The Infinitus Prime tVR is a VR headset that has a higher resolution that the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive, has a super wide field-of-view, works across Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux, and has a set of LED lights across the front that make you look a bit like a Cylon.
Sounds cool, right? But you’ll probably never be able to buy it.
Why? Because the Infinitus Prime tVR is a headset designed for use by businesses, in an education environment, for tourism, entertainment, and beyond. That’s very different to HTC, Oculus, and Samsung’s approach. It has been in development for three years, and is the work of a 20-person company named Infinitus Global, headed up by CEO Howard Thompson and CTO Marek Polcak.
All the specifications
While it’s not directly competing with Vive or Rift, don’t dismiss Infinutus’ headset as some low spec Google Cardboard-alike rubbish. The tech inside will make even the HTC Vive a little green with envy. The resolution is a whopping 5,120 x 1,440 pixels, while the Vive makes do with 2,160 x 1,200, and the field of view is 140-degrees, which gets close to the 160 degree average of the human eye and easily surpasses the 90 degrees provided through most other headsets.
The Infinitus Prime tVR will provide a better visual experience, plus multiple headsets can be run through one computer.
It’s still tethered, but it works through a DisplayPort connection, has Bluetooth or USB connections for controllers, boasts its own sound card, and has a microphone built into the headset. Everything has been built from scratch, from the circuit board to the lenses, by Infinitus. It’s only the beginning, and future versions will have an even wider field of view, a 4K camera add-on, wireless operation, and a slightly revised headset design.
Beyond consumer VR
If you’re questioning why businesses would want a VR headset, here’s a few potential scenarios. And they’re pretty exciting.
Say Netflix, or any other streaming media provider, wants you to have a fully immersive, mega-resolution VR theatrical experience at home. Sounds good, right? But as Netflix CEO Reed Hastings recently said, the logistics of letting you use your own VR headset are wildly complicated, and may not lead to a comfortable experience.
Instead of asking users to grab a Google Cardboard and hope for the best, a company could lease you a set-top box and an Infinitus Prime tVR headset, which has been customized in its own color scheme, complete with logos and those LED lights tailored to suit a theme. It works when it should, how it should, and exactly to company’s expectations, plus it can provide service and support to regular people who just want to get in on some VR fun.
And there’s more. You’ve heard those sci-fi tales of holding global VR meetings without leaving your home or office? The Infinitus Prime tVR may end up being the headset that global corporations use in offices around the world. Or, how about all those VR theme park rides that are springing up? They mostly use the Gear VR now, but the Infinitus Prime tVR could provide a better visual experience, plus multiple headsets could be handled through one computer.
Or, how about a simulation experience that puts you in the driver’s seat of a race car? For this to be truly immersive, it really requires a far wider field-of-view than regular VR headsets provide. The Infinitus Prime tVR’s lens array is modular, and can be swapped out for alternative lenses that best suit the use, such as those which provide a tighter field of view with very high resolution, for surgery or engineering purposes.
Going for more than games
At the moment, virtual reality headsets are being sold on the strength of their gaming prowess. Establishments like Netflix, museums, hospitals, or universities don’t care about that. They want a reliable, durable, and versatile headset that will work for their needs. It’s an important distinction, because while Vive and Rift would do the job, they’re really aimed at one person to use, and operate from one computer.
The Infinitus Prime tVR headset has so far been tested by 30,000 different people, and is reportedly the toughest headset out there. Many headsets can be used from a single computer, and they have even made a custom storage case that can be wall mounted, and have a case for multiple headsets to be stored inside in development. It’s setting itself up to be the VR headset you’ll find everywhere that wants to offer a VR experience.
While games aren’t what the Infinitus Prime tVR is all about, the success of any virtual reality headset comes down to content. Infinitus isn’t getting involved in that, and for good reason. It’s not supplying the hardware to you and me — someone who wants to buy a complete package that’s ready to use out of the box — but to other companies, who will then deliver the end product with all the content to us.
The price, a lofty $3,000, underscores the target market. And you’d need an extremely expensive computer to push pixels to the Infintus’ high-resolution display. Most home users couldn’t afford this headset even if they wanted it, and had a computer that can handle it.
But Infinitus has already had considerable interest, despite not actually having fully launched. An online TV service in the U.S. has been in touch, along with several universities. A school in Japan wants to buy the headsets to run a VR course, where students take the headset home and participate in classes virtually. There’s no question VR is the tech-of-the-moment, and companies want to get in early. The Infinitus Prime tVR may have come along at just the right time.
However, it’s all about how it performs, how comfortable it is, and whether it does what it promises. We’re going to try the Infinitus Prime tVR headset out very soon, to see whether corporate VR trendsetters are about to get their hands on the best VR headset out there.