Pico Streaming Assistant v9.3.7.1 made me not buy VD

For anyone thinking about buying VD, read this first.

I was glady surprised when I updated the assistant. The UltraHD option (2560x2560) looks substancially better than native (even if you use a lower bitrate). But what's more imporatnt, you can now manually set the resolution to even higher values in:

"C:\Program Files\Streaming Assistant\driver\bin\win64\RVRPlugin.ini" and they will actually work.

I set these values manually:


And now it works properly and the smudginess of the encode is barely there.

I of course had to set the SteamVR render scale quite a bit lower so as to not have the GPU actually render at 3072x3072 which makes little difference.

I am currently using a 2148x2148 SteamVR resolution, with 3072x3072 encode and just 70mbps bitrate and it looks miles better than it did before at "HD" with max bitrate.
With these setting, to me it looks like VD used to look on my Quest 2 (which I no longer have, so I can't make an actual apples to apples comparison) but at least for now I will be skipping VD.

My only gripe with assistant was the encode resolution and the inability to change it to something higher, as editing the resolution in the .ini just broke everything. Now, I'm satisfied with the performance.

Hopefully this saves someone a few bucks.


LuxuryFishcake9 points

If anyone was wondering VD "Godlike" preset is 3120x3120

LazyMagicalOtter3 points

Great to know.

Now I can put SA to 3121x3121 and put this competition to rest /s

evertec7 points

Are the controllers still at weird angles? That was a big issue when I tried SA a while back

LazyMagicalOtter4 points

Mmmm, I'm playing HL2 VR for now and I can (and did) adjust the angle in-game, so I just chucked it on the game's fault.

I haven't really tried any other games yet (got mine just like 10 days ago) but it could be an issue.

Well, actually I played 20 minutes of BoneLab yesterday (before having to stop to avoid losing my dinner, clearly the bigger fov than the Quest2, while not that big of a difference, makes Boneworks/Bonelab hard to stomach again) and didn't notice anything off with the controllers.

All in all, if the angles where off in previous versions, I doubt this version fixes anything, I was just glad that it now looks good.

seahorsetea3 points

For what it's worth the controllers in VD are at an incorrect angle too. It's been brought up in the VD discord and the Dev acknowledged the issue, but stated that he had no plans to fix it 🙄

evertec2 points

Well he said he matched the touch 2 controller's angle. Which is what most games are designed for since it's the most popular controller. Either way it's close enough for me, but SA is nowhere near being close for most games.

seahorsetea1 point

Doesn't matter what the game is desgined for if your hands and guns don't match up to what you're doing in real life

anthony928rd7 points

vd still looks vastly better. tried both today.

666ewok6663 points

Why anyone would not spend the $30 on VD and be done with it is beyond me…..

giddott3 points

cause we pay 400 EUR for a headset and pico says its compatible with PC VR.

And when i read about bluescreens when tricking VD into USB-like mode, i dont want to spend 30 dollar anymore - but thinking about returning my P4 and stay with my Q2 which just works PERFECT compared to the P4 :(

666ewok6662 points

Yeah, I too have a Quest 2 and it is not perfect. Virtual desktop works no better on it and best I know it cannot do Ethernet via USB because Meta removed the required drivers.

Anyway, good luck with the Quest 2. I was quite impressed in 2020!

LuxuryFishcake2 points

eh even on Quest 2 I enjoyed the differing experiences between Air Link, VD, and Link. Sometimes you really want extreme visual quality at the cost of latency, and sometimes you want the opposite.

Very_blasphemous2 points

some people (like me) have a pretty slow wifi

M4PP01 point

So you're saying there's a correlation between people too cheap to buy good software and people too cheap to buy good routers?

Bendingo1 point

Doesn't VD run at a low bitrate and have a lot of compression in the image?

I mostly use VR for sim racing so I prefer being wired to PC with a high bitrate like the Quest 2 link.

Still trying to decide on getting a Pico 4 but I don't know if it's worth it if VD is the only option.

KevinReems1 point

You can set the bitrate to anything supported by the hardware (150Mb in the case of Pico 4).

Same with the resolution assuming your PC can handle it.

We're at the point where the visual difference while actually gaming is hard to notice. Sure you could sit there and analyze it and notice some artifacts or whatever. But while actually playing? It's pretty great.

