HTC’s Vive virtual reality system has some of the best room-scale sensors around, letting VR users roam throughout a space and experience a more immersive experience. But that experience is hampered by the need to keep everything connected with cumbersome wiring.
That is about to change, as HTC announced a partnership with TPCast to create a wireless adapter that cuts the cord and lets users move around without tripping over wires. Now, it appears that TPCast is set to release its solution by the end of April after a bit of a delay, Road to VR reports.
The story is a bit convoluted, as apparently the product was first up for pre-order in November via the online Vive store in China and expected to ship in the first quarter of 2017. It’s those pre-orders that are expected to ship by the end of April. The rest of the world was going to receive units sometime in the second quarter of 2017 and so it’s possible that those shipments might also be arriving a bit late.
In our first take on the TPCase wireless adapter, which connects to the Vive headset and removes the need to keep that component tethered to your PC, we found the solution promising but problematic in a few ways.
The adapter works as expected, allowing users to move freely within the Vive room-scale sensors without encumbrance. TPCast promises less than two milliseconds on latency and, by our testing, was able to keep up.
At the same time, we also found the wireless connection to be sensitive to movement and jostling of the adapter. While the connection was reestablished quickly, the disconnect detracted from the overall experience. TPCast indicated that final versions of the product would be less prone to the issue.
In addition, wireless adapters naturally require their own power. In our experience, the battery pack got rather warm. While it lasted up to five hours, it made for an uncomfortable experience that we hope will be also resolved with the final shipping product.
Now that the TPCast wireless adapter has a firmer shipping date, at least for Chinese pre-orders, we will be looking forward to moving around more freely within the HTC Vive’s VR landscape. If you have been waiting for your own TPCast, though it might yet be delayed, at least there is a light at the end of the virtual tunnel.
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