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HTC announces upgraded Vive Pro VR headset with integrated headphones

By Cal Jeffrey ยท 13 replies
Jan 8, 2018
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  1. The Vive has been out for two years now, so HTC has had some time to make some improvements and address a few complaints. Today the company unveiled its progress at CES in what it is calling the Vive Pro — a VR headset with some significant upgrades.

    The first of the upgrades went to the display. The new dual-screen OLEDs will bump the resolution up to 2880x1600 (1400x1600 each eye w/615 ppi). This increase is a significant improvement over the Vive’s 2160x1200 and puts it ahead of the Oculus Rift and Windows Mixed Reality devices.

    A big complaint about the Vive was its awkwardness, especially when combined with headphones. HTC has solved this problem by integrating headphones into the headset. The over the ear cans are built into the Vive Pro with arms to adjust their positioning. It gives the headset an almost robot-like appearance. The company says that headphones feature a built-in amplifier and will provide immersive 360-degree sound.

    The unit also has dual microphones and cameras on the front. At this time it appears that the cameras are only used to help developers.

    “[The Vive Pro includes] dual front-facing cameras designed to empower developer creativity,” says HTC.

    However, since it appears that the cameras will remain on the commercial version of the device, and not just on the developer’s version, it is safe to assume that the cameras may play a role in future VR or AR games. The cameras might also be used to view your surroundings without removing the headset — perhaps while setup up a game or dealing with a problem.

    The last major change is in the Vive Pro’s ergonomics. The previous Vive had issues with being a bit front heavy and clunky, especially when trying to wrestle it and a set of headphones. HTC addressed this issue but redesigning how the unit sits and by providing “a sizing dial for a more balanced headset that decreases weight on the front of the headset.”

    While the Vive Pro will not have wireless connectivity out of the box, HTC did announce that it will also be launching the Vive Wireless Adaptor. The adaptor uses the 60hz band, which should limit interference and provide better performance. It will be compatible with the Vive Pro as well as the original Vive.

    HTC did not establish any pricepoints today, nor did it say exactly when it would be releasing the Pro or the adaptor. It did, however, narrow the launch windows down to the first quarter for the Vive Pro and third quarter for the Vive Wireless Adaptor. Full pricing and bundle options should be available soon.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,176   +2,417

    Whelp, this is deeply disappointing. They essentially were only able to increase the resolution and add headphones (which the oculus already does). Having to buy the wireless add-on, something they know people will want, is very annoying. I was also expecting some kind of inside out tracking. Having to reserve an area just for VR is a huge PITA and a non-starter for many people. Just as unfun is readjusting the play area every time as well.

    My three checkboxes for mass adoption are

    1) Get rid of screen door effect (AKA higher resolution)
    2) Get rid of the hassle of VR (AKA the sensor setup and adjustments)
    3) Get rid of the cables

    Valve only partially ticked two boxes here, and that's only if you are willing to spend even more money on top of what is likely to be an expensive VR headset.
    Reehahs and Cal Jeffrey like this.
  3. alabama man

    alabama man TS Guru Posts: 563   +355

    1.They increased resolution so they at least tried, have to see my self but I'm happy even with normal vive.

    2. I've had no hassle with the setup, installed it once and haven't needed adjustments since. I do need to clear my play area (2-3 minutes max) and I live in small single room apartment but I manage to get full recommended play area without moving furniture, having no table might help. I have the "second edition" (weights less has different color controller straps) and I don't know if that matters.

    3.They got rid of cables but it isn't default option yet. The batteries probably can't handle more than couple of hours and I for one would still mostly use cable, wireless would be nice for when you show it to friends, shorter games and porn. I too wish it could be totally wireless one day but at least they try. Also I don't like wearing wireless transmitters near my brain for any longer than needed.

    At least they try. You don't need to buy every upgrade. I will wait and am happy with current vive but see this only as a good thing, it's not like they've spend billions developing how to but higher resolution screen on basically the same thing. This wont hamper development of your dream VR gear, this will help it as they can get more money.
    Reehahs, Kenrick and Cal Jeffrey like this.
  4. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 3,131   +1,561

    Upgrading too much will put it again at the "extremely expensive" price point, something I hope we'll not return to with the 2nd gen VR headsets. The price absolutely needs to go down to make it accessible to the mainstream market.