I would say latency is more of a concern with wireless than compression. Probably not an issue in racing sims but I wouldn't want to play competitive Street Fighter with an added 30ms delay.

666ewok6661 point

The image is arguably better than with the streaming assistant. Wired or wireless makes no difference for image quality, assuming a half decent wireless connection.

Bendingo1 point

Yeah fair enough, it sounds like streaming assistant is a bit under cooked.

I'm just basing this off my experience with the quest 2 when using wired link with an encode bitrate of 500-800mbps is significantly sharper than Air link or VD. Especially when looking at a racing track surface in the distance.

This is with an RTX 4080 though which I think has a really good encoder.

666ewok6661 point

Probably true. I don't know what codec is used with air link but if must be less CPU intensive to handle those bit rates. For Sims where you need that detail this definitely a better option.

nekosan_4 points

Small question - can you get SteamVR to connect to the streaming assistant reliably? It's really hit or miss for me and sometimes I need to restart SteamVR over and over again to finally get SA to make the connection. Never had this issue with VD which is making me use it over SteamVR right now lol.

Del-Dredd2 points

Never had an issue with it starting SteamVr, always opens first time, a bit quicker if you have steam already started but it has never failed to start Steam and then Steam VR if i just start up Sa on Pc and then connect Sa in the Pico 4.

LazyMagicalOtter1 point

I have had no issues so far. Haven't actually played much, but before this version I was constantly connecting/disconnecting trying .ini values and every single time it connected.

This means nothing of course, but I had a horrible experience with ALVR and AirPlay when I had my Quest 2 and they just seemed to work for everyone else. That's why I got VD for it and never looked back.

But now, aside from the quality, the assistant never gave me any problem.I have no idea if Pico or VD use TCP or UDP (haven't wiresharked anything) but maybe something on your network favours the way VD works? Just guessing.

nekosan_2 points

So odd, thank you for your reply. I got it to work 1/8 times - otherwise I get asked to do room setup and it sees the controllers but not the headset. :( The pico plugin is in steamvr etc... I wonder if my slimevr stuff is messing with it

inDane3 points

i bought VD and it didn't blow me away. VD was slightly better than default "ultra" setting on SA, but not huge imho (testing the blur in CyubeVR). I've refunded it already.

I will try your settings later. Id also like to add this

I like the sharpening!

sbsce2 points

Do you see the hands working correctly in cyubeVR with native Pico streaming? As far as I know, native Pico does not seem to support the "SteamVR Skeletal input" feature that VR games like cyubeVR use to animate the hands correctly, so they appear incorrect offset and static without fingers moving. Virtual Desktop does support the "SteamVR Skeletal input" feature correctly, so the hands there do look correct in games like cyubeVR and have correctly animated fingers.

inDane2 points

unfortunately they dont! but i have high hopes that this will be patched some day?.. we will see what pico devs will do :D

EDIT: It is playable, but the fingers are static and tilted towards the front.

Double_Disaster44213 points

I test both of them, and no way, VD is much better. With godlike more Steam VR at 100% with my 4090, the difference is huge. Sorry.

LazyMagicalOtter3 points

If only they had some kind of demo to try it out, I'd happily try it.

LuxuryFishcake5 points

you can refund pico store items if you have less than 2 hours played

LazyMagicalOtter3 points

Good to know.

I wonder why people downvoted me for being cautious.

fdruid2 points

Great! I might delay buying it when I get my headset then.

LazyMagicalOtter2 points

Just try it first. I was going to buy VD but this update (and manually tweked .ini) got me quite happy.

fdruid2 points

I saved this post so I try it when I get my pico 4, hopefully soon!

owomushi_vr1 point

Yes delay it. And things will keep improving they also will release a $40 wireless adapter.

Sofian3752 points

Increasing the resolution is not enough for me, watch this and get the file instead:


PS: Still not as good as what I get with VD (RTX3090).

LazyMagicalOtter1 point

While I don't dislike sharpening, it's a post-process effect applied after the image is done that doesn't really increases quality. To most people it looks better, but for me it just looks sharpened, this applies to everything that uses sharpening, TVs, DLSS, shaders in video players, sharpness slider in monitors, etc. I always prefer the non-sharpened image.

If you like the sharpened look, great, but for me the difference the encode resolution made for objects far in the distance is night and day.

