BigScreen is one of the best virtual desktop VR applications on the market and it provides a robust suite of features including a multi-user social environment for sharing your desktop, voice chat, head-tracked avatars, and more. But one big and often requested feature was missing from the experience: the ability to hear another user’s desktop audio.
This was a major roadblock because if I wanted to show you a video, a movie, a game, or anything else with sound, I couldn’t do that because the sound wouldn’t play from my desktop to your speakers in BigScreen, until now. Today, an update is releasing that will finally debut this feature, which the team is referring to as “Desktop Audio Streaming.”
The feature is designed so that the sound and visual feedback is seamless and integrated. There’s no garbled audio and it’s positioned so that it sounds just like you’re really sitting in a room and looking at the same screen together.
“Desktop Audio Streaming works with any desktop audio your PC is playing, except the audio of BigScreen itself,” explained Darshan Shankar, CEO and Co-Founder of BigScreen. “We call this the ‘echo problem.’ In BigScreen’s multiplayer rooms (up to 4 people), your PC will be playing microphone audio from other people in the room. When streaming your desktop audio, you don’t want to send that microphone audio back to other people. Otherwise, they would hear themselves! So we strip out BigScreen’s audio and only send the audio of all the other apps on your PC.”
Having this feature back in May would have made UploadVR’s past Overwatch in BigScreen party a lot better. I guess that means we have to do another one?
There is one major limitation, however. Only the host of the room in BigScreen will have their audio streamed. This is to prevent people from randomly joining rooms and playing loud music or videos just to troll people. But if you want to switch who is sharing something, it does mean you’ll need to make a new room.
By allowing for connected desktop audio streaming, BigScreen is finally starting to more fully realize that “VR LAN party” promise that was described when they first launched on Steam three months ago.
For more details on how to stream your desktop audio to other users in your room while using BigScreen, you can read this Reddit post by Shankar. You can download the program, which receives this new update today, on Steam right now.