Are current headsets good enough to use as a Desktop monitor?

The question often arises as to whether we can practically use the current HMD headsets as a replacement for your monitor.  Here’s a table that summarizes the apparent effective resolution of the headset compared to a monitor.


HMD Resolution (K per eye) px/° Apparent Resolution
0.7 x 0.8 (DK1) ~8 160p
1.0 x 1.1 (DK2) ~12 240p
1.1 x 1.2 (CV1 / Vive) ~13.5 270p
1.4 x 1.4 (Gear VR) ~16 320p
2.6 x 2.6 ~34 720p
4.1 x 4.1 ~53 1080p
8.2 x 8.2 ~108 4K

You can see the state of the art is still not sufficient with a 270p apparent resolution.  So how high a resolution do we need to reach in order to be practically usable?

Resolution (per eye) px/° Description
1.1K x 1.2K ~13.5 The Vive and Rift CV1. Like looking at a normal PC monitor with 20:150 vision (20:200 qualifies you as legally blind)
2K x 2K ~25 A 4K HMD. The minimum ‘useful’ level. Not as good as a decent monitor, but has enough advantages to make it worthwhile (e.g. portability, low cost relative to multiple monitors, etc). Imagine a 32″ monitor at 1080p
3K x 3K ~35 About parity with what currently constitutes a high-quality PC monitor (e.g. 23″ FHD, 27″ QHD, 40″ UHD)
5K x 5K ~60 Threshold at which individual pixels can be distinguished by the 20/20 human eye.

This means we need the capability for at least 4k displays with 90Hz to reach consumer headsets before things start being reasonable.  And even then we’re talking about less than 720p effective resolution so it’s still fairly low by modern display standards.

Source:  Reddit (/u/mptp)


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