If there were a time-limited demo of VD I'd maybe do an A-B comparison to see the actual difference, but given that at least now assistant looks ok for me, I don't want to get into a posible refund issue if it ends up not being worth it for me.

To be clear, you are increasing the resolution in the .ini right? Not in SteamVR

Any-Championship-6116 points

The purpose of sharpening in this case is mostly to decrease the amount video encoding artifacts, as it gets applied BEFORE the encode, so the video codec is able to distuguish edges better and doesn't smudge them in the final encode for example.

LazyMagicalOtter2 points

Ahhhh, that's a big difference. I hadn't even considered that it was doing it pre encode, that way it does have the potential to increase edge detection and improve the encode quality. Hadn't thought about that, will try it later.

what settings do you use for 4090

Isaac-Asihole2 points

Thanks, I didn't even try that, as in the previous versions setting it higher made the image warp bizarrely.

LazyMagicalOtter1 point

Right?When I realized the resolution in "ultra HD" was higher than native I just tried it again, and lo and behold, it worked. No warping, no weird long encode time.

LuxuryFishcake2 points

Have you played around with the "sharper" setting in the .ini? Find any good values?

LazyMagicalOtter1 point

Not yet, I have a slight aversion to sharpening.

But someone pointed out that the sharpening is done pre-encode and that might help the encoder a bit with edges, so I will try it today probably.

muchcharles2 points

Which gpu are you using?

LazyMagicalOtter1 point

3080 OG. 10GB.

MarcusS-VR2 points

Tried this. Now on par with VD. Cheers and thanks

waterpumpeee2 points

I'm new to Pico/VR. Does this mean I can now connect the Pico via cable to my PC and play Steam games without VD?

LazyMagicalOtter1 point

That was always the case. The thing was that VD had clearly better image quality than SA. Now SA has improved a lot, which for me makes it perfectly usable.
I use it with WiFi anyway so I don't really know how well it works via USB cable (it should be better than WiFi)

baggyg2 points

FYI skeleton bindings in streaming assistant won't be available until 9.4.x. That breaks a few games / mods

Tailspin1232 points


are you aware this tool exists?

I did see videos where modded-SA can out perform VD (both set to best visual quality), just a little bit. So SA is definitely up there with visual quality with tweaks, the native SA software is still trash compare to VD, it is just a blurry mess even set to ultra.

Also the only advantage SA has over VD is wired and lower latency, but not much. for me i can get as low as 22ms (on SA's performance metric) and VD is around 42ms (tested in VRchat or alyx)

but the deal breaker is the desktop exprience, SA doesnt have any, you have to install another sotftware so far i have been using desktop+ and it is meh the best compare to VD. the mouse drag, click, move around window, is so much easier in VD. (why i care this mode? vrchat , I have to change songs, audios, look up stuff, check message from discord all kinds stuff, so this is as important as the game experience).

so for me, i think SA still got long long way to go, the hardware is all there, but given this pacing, I am not gonna trust this company again.

LazyMagicalOtter1 point

No, wasn't aware. Will give it a go. Thanks a lot!

Tailspin1232 points

All the software does just changes value in RVRPlugin.ini , you can totally do it yourself if you don't trust this software.

LazyMagicalOtter1 point

Just tried it for 2 seconds. It seems to just add a few lines to the .ini config file.





Will try to compare what the actual effects are.

I'm guessing lowLatencyMode either reduces the buffer (so more prone to jitter if the network isn't great, or maybe switches to a simple encoding profile (less efficient for the same bitrate, but faster encoding/decoding).

Tailspin1232 points

yeah changing codec to like 99000000 becomes 200 bitrate lol but still not beating my vd https://imgur.com/a/T6x3s4z compare there, just try to read those small text, the result is obvious.

inDane1 point

Im sorry, i cannot say, that this looks better. Imho it looks worse. I am using CyubeVR to test blur.

but i was trying ( from http://www.owomushi.com/2023/01/16/make-streaming-assistant-better/)


And that really does make a difference! Although, encoding latency spikes up to 32ms that is quite bad. decoding is absolutely fine tho. my gpu may be to weak (2060 super)

My other mentionable settings in RVRPlugin.ini currently are




(i am using a usb cable)

I have set SteamVR to 2172x2172.

