Joy-Con charging grips will cost. However, Powercast is aiming for a Q3 2019 (between July and September) release for all three products, which will be bundled as well as sold separately.

Check out all of TechRadar’s CES 2019 coverage. We’re live in Las Vegas to bring you all the breaking tech news and launches, plus hands-on reviews of everything from 8K TVs and foldable displays to new phones, laptops and smart home gadgets.

Intel’s latest drive combines Optane memory with a boatload of SSD storage

Intel Optane storage was arguably too ahead of its time, with 3D XPoint memory that was incredibly fast but far too limited in storage capacity. Now, at CES 2019, Intel may have solved this bugbear with its latest Optane Memory H10 module.

This seemingly normal M.2 SSD drive pictured combines a tiny amount of Intel Optane memory with a large dollop of QLC 3D NAND storage.

There are currently three models of Intel’s Optane Memory H10: 16GB (Optane) + 256GB (QLC); 32GB (Optane) +512GB (QLC); and 32GB (Optane) + 1TB (QLC).

With this type of mash up, the Intel Optane Memory H10 module effectively gives you the best of both worlds, with extremely fast Optane memory having enough capacity for more than just your operating system.

Intel tells us that, in most OEM prebuilt systems and laptops, the Intel Optane Memory H10 will be preconfigured to look like a single device. 

Builders, on the other hand, may see the unit as two distinct storage drives but, once enabled, the Intel Optane Memory driver and Intel Rapid Storage Technology Driver will combine the two drives and present the Intel Optane Memory H10 as a single storage device in your PC.

We’ve have requested for comment from Intel on whether the Optane Memory built inside the drive can also be used to speed up spinning hard drives, and will update this story as soon as we know more.

  • Want more CES 2019 highlights? TechRadar is hands-on with 8K TVs and foldable, rollable displays, along with new laptops and Alexa-enabled smart gadgets. Check out everything we’ve seen, live from Las Vegas!