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ICVR, LLC Established to Create Standard for VR Headset Connectivity

Industry Standard Based on DisplayPort over USB-C Will Accelerate Growth of VR Ecosystem

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – May 30, 2017 – ICVR, LLC has been founded by LG Electronics, Analogix Semiconductor, Tencent, and Dell to develop the Interface for Connected VR (ICVR™) standard, which defines how virtual reality source (VRS) devices, such as smartphones, PCs and other consumer electronics, connect and interoperate with head-mounted displays (HMD).
An open industry standard for virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR) headset connectivity based on DisplayPort™ over USB-C™, ICVR carries high quality multi-channel audio, high-definition video, and the head tracking measurement data required to render the virtual environment between the VRS and the HMD. Industry standard content protection technology is also available. Separating the VR source device from the head-mounted display means that the VR HMD has no heavy battery, no warm CPU, and no transmitting radio next to the user’s head. This allows manufacturers to optimize the headset for high-performance, comfortable and immersive VR experience. The ICVR standard also simplifies mobile device architectures by removing the burden of more expensive screens and sensors required for phone-based VR applications.
“The ICVR connectivity standard allows interoperability between devices from different manufacturers of VR solutions and will give consumers confidence that their VR headsets will work with any ICVR compliant smartphones or PCs. That is, a VR source device from one manufacturer will work with a VR or AR headset from another manufacturer,” said Ramchan Woo, vice president, new product development at LG Electronics. “This will drive an increased level of investment in VR products by hardware manufacturers, developers, and content creators, bringing more applications and an improved VR user experience to consumers.”
The universality of USB Type-C eliminates proprietary protocols and connectors, which is beneficial for the entire VR ecosystem.
“VR solutions available in the market today are all proprietary so they don’t interoperate with each other. DisplayPort over USB-C carries the power, data, and high-definition video/audio needed to drive a high-quality VR headset in a single, thin and light, standard cable,” said Dr. Ning Zhu, Chief Technology Officer for Analogix. “We are going to see a whole new category of innovative high-performance, lightweight, and affordable HMDs come to market powered by a connected VR smartphone or PC. The ICVR connectivity standard allows VR HMD makers to tap into the existing USB Type-C ecosystem, benefiting from mobile devices that already support DisplayPort over USB-C and accessories such as extended cables and adapters to older interfaces.”
“Part of our leadership role is to help the industry define and drive open standards for technologies that can lead to better VR/AR/MR experiences. Connecting and powering a VR headset environment today involves multiple cables; our goal is to leverage a single cable connectivity solution that can simplify set-up and maintain the necessary performance and quality,” said Liam Quinn, CTO at Dell.
The ICVR specification will be available for adopters who join ICVR, LLC in Q3 2017. Organizations interested in learning more about ICVR and how to become an adopter should send an email to: adopter@icvrllc.org.
About ICVR, LLC
ICVR, LLC oversees and manages the development, adoption, and promotion of the ICVR Specification. The ICVR Specification was developed by LG Electronics, Analogix Semiconductor, Tencent, and Dell as an open standard for virtual reality headset connectivity. ICVR, LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Analogix Semiconductor, Inc. For more information visit www.icvrllc.org, follow us on Twitter @ICVRLLC, or connect with us on LinkedIn.
ICVR™ is a trademark or registered trademark of ICVR, LLC. All other trademarks and trade names are the property of their respective owners.

FAQ

Yes, many other standards are being created for the software interfaces at various levels within the VR platform. However, the hardware interface between the rendering device and the headset is still proprietary for each VR solution vendor, so that components from different vendors are unlikely to interoperate. ICVR solves this by standardizing on the USB-C connector. It defines the VR display-related parameters in EDID/DID and the configuration and control mechanism for VR capability exchange and activation. ICVR also defines the video and head tracking protocols needed to ensure that a rendering device from one manufacturer will interoperate with a headset from another manufacturer.
The ICVR standard strictly adheres to relevant standards from both VESA and the USB-IF, such as standardizing on the USB-C connector, DisplayPort over USB-C, and USB data. Those standards bodies have a large membership which can result in a long development and ratification time. ICVR, LLCis leveraging existing standards to speed up this development process as well as developing new standards alongside existing ones to ensure that devices will interoperate when connected using a USB-C cable.For example, in order to ensure that a rendering device (smartphone/tablet, PC, game console, etc.) from one manufacturer will interoperate with a headset from another manufacturer, additional parameters are defined, such as VR display-related parameters in EDID/DID. It is ICVR, LLC’s goal that the EDID/DID parameters that will be extended and defined for VR displays by the VESA AR/VR SIG will be consistent with or a superset of the EDID/DID parameters that are defined in the ICVR standard.
The ICVR standard strictly adheres to relevant standards from both VESA and the USB-IF, such as standardizing on the USB-C connector, DisplayPort over USB-C, and USB data. However, ICVR defines additional parameters and protocols, such as
- VR display-related parameters in EDID/DID
- Configuration and control mechanisms for VR capability exchange and activation
- Video and head tracking protocols required to ensure that a rendering device from one manufacturer will interoperate with a headset from another manufacturer
The ICVR standard complies with DisplayPort over USB-C and ICVR, LLCwill not create a new USB Type-C Alternate Mode.There are additional DisplayPort and USB transactions in the ICVR standard, but they comply with DisplayPort over USB-C Alternate Mode.
ICVR intends to comply with the requirements of Microsoft Holographic and Google Cardboard. In the future consumers will expect these and other VR platforms to interoperate, which is the goal of ICVR. ICVR will enable a consistent performance across various devices so that consumers can be sure devices they purchase will work together. This will be ensured by comprehensive compliance and interoperability test procedures.
ICVR is an open standard. As such, with appropriate software and hardware, including a USB Type-C connector, any phone or PC can be made to work with ICVR-compliant headsets.
ICVR focuses on the mechanical connectivity of devices using the widely adopted USB Type-C connector and its DisplayPort Alternate Mode. Leading VR device makers may choose proprietary cables in order to achieve higher performance in their system. However, those solutions will only get broad mainstream adoption if they also work on a mainstream connector. As such, ICVR will be a valuable connectivity solution for any leading VR device maker.
ICVR intends to finalize a specification before the end of 2017. When that happens, ICVR will announce the availability of the specification to Adopters. At that time, any company can become an Adopter by executing the Adopters Agreement and proceed to develop products using the standard. ICVR, LLC will arrange interoperability tests so that devices from different vendors can be tested with each other.
Adopters can access the ICVR specification by signing the ICVR Adopters Agreement and submitting the annual membership dues similar to other industry working groups. ICVR, LLC will determine the terms of use for the ICVR specification based on potential intellectual property (IP) contribution from the ICVR founders.
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