HTC Vive goes wireless with Tpcast add-on


— 10:00 AM on November 11, 2016

Let's cut right to the chase. HTC and its partner TPCast want to chop all the cables connecting Vive headsets to host PCs. The companies announced an add-on to allow for tether-free operation of HTC Vive headsets at Alibaba's Shopping Festival in Shenzhen, China. In a phone interview with UploadVR, an HTC spokesman said the add-on would "greatly improve" the VR experiences with the Vive and made "no noticeable difference" with respect to latency. The included headset-mounted battery pack is said to provide enough power for about 90 minutes of use. A larger battery intended for for stowage in a shirt pocket will be offered in the future.

The tether-free kit should help provide room-scale VR experiences with no risk of tripping over headset cables, and could substantially increase the appeal and safety of using multiple headsets in a shared space. This enhancement can also help the Vive compete against the already-wireless VR experiences provided by mobile devices like Samsung's Gear VR and Google's DayDream VR platforms. The availability of wireless kits for high-end VR headsets likely also jeopardizes the emerging category of "VR backpack" computer systems like the MSI VR One we reported on earlier this morning.

HTC is accepting pre-orders for the TPCast Vive wireless kit (pre-release version) on its Chinese website. The device costs ¥1500, the equivalent of $220. According to UploadVR, individuals around the globe can pre-order the tether-free kit from China and pay for shipping, but buyers who provide a serial number from their Vive headset will receive preferential treatment in the order fulfillment queue.

 
   
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