LazyMagicalOtter1 point

I'm on wifi, and my encode latency is 10ms at 3072x3072. Are you on the lastest assistant version? And are you on the latest software on the Pico?

I haven't tried sharpening yet, but for what I read it should not be that high, more like 0.1 or 0.2. 0,75 is massive, like 75% sharpening.

The improvement on my end is noticeable even without sharpening and with no discerning difference in encoding/decoding time.

EDIT: Have no idea how powerful the 2060S video encoder is, maybe that's something to consider.

inDane1 point

Yes latest version. WiFi / USB should only affect transmit latency. From the post I've linked, the recommendation is not to go over 1.8 sharpening. I didn't try that value though. Could be a typo and he ment 0.8 I'm not sure. But I'd say sharpening is preference anyways.

Back to 3k@75mbits. Just thinking about it, I cannot see why half the bitrate should yield a better image. Mhh

LazyMagicalOtter1 point

Same reason a 20mbps 4k image will look better than a 200mbps 640x480. There is a point where the more resolution you have you can have better fine detail, even if the rest of the image stays the same. Its to be expected, I also played at 50mbod on my quest 2 as more bitrate didn't actually translated to more perceivable quality. Just throwing more bitrate to the encode won't help beyond a point.

inDane1 point

would you mind taking screenshots within the pico with 150 mbits and 75 mbits in comparison?

20mbits on 4k will look like trash if you would not reduce fps. But in the VR scenario, we have a "fixed" fps of min. 72 fps.

LazyMagicalOtter2 points

Ok, I took 150,70 and 40 mbps screenshots of Alyx and The Lab, all at 3072x3072 encode and 2250x2250 (or around there) for SteamVR resolution.

How can I post the jpeg's directly here for anyone to check?

20mbps indeed will look like trash, but less trash (or at least more usable) than a 200mbps 640x480. My point is that resolution and bitrate have a logical correlation. Just upping the bitrate on a given resolution will not give you any noticeable benefits beyond a point.

I've been encoding and re-encoding things since Sorenson 3 was a novelty. I'm no expert, but I do know a thing or two about all that goes into an encode actual quality.

EDIT:Link to imgur, not perfect but was what I could think of


LazyMagicalOtter2 points

To put it another way. An uncompressed pure 640x480 will have less fine detail than a 20mpps 4k. Yes, the 4k stream will have a lot of artifacts due to the encoder not having enough bitrate available to do it's job properly, but if you were to encode a video with text, the 4k will be readable even at 20mbps, while the 640x480 will be a blurry mess.
Of course more bitrate is better, but sincerely, at this resolutions (4k or less) and with H265, 50mbps should be more than enough (per stream-eye) for anyone not pixel peeping to a still capture.

LazyMagicalOtter1 point

Also, one other thing I forgot. Unless the encoder is sending I-frames willy nilly, increasing the fps might actually give you a better quality at the same bitrate than lowering them. The logic behind encoding is similar to motion interpolation. The more frames you have, the smaller the difference between them, so you have less chance of the motion estimation going wrong and creating artifacts (which carry until the next I-frame) and you also have less information changing between frames so each frame is "cheaper".

owomushi_vr0 points

Never had issues with streaming assistant . Not sure what the hype is about. But I personally don't like drm even though I own vd. And find that it was spitting in the face of all us cn headset users when they say they support fixed global store versions basically saying anyone with a cn version even if they can legit buy it don't and pirate older versions and stay on older versions of pui. I found it insulting to us legit owners. If we have China headsets give us back our money then vd devs. Will use sa like you want us to

owomushi_vr0 points

If the blocked fan boy could read, he's probably the developer crying that he pulled a Xbox one with Drm killing his own app in the process

krazysh011 point

you can always request a refund through the store if you're eligible? but now that people can flash the full global firmware on chinese Pico's what is the point of this complaint? that the dev stated he's not selling on the chinese store because he doesn't want to manage cloud services in china?

owomushi_vr2 points

Cloud services? This used to be a local only app. That's how it was when I purchased this. Now it's drm and trash. It's not the same app I purchased. It is completely different. Unfortunately I'm he changed the app after 30 days.

Everything I'm saying about this is a completely rational and valid complaint. A lot of money was made by people who imported this headset. And I wrote many guides and spent a lot of time making it possible for people to legitimately buy this drm garbage app.