    The 1600p resolution seems to be sweet spot at the moment until 4K 90/120Hz OLED screens become much cheaper (I actually expected 1440p to keep costs down). It should be enough to reduce the screen door effect to almost nothing.
    Kenrick and IAMTHESTIG like this.
  5. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,176   +2,417

    The hardware for the Vive probably cost them $180 and they charged $800. As proven by the price drops, they could easily reduce the cost for VR in an instant if they wanted to. Heck, they stand to directly benefit seeing as they own steam.

    I'm not going to defend these companies clearly putting the typical bleeding edge tax on these products, especially when there are companies coming to market with cheaper solutions.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2018
  6. enemys

    enemys TS Maniac Posts: 172   +166

    According to Goldman Sachs (https://twitter.com/hmltn/status/689542640090492928), it was $400 for hardware alone, then you need to add software, marketing, developer support etc. HTC said the price cuts were introduced to increase the sales, not because of declining manufacturing costs (which obviously have become lower by the time, but we don't know how much). And they might be right, it's not like HTC has loads of money, despite selling Vive for two years - the company still doesn't make any profits.
    Kenrick likes this.
  7. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,176   +2,417

    I read the corresponding chart and article and it is an estimated Bill of Materials with zero to back it up, not even a breakdown. I don't know where they are getting their numbers from but they certainly aren't showing us.
  8. enemys

    enemys TS Maniac Posts: 172   +166

    Yeah, so where are your numbers to back up your $180 claim?
    Kenrick and Panda218 like this.

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,556   +664

    Well I see this as good and bad... good, because VR is moving forward and the #1 HMD seller is improving their product. That is great.

    The bad, many people will feel it is not enough. With competing much higher resolution HMD's like the Pimax that actually has two 4K panels (one per eye) the Vive Pro is still a significant amount lower.

    And while many want inside-out tracking, I don't think there is a way to make it reliable for when your hands (controllers) inevitably are out of view of the tracking cameras. I'm sorry but you have to have external tracking, that is just the way it is. Now I will argue the Vive's tracking system is superior to the Oculus, in that the sensors don't have to be connected to a computer and the tracking software seems much easier and much more reliable than Oculus.

    Now wireless is great, and I think that it is a good thing it is an option because there may be some folk who just want to play a flight sim in VR, and don't plan to do any room scale stuff so why not save the money. Although I'm betting it is going to be a $400 or more add-on because they will claim it is superior to third party implementations (and maybe it is).

    So who wants to take bets on how much a complete setup will cost? With sensors, controllers, and the wireless adapter? $1399 is my bet...VR is still too expensive for most people. I only stepped into the Rift (see what I did there) because I got the complete kit for $350 on Black Friday. That is about the same cost as a nice gaming monitor but you get a whole kit. it was absolutely worth it and I'm glad I bought it. That being said if the Vive Pro complete kit with wireless was $800 I would totally buy it. It is really only the few of us hardcore gamers that may be willing to pay for VR. Your average couch gamer thinks this is all ridiculous...
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2018
  10. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 3,131   +1,561

    The #1 HMD seller is actually Sony :D
    It's too early to speculate on the price, but we also have to take into account the price of the system that is able to run at those resolutions. I'm sure they could have added 4K screens, but it's just not practical now.
  11. Kenrick

    Kenrick TS Evangelist Posts: 630   +403

    You wanted a high end polished product at a very low price? You need to sleep more to finish your dream. When you are back at reality maybe you can spend your time learning economics. There is more to it than the $180 bom you are quoting. Bom is not a proper way to set pricing in electronics goods.

    This version of Vive is still a big improvement from the previous generation, I am more interested in home automation right now than VR but might check it out when it goes in sale. The v1' sale almost got me last december.
  12. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,176   +2,417

    Did you even read my first comment?

    "The hardware for the Vive probably cost them $180"

    Number is an estimate , which ironically has as much backing it up as the link you provided does. Neither are accurate values of what oculus really pays without data to back them up.

    At what point did I say I wanted VR at a low price? I was pointing out the fact that competitors were offering similar products at a lower price, which kind of negates your argument of "well if you want a high end product at a low price".

    Also, how are you even qualified to comment on this subject when you don't even have a VR headset and aren't even interested in the subject?
  13. Kenrick

    Kenrick TS Evangelist Posts: 630   +403

    The mods said I have to edit my post. So you have the entitlement of speaking out just because you have a VR headset? Lol. must be hard for you when someone slammed your post here.
  14. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,176   +2,417

    I didn't call the mods here.

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