HTC at CES 2018: Vive Pro VR Headset with Higher-Res Displays, Two Cams, Headphonesby Anton Shilov on January 8, 2018 7:30 PM EST
LAS VEGAS, NV — HTC today announced its next-generation Vive Pro VR headset at CES 2018. The new head-mounted display will have several noticeable improvements over the existing Vive: it will feature higher-resolution displays, a redesigned headstrap, built-in headphones as well as two microphones and two front-facing cameras. The new unit will retain backward compatibility with tracking and gaming peripherals for the original Vive and be available in the coming months.
The new HTC Vive Pro VR HMD is equipped with two OLED screens featuring a 2880×1600 combined resolution (1440×1600 per eye, 615 PPI), which means that the new headset displays 78% more pixels than its predecessor, significantly increasing picture quality. The resolution increase leaps the Vive Pro ahead of the Oculus Rift as well as Windows Mixed Reality headsets in terms of graphics quality. It should be noted that the extra pixels will require additional graphics processing horsepower, so the new Vive Pro headset might need a more powerful system than the original Vive to offer a decent user experience. Meanwhile, HTC says nothing about Vive Pro’s refresh rate and field-of-view and it remains to be seen whether we are going to see any improvements on these fronts with the Vive Pro.
Another significant upgrade of the HTC Vive Pro is built-in headphones featuring an integrated amplifier to guarantee an improved audio quality as well as two microphones for enhanced noise cancellation. HTC does not quantify improvements, so it is impossible to tell whether the headphones are any better than mainstream ones from known brands, but integration of the headset will clearly make the setup a bit cleaner and more comfortable to use now there is one less cord to plug. Speaking of comfort, the new Vive Pro also features a revamped headstrap with enhanced ergonomics that balance the weight of the headset and features a special sizing dial.
The upcoming HTC Vive Pro headset also has two front-facing cameras instead of one on the original Vive. HTC does not disclose the purpose of the second camera but only says that “it is designed to empower developer creativity”. Keeping in mind that HTC is working with different developers on various projects, including integration of real physical objects into virtual worlds, the additional cam may come in handy. Meanwhile, two cameras can also be used to improve position tracking.
HTC does not announce pricing and exact retail launch date of the Vive Pro headset just yet but only says that more details will be released soon. The Verge reports that the Vive Pro will be available to existing customers already this quarter.
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edzieba - Tuesday, January 9, 2018 - linkDid you look? The WiGig adapter is not launching with the HMD, and only coming 'later in 2018'.
theuglyman0war - Wednesday, January 17, 2018 - linkit is 2018?
Have things gotten so spoiled "Louis CK prophetic: everything is amazing and no one is happy"...
That a device released this year needs to be qualified with an:
"ONLY coming LATER in 2018"?
As if as much dismisses that a mainstream tetherless WiGig solution is finally a reality this year?
OK... Fine! I believe that the 2nd iteration of Vive shouldn't have taken 2 years either? But sheesh isn't it kind of entitled to believe that a release cycle's designation between stand alone vs package release should be so circumspect?
People who Already of Vive will appreciate the lower cost of standalone HMD in consideration of their towers and controllers where the only additional cost will be WiGig. And Those without Vive will appreciate the package released later? ( unless released at another exorbitant pricepoint )
Sounds predictably reasonable no? ( unless I am missing something obvious... again :) )
edzieba - Tuesday, January 9, 2018 - linkLooks like this will be sold as a standalone 'upgrade' to the Vive initially. HTC may be waiting for valve to finally get their finger out and start shipping the newer single-rotor basestations and 'knuckle' controllers before they start bundling, or they want to make the price appear more palatable by cutting the cost of pack-ins.
eoffermann - Tuesday, January 9, 2018 - linkTalks of increasing resolution don't impress me very much. It feels very directionless to me. It's nice - but unless they address screen door, tethering, making outside-in tracking optional, and a host of other things, all increased resolution *really* means is, "That VR-Ready PC you just bought is not VR-Ready any more"
I'd also be a lot more enthused with a "Pro" unit meant for Professional use, not just a "Pro" buzzword to justify a higher price. I don't even know what Pro means any more.
This is what would make me (and I think a lot of other people) happy:
1. Officially embrace Windows Mixed Reality with a Vive-variant WMR headset. Either eliminate the lighthouses altogether or support them optionally for higher-accuracy controllers. SteamVR already runs (really well) on WMR - so what's the Vive for, exactly? Except for broad sweeping strokes in TiltBrush that leave the WMR FOV, I haven't been able to figure out what Vive is better at.
2. Make "Pro" mean something again. Forget tacking the "Pro" moniker onto a slightly higher resolution consumer device and adding unexplained features like the extra camera. Make it 4k+, something like the StarVR headset - aimed at theme park and theatrical installations, professional training and simulation, industrial/scientific and so on. It can be strictly Vive tech - lighthouses and so on, built to support large scale spaces. If you're giving it stereo cameras, explain why. Gesture recognition and hand pose estimation? Lighthouse-free head tracking? Spatial understanding?
In short: Make me feel like there's a product roadmap - a vision for the space.
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