Wigig technology introduces more options for wireless VR.
Initially revealed back in January during the 2017 Consumer Electronics Showcase, aka CES, Intel’s new wireless solution for the HTC Vive has finally emerged from the shadows and was being shown at the 2017 Electronic Entertainment Expo, currently taking place at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
Labeled the ‘true’ solution to wireless virtual reality, Intel’s add-on utilizes “wireless gigabit” technology to transfer gigabit rates over a 60GHz spectrum with less than 7 milliseconds of latency (plenty fast for an smooth VR experience).
We were able to get a hands-on demo of the tech and can attest, cutting the cord on this prototype was almost indistinguishable from the standard tethered Vive headset. Playing shooter game Space Pirate Trainer, we really tried to push the limits with the wireless add-on by ducking, diving, and spinning in circles. There was no perceived latency.
Using Wigig technology allows for a multi-gigabit network connection capable of transmitting high bandwidth data such as uncompressed video and audio for up to around 2 hours. The result is a much more functional wireless connection when compared to other wireless options such as the upcoming TPCast, which is only powerful enough to transmit HD video and audio.
Much like the TPCast however, there are several technological limitations. Despite featuring a stronger connection, the wireless unit works best at short ranges and does a poor job of penetrating walls. The differences between these over-the-air solutions end there however. While Intel’s Wigig device is powerful enough to actually transfer files and browse the web, TPcast’s use of WirelessHD actually results in a video and audio transfer rate of 28 Gigabytes per second, much faster than Wigig.
Despite using the Vive’s original head-strap to demonstrate the prototype on the show floor, Intel has confirmed that the Wigig unit will be fully compatible with the recently-released Vive Deluxe Audio Strap. As far as PC requirements go you’ll need a motherboard bigger than a mini-ITX as well as a PCI-e slot for the transmitter.
Although the unit is quite bulky and staff were very careful to remove it from your head, likely worried a cable or connection would be pulled (delicate much), this is a glimpse into where VR headsets are moving.
No word of yet on an official release date, but with the TPCast hitting the market this year, you can be sure to expect a crowded wireless peripheral industry in the near future.