While 2016 was essentially the year of VR with the debut of Oculus Rift and HTC Vive headsets, the coming year will see the high-end VR going untethered. HTC debuted their TPCAST wireless add-on accessory for Vive headset at CES 2017. Another wireless add-on, KwikVR, seen at CES is going to beat TPCAST’s solution to the market.
Atlanta-based Scalable Graphics showcased the KwikVR, a wireless add-on kit for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. While TPCAST Wireless HD is developed inside the company’s own ViveX incubator program, KwikVR is a third party solution. So in case you are desperate for a wireless solution for HTC Vive, we have compared the two to determine which is the best choice.
The TPCAST wireless add-on consists of a receiver that attaches on the top strap of the Vive headset. The accessory is not completely wireless as there still is a cable running out of the headset to the battery. The battery goes in the wearer’s pocket, with a wire running to the Vive.
The KwikVR is designed a bit differently. The whole device with its battery pack can be attached to your belt. It features two USB ports and an HDMI port which delivers the gaming experience with 5GHz Wi-Fi connectivity. CEO Xavier Cavin told NewAtlas.com that placing the dongle on your belt, rather than on your head, eliminates any wave-based safety concerns.
Scalable revealed that KwikVR offers under 12 milliseconds of latency on top of the delay already on the Vive. Though this may sound like a very short amount of time, it is enough to cause screen lagging as you finish a head movement, according to UploadVR. In comparison, the TPCAST solution for Vive claims ability to deliver 2K video resolution at 90Hz with less than 2 millisecond transmission latency.
KwikVR Wireless kit includes a 16,100 mAh battery–estimated to provide up to four hours of wireless-VR playtime. The TPCAST wireless accessory, meanwhile, packs a 6,000mAh battery. This provides two hours of VR time per charge. A five-hour XL version of the same battery will come out “at a later date,” according to the company.
Price and Availability
Scalable Graphics, the cloud solutions company behind KwikVR, said that it was aiming to release the product in March for €300, or around $300.
HTC’s TPCAST solution, on the other hand, would go on sale worldwide in Q2 2017 for $249, although no other regional pricing was announced. It is already been available for pre-order via HTC’s Chinese Vive online store since November 11 last year.
Vive’s TPCAST Solution will release later, but is still the cheaper option. It also performs much better than the Kwik VR with a lesser video transmission latency. The cutting of cord therefore with KwikVR isn’t worth it as it comes at a cost of added latency. Also it is even $50 more expensive than TPCAST. Sure enough, it offers a better battery backup but it is better to wait for TPCAST solution to arrive before making a decision.