HTC Vive to get a Wireless Tether upgrade kit in 2017

By: Costea Lestoc
2 minute read

The HTC Vive Virtual Reality headset will be upgraded in 2017, with HTC teaming up with TPCAST in order to include a wireless transmission system that will replace the wired tether. The upgraded product will be sold on the Vive website once it is ready.

The Vive room-scale VR system was developed by Valve in collaboration with HTC and was released seven months ago. The only small disadvantage of this amazing system was the tether which could cause users to trip on the cable and fall to the ground. Even if it will be tether-free, the HTC Vive cannot avoid nauseating VR latency. Currently, the headset operates at 90Hz and while its 13ms of motion-to-photon latency is bearable, it increased it will affect the user experience, and the company wants to prevent this from happening.

A few months ago, Quark VR announced that it would work with Valve to develop a Wi-Fi-based wireless system that would replace the wired tether for the Vive. Intel was also interested in created HMDs, but in the end, TPCAST was chosen to work directly with HTC in order to find a solution for the Virtual Reality headset. The kit for Vive that was released by TPCAST includes a wireless transmitter box and a wireless receiver that’s attached to the upper strap of the headset. The HDMI and USB signal is transmitted to the headset using the wireless system which is kept alive by a battery pack that can be recharged and which sits on the back of the head strap.

According to TPCAST, the battery packs will provide up to 2-5 hours of tether-free VR. In China, the Wireless Vive upgrade kit was sold for RMB1,499 (approximately USD $220), but it’s not certain exactly when the wireless upgrade kit will be available in Europe or North America.

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