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Intel takes us into VR at CES 2017: Wednesday, 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET live stream and live blog

On Wednesday, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich will host a press conference all about virtual and so-called "merged" reality.

20160816-idf16-intel-alloy-demo.jpg
A demo of Project Alloy at Intel's developer conference in August.
Stephen Shankland/CNET

Is any of this actually real?

You may find yourself asking just that at Intel's CES 2017 press conference Wednesday, which is billed as "A Virtual Reality Experience."

The event kicks off at 4 p.m. PT in Las Vegas. CNET will be live-blogging there about all the virtual happenings.

Tune into the live blog here.

Intel says CEO Brian Krzanich plans to discuss the potential of VR reaching the mainstream, perhaps extending beyond its early roots in entertainment and gaming to affect businesses, social interaction and plenty more. Krzanich will also talk about "merged reality," Intel's term for a form of AR that can integrate parts of the real world into a virtual one.

The chipmaker is just one of the leading tech companies diving into virtual and augmented reality, with Facebook's Oculus, Google, HTC and Sony all offering VR headsets. Also, Microsoft continues developing HoloLens, an AR headset. Apple CEO Tim Cook has expressed interest in VR and AR, though Apple has yet to come out with a headset.

All these companies are betting VR and AR will become a big industry, helping people immerse themselves in videogames or movies, build AR office spaces and chat virtually with friends. However, the VR and AR market is still tiny today, with most VR headsets costing hundreds of dollars and require many clunky wires that must be connected to expensive desktop PCs.

Intel may discuss its solution to cutting out all those wires at the Wednesday event. The company in August showed off Project Alloy, a prototype headset that's cordless and could be used to power "merged reality" experiences. Intel said it plans to start offering Project Alloy technology to its manufacturing partner in the second half of this year.

There is, of course, reality reality -- but that's been around for a few billion years, so perhaps it's time for an upgrade. We'll see if Intel has one.