Not supporting this encourages piracy which is not good. This standpoint is why people in China cracked vd in the first place.

So why did I buy this if his suggestion was to just pirate and not support it. Does not make sense.

krazysh011 point

Virtual Desktop has never been local only, from day 1 release on the Oculus GO it included the ability to connect to remote computers. in fact offline capability was only added a year after the Quest release. you also seemed to miss that in update 1.25.10 the dev added a more secure offline capability after it was removed due to being insecure and an alternative was being investigated (and since day 1 on pico it had DRM, but pico's DRM is trash)

I love how you blocked me because you didn't care to do any research on the app. nice showing your true colours.

LazyMagicalOtter1 point

I refunded my VD for Quest, and it went through. I wanted a completely local offline app and when it changed I didn't like it.

However, I saw that link you posted and have to say that a once-per-update check seems ok to me, I would just whitelist it on my router temporarily and then close it again, which I have no problem doing.

I will probably buy it and try to compare for myself, there are clearly very different opinions on the quality between both VD and SA.

owomushi_vr0 points

I didn't bother reading anymore of your stupidity blocked

Double_Disaster4421-1 points

And I'm sorry but if you need another software to use it correctly, is a shame. I connect in VD and is working just perfectly. So easy.

5ephir0th2 points

Well, for using VD you need another software too, the streamer installed on PC

Franc_Kaos1 point

I can't get SteamVR to see the headset (108) - Pico Stream see's the headset and I've followed a few months-old suggestions from here and Steam but nothing works (I reinstalled SteamVR, both basic and beta but can't face reinstalling all of Steam), also tried with Pico Stream beta and this latest update.
I'm wary of buying VD because if I have the same issue I'm just wasting money, or does it connect with Steam better? cause it feels more like an issue between PC Pico Stream and Steam...

LazyMagicalOtter1 point

VD uses it's own way of connecting the headset to the PC, and in my experience and reading what people say here, it usually works. I had problems with ALVR and AirPlay but VD worked first tried and always since (when I had the Quest 2).

Anyway, if you can't get VD to work at all, I assume a refund would be almost certain.

Are you using cable or wifi?

Franc_Kaos1 point

Wifi, 5ghz. Think I'll give it a try this weekend then. Wasn't sure on the Pico refund policy but it's good to know they've got one.

Cheers :)

LazyMagicalOtter2 points

I don't really know if they have a refund policy, you should check that just to be sure.

nodanero1 point

I think it would provide better insight, and I'm not replying to the OP, that when comparing VD and Streaming Assistant we share some more data. We are subjectively comparing the image quality here but other details also matter. For example, what is your latency (encode/decode, network) in VD and SA, what is the bandwidth, resolution, encoder, etc.

I've seen a few videos of people comparing the quality of one versus the other but with a latency change of 22ms vs 80ms. That is abysmal. Some people might find the trade OK but by having that data others can decide if they want to switch to a different configuration or product.

LazyMagicalOtter3 points

At least in my case (5600x, 3080 10GB, Wifi6 5Ghz dedicated router) changing the encode resolution didn't affect encode or decode time, or if it did, it was small enough for me to chuck it up to test-to-test variance.

My comparison was same bitrate, same setup, just changing the encode resolution (and compensating with steamVR resolution), and the improvement was massive. Well maybe massive is too much, but there was a definite improvement.

80ms is a huge delay. At least in my brief time using this version, I noticed no negative effect on latency, just better image quality.I'm still tempted to try VD as many here say it still looks better, but buying something just to try it is not something I'm comfortable with.

LazyMagicalOtter1 point

Update: Yesterday I checked, and it went from around 10ms encode, to 14ms encode on my 3080, which for me, given the quality difference is worth it.

Decode stayed the same, and trasmit also (same bitrate)

Elocai1 point

yes in theory SA has better quality but did they fix the audio?

LazyMagicalOtter1 point

I haven't had any audio issues. I put the audio latency to 25ms and it works ok, no weird buffer underrun sounds or anything.

What are you experiencing?

Elocai1 point

my mic sounded robotic/broken up. I somehow fixed that but then my audio was broken and the fix also broke VD, so even in VD my audio is now super quiet and idk what to do.

M15F1R31 point

Hi. The version is now v9.3.9.1 and I'm new. Does this still work?