On October 27, 2022
We love the Pico 4, it’s undoubtedly one of the best standalone VR headsets that you can buy today.
Its main weakness, however, is its relatively small game library when compared to headsets like the Meta Quest 2.
If you have a gaming PC, the good news is that you can use the Pico 4 to play almost any VR game imaginable.
Here’s how to get it working.
How to connect the Pico 4 to a PC via USB
In our testing, the most reliable and consistent method of connection was with a USB cable.
We used a 5m USB-C cable from Syntech that’s designed for use with the Quest 2. Since the USB port is positioned similarly, it works flawlessly with the Pico 4 and comes at an excellent price.
To hook it up, simply connect the type-A end to a USB 3.0 or higher port on your PC, these typically have blue plastic on the inside of the port. Then connect the USB-C end to the headset.
We like to use the included velcro cable tidy to add strain relief to the connection and also route the cable behind us. Thread the strap around the Pico 4’s headband, give a little bit of slack so as not to strain the USB-C port, and cinch it down tight.
Next, you’ll need to install Pico’s Streaming Assistant app on your PC, which can be downloaded from the brand’s website here.
Once installed, open the app and choose USB connection. Click the settings cog at the top right and change your display mode to HD to ensure that you’re getting the best quality.
Put on your Pico headset, go to your Library, select apps, and open Streaming Assistant.
Click the connect button next to your PC’s name on the right-hand side, then you should be ready to play.
How to connect the Pico 4 to a PC wirelessly
If you have a fast enough router, you can stream PC VR games over Wi-Fi and do away with wires entirely. You might want to check out our guide to the best wireless routers if you’re in need of an upgrade.
Pico also plans to launch a £50 / €50 USB dongle that will allow for Wi-Fi direct connection to PC, which could be the most cost-effective method for those with sub-par networking hardware. However, this is not yet available, at the time of writing.
Currently, there are two ways to use the Pico 4 wirelessly, and we’ll detail them below. For both methods, you’ll want to have your PC connected to your router via an ethernet cable and the Pico connected on the 5Ghz Wi-Fi band for the best results.
With Virtual Desktop
If you want the best quality wireless experience with the Pico 4, you’ll want to invest in some software called Virtual Desktop. It’s available through the Pico store and costs around £15.
The advantage of using Virtual Desktop over Steaming Assistant lies in its configurability, it allows you to select higher bitrates and render resolutions, which provides higher fidelity results in the headset.
After you have installed Virtual Desktop on your Pico headset, you will need to install the Virtual Desktop Streamer app on your PC. You can download that from Virtual Desktop’s website.
Open the Streamer app on your PC. You’ll be asked to enter your Pico username, or you can add multiple, but each user will require their own copy of Virtual Desktop.
Then, back in the headset, open Virtual Desktop and you should see your computer’s name in the right-hand menu.
Just hit connect, and you’re good to go.
Within Virtual Desktop you’ll have a tonne of settings that you can adjust to improve your results, it’s impossible to say what will work best with your PC and network hardware, but it’s worth experimenting.
With Streaming Assistant
Connecting via Steaming Assistant works in mostly the same way as it does with a wired connection. It’s less configurable, but perhaps most importantly, it’s free.
First, you’ll want to open Streaming Assistant on your PC, but select Wi-Fi rather than USB at startup.
You may need to lower some settings to enable smooth streaming over Wi-Fi, but that all depends on your home network.
Then, open Streaming Assistant on your Pico 4, find your PC in the list on the right and hit connect.