HTC has now opened up pre-orders for an upgrade kit, made in partnership with TPCast, that makes the Vive VR headset totally wireless—but for the time being, it’s only available through the Chinese Vive store.
The company claims this is the first time “users of high-end PC VR systems” can have an “untethered experience without compromising quality,” for the cost of ¥1,499, or about $220/£174, excluding shipping. HTC says there’s no plan to release the wireless kit outside of China, though everyone is free to buy one from the Chinese site as long as they don’t mind paying for shipping. At the time of publishing, the wireless upgrade kit had already sold out, though presumably it’ll be back in stock at some point.
The add-on, which should start shipping in the first quarter of 2017, has been designed and manufactured by TPCast. It clips onto the headset and can then send and receive data wirelessly from a host PC. The kit works with all current Vive headsets, and will likely put it ahead of competitors for now, which rely on wired connections. The website lacks technical details, but the battery will reportedly last for about 90 minutes.
Vive is designed for room-scale VR, especially gaming, so the prospect of untethered movement—provided the latency is low enough—will be exciting for the fledgling VR gaming market. Ars enjoyed the Vive when we reviewed it in May, but its current, bulky cabling was found to be a distinct hindrance to games which required a lot of movement.
Back in September, we wrote about a startup called Quark that is also seemingly working on a similar wireless solution for the Vive.
This post originated on Ars Technica UK