UploadVR Tries Wireless Vive Accessory by TPCAST

Subject: General Tech | December 22, 2016 - 10:33 PM |
Tagged: VR, vive, pc gaming, htc

A little over a month ago, we reported on HTC’s announcement of the wireless upgrade kit for their Vive. It was created by TPCAST, which was a participant in HTC’s VR startup accelerator. The actual upgrade kits won’t ship until early 2017, but UploadVR was given some time with the wireless accessory. The video was shot in the UploadVR office, which makes this the first public usage outside of a controlled event as far as I am aware, but TPCAST was present.

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Image Credit: UploadVR

It apparently works. The previewer didn’t have any real complaints about its performance versus wired, and they were satisfied with its tracking, despite doing flips and other maneuvers to try to break communication with the wireless bases. This is promising, as the 60 GHz signal, used by the wireless adapter, can be picky about anything except direct line-of-sight. That said, the video base station is designed to be placed on the ceiling, with a 160-degree FOV, so it shouldn’t be too obstructed in almost any scenario.

According to UploadVR, TPCAST claims that it adds less than 2ms of delay.

While we are on this topic, there have been rumors that HTC might announce (probably just announce) a replacement to the original VIVE unit. One possibility is that it is basically the same system, just with the wireless functionality built in, making this upgrade kit sufficient for first-generation adopters. That would probably be the only scenario, at least that I can think of, which doesn’t involve a bunch of angry 2016 buyers, though.

We’ll see when CES rolls around.

Source: UploadVR

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December 23, 2016 | 02:47 AM - Posted by prtskg (not verified)

I hope all VR headsets will be sold with both wire and wireless facilities for best performance.

December 23, 2016 | 03:45 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Note that their testing involved hiring a Cirque du Soleil gymnast to film doing a backflip with it on, but did not involve them actually doing any latency testing. No measurements with a latency tester (plenty of the DK2-era latency testers released a few years ago are still around), not a comparison between cabled and wireless using a HDMI splitter and a high-speed camera, not even a quick test swapping between the wireless link and stock cables.

Combined with TPLink being completely silent on the actual method of functioning of their hardware (no mention as to what RF standard is being used, no mention of what compression they are using and/or where it is implemented), and dodgy practices like deleting the "15ms latency" figure from their website leaving only the ">1ms transmission latency" figure (which could mean '1ms transition latency plus 14ms encode/decode latency' and still be technically correct), this just continues to raise red flags as to it being an actually viable device.

December 23, 2016 | 06:23 AM - Posted by maonayze

Firstly, it didnt say it was a test or benchmark. It says First Look, nothing more. They were impressed by it and it seemed to work well as far as experiencing the unit was concerned. Surely this is good news.

If a guy can back flip and cartwheel without being disorientated or falling over (or giving us a view of his breakfast) then it works fairly well IMHO. At the end of the day this is the first wireless VR product that is being produced and seen in the open. If that makes everyone else take the challenge on board (inc Valve/HTC), again...that is a good thing and it seems that wireless is coming quicker than we could have expected in VR and that is great news for everyone.

If the experience is working well enough in reality then latency numbers mean nothing when on paper. Too many people will get all scientific and techie about the numbers...just like GFX card FPS. Too many worrying if their chosen tech is at the top of some numbers tree instead of concentrating on the experience itself. As long as it all works well, that is all that matters.

December 29, 2016 | 09:33 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

"If a guy can back flip and cartwheel without being disorientated or falling over (or giving us a view of his breakfast) then it works fairly well IMHO"

If the same guy can backflip or cartwheel with his eyes closed, then the 'test' is completely worthless.

December 23, 2016 | 01:57 PM - Posted by Aaron J. Peterson (not verified)

There is a huge difference between the IMU-adjusted update rate - which would allow someone to maintain balance - and the latency of putting new pixels on the display, where game immersivity is on the line. They took the time to hire an acrobat, but not take the 5 minutes to throw up some preliminary, "first look" latency numbers. We did not get good information in the one area it really matters for wireless VR, just smoke and mirrors.

January 2, 2017 | 08:38 AM - Posted by Reuben Ahmed (not verified)

They've said the wireless device adds an "additional 2ms" to the lag chain. What I'm going ot guess is the 15ms reading we had before, was probably 15ms total now. Does anyone know what Vive's lag is? Now I'm guessing it's 13ms, hah!

Supposedly anything under 20ms is OK. 2ms is not that much to discern..I seriously doubt a human is capable. 10ms on the other hand...

January 2, 2017 | 08:41 AM - Posted by Reuben Ahmed (not verified)

I was right, according to this article, Vive is 13ms without this kit. That's where that 15ms came from.

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/tpcast-wireless-vive-upgrade-kit,33015....

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