Virtual Reality

HTC joins the party, makes a virtual reality headset (with Valve's help)

HTC joins the party, makes a v...
The developer edition of the HTC Vive
The developer edition of the HTC Vive
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The developer edition of the HTC Vive
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The developer edition of the HTC Vive
CEO Peter Chou holding the HTC Vive
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CEO Peter Chou holding the HTC Vive

It's becoming clearer that the entire tech world is trying to get in on virtual reality on the ground floor. In addition to announcing its latest flagship smartphone, HTC today unveiled a new VR headset, in a partnership with Valve.

The HTC Vive (called "HTC Re Vive" in marketing images, suggesting a last-minute name change) is the fruit of HTC's collaboration with Valve. The developer version of the headset has some high-end specs and, unlike Samsung's take on VR, doesn't require an inserted phone.

The headset has 1,200 x 1,080 resolution in each eye, making it nearly as sharp as the Quad HD display in the Samsung Gear VR and the (unconfirmed) Quad HD display that's likely inside the latest Oculus Rift prototype. It's also capable of 90 fps refresh rate, which also lines up well with top-of-the-line VR headsets.

One of the more interesting aspects of the HTC Vive is that it includes multiple sensors (gyrosensor, accelerometer, and laser position sensor) to track not just your head, but also your physical location in a room (up to 15 ft. x 15 ft). When used with a pair of Steam VR base stations, it lets you walk around your virtual environment (just be careful you're in an open space with no obstructions!).

CEO Peter Chou holding the HTC Vive
CEO Peter Chou holding the HTC Vive

There isn't a ton of other info at this point, but HTC will also be offering a pair of motion-controlled wireless game controllers (perhaps not unlike Wii controllers) to track your hands and handheld virtual objects.

No word yet on pricing, but a developer edition of the headset will be available this (Northern hemisphere) Spring, with HTC promising a consumer version by the end of 2015. At the rate the tech industry is going, it may have hundreds of competitors by then.

Source: HTC

4 comments
mhpr262
Compared to to the potential of virtual reality, the worries about World of Warcraft gamers who lost years off their life to the game will seem like nothing ...
b@man
1,200 x 1,080? ...call me when they get to 2560 x 1400.
DonGateley
I fully concur with b@man and congratulate him on his very clever handle. With Samsung and LG offering 2560x1440 there is little reason to settle for less. As a benchmark, it takes exactly that much to get 720 lines from top to bottom in a 16x9 cinema presentation at full width. I was pleasantly surprised when 720 popped out of the arithmetic. It will take a 3840x2160 display to achieve exactly 1080 lines in the same situation so that will likely be the next stop.
Pat Pending
@DonGately, Thanks for that. So 1080 will simply be a short pause in the progression to 4K then 8K and then what, 64K? What's the upper limit that get's us to a better resolution than the human eye? I guess I'm not alone in thinking that immersive VR is going to be a paradigm shift in our world and not just entertainment. As mhpr262 points out, the potential for addiction is quite frightening but the benefits are also going to be amazing. The amount of extra information we will be able to process, for example VR air traffic control springs to mind. One individual can only get so much from a 2D display but stick it into 3D space surrounding you...