HTC announces a wireless VR adaptor and a higher-resolution version of its Vive virtual reality headset
We might finally be on the verge of a high-end, truly wireless VR experience.
Virtual reality hasn't exactly redefined the way we work and play the way many had hoped it would, but the fledgling industry is still chugging along thanks to the efforts of big names like Sony and HTC. Today's announcement from HTC at CES 2018 could mark a turning point in the popularity of VR, as the company revealed it will be releasing a wireless adaptor for its Vive VR headset later this year.
The Vive Wireless Adaptor does exactly what you'd expect, overcoming one of virtual reality's biggest hassles by freeing you from the mess of cables current high-end headsets are bound by. Compatible with the Vive and the Vive Pro (more on that below), the Vive Wireless Adaptor utilises Intel's WiGig technology to communicate over the 60 GHz frequency band, a subset of the wireless spectrum that is capable of high-speed, low-latency transmissions at short range.
"Wireless VR has been on nearly every VR user’s wishlist since the technology was unveiled," said Frank Soqui, General Manager Virtual Reality Group at Intel Corporation. "By collaborating with HTC to commercialize Intel’s WiGig technology, we will guarantee that wireless VR meets the most discerning quality bar for home users and business VR customers."
By eliminating the need for cables dangling from your head, HTC is hoping to expand the virtual reality market and bring in an audience that is currently put off by the setup process and movement limitations of wired VR. The Vive Wireless Adaptor is due for release worldwide in Q3 2018.
HTC is also making a bid to win over the enthusiast VR crowd with a new version of the Vive headset dubbed the Vive Pro. Featuring twin OLED displays clocking in at a resolution of 2880 x 1600, the Vive Pro represents a 37% increase in image clarity over the original Vive, as well as a 70% increase in pixel density. Given how close the screens are to your eyes when wearing a virtual reality headset, these improvements will make a big difference in visual quality.
The Vive Pro also sports built-in headphones, saving you the hassle of connecting and carrying around a separate pair for use with the headset. There's o word on pricing or a release date for the Vive Pro yet, but HTC is promising to reveal more details soon.
Alongside the new hardware, HTC also announced a significant update to its Viveport virtual reality app store. Where the store is currently presented as a traditional 2D catalogue much like any other app store, a new Viveport VR update will allow for interactive previews of VR content, enabling users to test out games and apps in a room-scale environment that more accurately represents the content they're purchasing.
Finally, HTC wrapped up its CES announcements with the news that its Vive Video app has been updated with a selection of VR content from the Vimeo video platform. Currently, only a curated catalogue of Vimeo videos is accessible within Vive Video, but this will likely grow over time.