HTC Vive goes wireless with Tpcast add-on

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.

Comments closed
    • psuedonymous
    • 3 years ago

    From [url=http://www.tpcast.cn/transvr.html?p1=2&p2=1<]their website[/url<], the latency impact is 15ms ("最低延迟15ms" = 'Lowest Latency 15ms'). Form VR, that pretty much makes this a non-starter: to remain within the 20ms acceptable motion-photons latency budget with a fixed 15ms chunk taken out for display output, that leaves you with [b<]5ms[/b<] to perform ALL game word simulation tasks and all rendering tasks and have an image ready for output. It also puts a fixed 15ms latency floor on head movement even with Timewarp in use. tl;dr comparable to existing 60GHz wireless video streaming techniques (e.g. the cheap LG HDMI wireless links that were popular to hack for use with the DK1). Not acceptable performance, so into the trash it goes.

    • DoomGuy64
    • 3 years ago

    Oh look, a wireless VR headset. Guess I was right about how stupid those backpacks were.

    PS. I have tested streaming VR with my phone, and it does indeed work. The actual problem is quality of the headset and lenses rather than latency, as I experienced too much eye strain to bother using it for a prolonged period of time. That and software support is worse than having an official headset.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 3 years ago

    If this works without introducing a ton of lag, I would be very happy to be wrong. It’ll also make the VR space much more interesting. $220 is a ton of dough, though.

      • GrimDanfango
      • 3 years ago

      I’ve seen the figure “15ms” bounced around here and there… their marketing says the additional lag is imperceivable, but in VR terms I suspect 15ms would be juuuust enough to make you vomit, but juuuust low enough that you wouldn’t be aware why.

        • Luminair
        • 3 years ago

        these systems will use custom wigig, and the exact specs are proprietary, so unless an executive graciously tells us, we won’t know. but I think it won’t be 15ms because that’s too much. the problem with wigig here isn’t the latency, it’s the adding of another $200 to the price of an already $1000 system. anyone can release a wigig headset in 2017, but how can they at that price? clearly these companies are investigating making it an optional feature

        • psuedonymous
        • 3 years ago

        The 15ms figure is [url=http://www.tpcast.cn/transvr.html?p1=2&p2=1<]directly from their website[/url<] ("最低延迟15ms" = 'Lowest Latency 15ms'). They try and be clever in their ad copy: they mention the 15ms total latency impact figure once, but repeatedly list the "<1ms" 'transmission latency' figure (i.e. the time-of-flight for an RF signal to get from the transmitter to receiver).

    • brucethemoose
    • 3 years ago

    I wonder if this would work without the Vive, just for plain HDMI…

    • dodozoid
    • 3 years ago

    I bet next iteration will come with wireless connection by default.
    And when it gets refined with the iteration after that, then I may even buy one.

    • RoxasForTheWin
    • 3 years ago

    If this is actually working and doesn’t produce and adverse side effects, I will be more tempted to try VR. Not to mention this’ll make VR backpacks either much more comfortable to use or obsolete entirely (why carry a backpack when you can just have a kickass rig connected across the room to do the work without battery life troubles?)

      • JalaleenRumi
      • 3 years ago

      Except the Battery Life troubles will still haunt you as this too will use a battery.

    • Firestarter
    • 3 years ago

    I can’t wait to see if they actually pulled it off

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