One of the holy grails of high quality VR is to make it wireless. Being tethered to the computer is OK for now, but to be able to move freely without tangling wires is one of the next big steps in home VR.
Well, we might get there sooner than anyone of us thought. HTC's Vive X Accelerator program has helped one company fast track its way to a wireless solution. TPCAST is coming out with a wireless adapter for the HTC Vive that will let you play, untethered, for up to an hour an a half.
The design makes the HTC Vive completely wire free and looks pretty compact with the battery sitting behind the head and the transmitter and receiver on top. TPCAST is also looking into a bigger battery that you can pocket for an even longer game play experience.
Now, wireless transmission is nothing now, but being able to play wirelessly at low latency and high resolution will be the key. If this kit makes it so there's even a tiny bit of lag, then it's worthless. VR relies on smooth performance to minimize or eliminate motion sickness, so while this is very exciting news, the success of this project will hinge on how well it performs in all conditions.
You'll be able to pre-order the wireless kit from HTC's Chinese website today at 10AM EST for $230. They'll be in limited quantities initially.
I really hope this solution works well and if it does, VR gaming with a PC will have taken another big step in its evolution. It would also make all those backpack computers obsolete.
HTC VIVE™ Reveals World’s first Tether-less VR Upgrade Kit at Alibaba’s “11/11” Global Shopping Festival
Developed by Vive X company, TPCAST, this tether-less upgrade kit is compatible with all current Vive devices and pre-order starts today
Shenzhen, China – November 11, 2016 – HTC Corporation (“HTC”), a pioneer in innovative, smart mobile and virtual reality (VR) technology, today introduced a breakthrough tether-less VR upgrade kit (preview edition) for VIVE™ VR system at Alibaba’s “11/11” global shopping festival. This upgrade kit was developed by TPCAST, a Vive X Accelerator invested company. This kit will enable for the first time, users of high-end PC VR systems to have a fully untethered experience without compromising quality.
As the current global leader in high-end VR, HTC has continually delivered the most immersive and complete VR experiences on the market. It was the first to enable room-scale VR and 6-DoF controllers to the world, and today, it is the first to demonstrate a seamless tether-less high-end PC VR experience using TPCAST’s “VIVE tether-less upgrade kit” (preview edition). The tether-less upgrade kit will be available for pre-order at 1,499 RMB in limited quantity on www.vive.com/cn starting at 11pm Beijing time on November 11. Order fulfillment will be prioritized to existing customers who can provide a valid Vive serial number. Initial delivery is expected to begin Q1 2017.
At the “Tmall 11/11 Media Center”, Alibaba and HTC jointly demonstrated Alibaba’s new Buy+ mobile VR channel on the latest HTC-powered VR-ready smartphones to 600 journalists gathered from all over the globe. This is the first application to date that allows the completion of actual retail transactions fully in VR, showing China’s gaining leadership in the VR space. HTC Vive and Alibaba have previously announced strategic partnerships relating to Cloud services and VR, as well as Video services cooperation with its Youku subsidiary. Today’s joint VR demonstration is a further strengthening of cooperation across another business section connecting the two firms.
“We are glad to cooperate with Alibaba to enable the first mass-demonstration of a complete VR shopping experience and are honored that they have chosen Viveport M as the preferred download partner for the Buy+ mobile application,” said Alvin W. Graylin, China Regional President of Vive, HTC. “We are also very proud that a Vive X team, TPCAST, has developed such an impactful product in such a short time. It will allow Vive customers worldwide to gain untethered mobility in VR from their existing devices, while satisfying the biggest feature request of potential PC VR customers.”
Zhuoran Zhuang, Head of VR programs at Alibaba, said, “It’s been a pleasure working with the VR market leader, HTC Vive on multiple VR related projects. We are continuously exploring on the next generation of shopping experiences via innovative technology, and looking forward to deeper collaboration with our partners to deliver even more immersive commerce experiences!”
HTC Vive has prepared a number of seasonal promotion deals for VR fans at this year’s “11/11” global shopping festival. This includes Vive plus VR-ready PC sets, complimentary accessories and VR content, interest-free installment, and an upgraded Vive referral program! For more information, please visit: Tmall.com and Vive.com/cn.