Increased resolution without a cord.
It’s been nearly two years since HTC first introduced the Vive VR headset, opening up an entirely new world of room-scale VR that’s had us dodging arrows and bumping into furniture ever since. Now the Vive is getting an upgrade. Addressing some of the complaints we’ve had over the years, the new Vive Pro is now lighter, more balanced, has a higher resolution, and is just more fun.
According to HTC during a CES press event, one of the most important factors for consumers when deciding on whether to purchase a VR headset is resolution. Resolution matters—and that’s why the Vive Pro is increasing resolution of the dual-OLED Samsung displays to 2880 x 1600 combined, a 78% increase in resolution over the current Vive headset.
Early hands-on demos with the Vive Pro were promising. You could immediately see the bump in resolution and a significant reduction in the screen door effect, enhancing immersion, and making reading text and graphics overall sharper. The resolution increase puts the Vive Pro ahead of the Oculus Rift and Windows “Mixed Reality” headsets.
In addition to the resolution increase, HTC directly addressed the second biggest complaint about VR headsets—that damn cord. Unveiled immediately after taking the wraps off the Vive Pro, HTC unveiled the Vive Wireless Adapter. No longer do we need to have that long cord shooting out from our head to the PC. The Vive Wireless Adapter features Intel’s WiGig technology and integrates with both Vive and Vive Pro. Swapping headsets with the adapter is as simple as switching the input cables.
The VR wireless experience operates in the interference-free 60Ghz band, which means lower latency and better performance. The Vive Wireless Adapter will ship in Summer to customers worldwide. While we’ve seen HTC make significant investments in developing new technology to complement the Vive with accessories like the tracker and other peripheral devices, going wireless with this Vive adapter is the one device we’ve all been waiting for.
While resolution and wireless capability were the big announcements for Vive at CES, the Vive Pro also packs a few more enhancements to get excited about. HTC refreshed the headstrap, adding a sizing dial for a more balanced experience and a simple way to decrease weight on the front of the headset. Honestly, the size dial was our favorite part of the Audio Deluxe Strap that Vive created as an add-on last year.
The Vive Pro also has built-in headphones now. The headphones have a built-in amplifier that provide richer sound and overall make getting in an out of VR easier for everyone. Additional improvements include dual microphones with active noise cancellation and dual front-facing cameras designed to empower developer creativity. Vive Pro will be compatible with both SteamVR 1.0 and 20.0 tracking, which means you’ll be able to use up to four base stations and increase your trackable space up to 10m x 10m.
Overall the headset looks less clunky than the original and has a blue color tint throughout much of the headset now. HTC is promising Vive Pro upgrades this quarter with full availability later this year. No information yet on pricing. The current Vive will remain on sale throughout 2018.
Alongside the Vive Pro upgrade and Wireless Adapter unveil, HTC is also improving its Viveport app shopping experience with Viveport VR. Instead of a traditional 2D catalog, Viveport VR content is now delivered in fully immersive interactive previews, which are pretty much interactive glimpses of content that give you a room-scale preview of an experience. Vive also rolled out an upgrade to its native VR video player today, Vive Video, partnering up with Vimeo to bring new features and UI upgrades. In the new Vive Video experience, a curated selection of Vimeo content will be made available to browse and view in a highly optimized native VR experiences within Vive Video-compatible headsets.