HTC just launched a beta for wirelessly streaming VR PC content to its own standalone headset, Vive Focus Plus, following on from the launch of Oculus Link last month.
According to a press release the feature, which is added in the latest software updates to Viveport and Vive Focus Plus, lets you play ‘thousands’ of Viveport titles on the headset. However it’s not clear if Viveport Streaming lets you access VR apps on other services like SteamVR, much like Oculus Link does. Update: HTC confirmed to us that, if you’re a Viveport Infinity subscriber, Viveport Streaming does support SteamVR.
The Vive Focus Plus does offer full six degrees of freedom (6DOF) tracking for both head and hands in VR. On paper, it is possible for Focus Plus to do almost everything a regular Vive or other PC VR headset does via streaming. But we’ve had issues with the headset’s controller tracking in the past and streaming solutions can add on extra latency that can spoil comfort and immersion in VR. We haven’t tried Viveport Streaming for ourselves yet, so we can’t comment as to how well this works. We’ve also had issues using the Vive Focus Plus natively in our limited time with the kit.
Viveport Streaming is available exclusively to Viveport Infinity members for the time being. In the future, HTC will add support for headsets that run its Vive Wave SDK though, to the best of our knowledge, these are only available in China.
There’s a lot else to consider, though. For starters, the Vive Focus Plus is not sold as a consumer-level headset in the west. It’s targeted as such in China, but in the US, Europe and other regions it’s billed an enterprise-focused device that ships for $799. That’s double the price of the $399 Oculus Quest. Somewhat confusingly, the press release states that streaming “is currently only available for home users, but we expect to make it accessible to enterprise users in the near future.”
We would assume that means that enterprise customers can’t stream their applications, which aren’t published on Viveport, as of right now. Again, we’ve reached out to HTC to check.
Also note that this feature is only available for the Focus Plus. The original Focus, which launched around six months before the Plus with a 3DOF motion controller, is not supported at this time.
We can’t see many western VR fans making use of this feature if it really works, then. Hopefully, we’ll be able to bring you some impressions in the near future.