As expected, HTC announced an updated version of its Vive VR headset at its CES press conference in Las Vegas today. Meet the Vive Pro.
The new headset features a resolution of 3K achieved using two OLED panels with a combined resolution of 2880 x 1600, producing a sharper image than the previous model, which released in 2016.
While this might be considered an updated Vive rather than the all-new model some were hoping for, the display improvement is a significant upgrade. The current Vive features two 1080p displays offering a combined pixel count of 2160 x 1200. While this might produce a crisp image from afar, with the screens pressed up to your face inside a VR headset and magnified under a pair of lenses users are able to see the space between pixels. This is known as the screen door effect (SDE). Increasing the resolution of the display lessens this effect and produces clearer, more convincing images.
Bumping up to 3K won’t completely solve the issue, though; experts have said VR will need as high as 16K to reach the retinal resolution.
Elsewhere, Vive Pro also boasts integrated audio, meaning there’s no need for $99 the Deluxe Audio Strap add-on that was released for the original Vive last year. HTC is also releasing a separate add-on developed with Intel that will make the kit and the original Vive work wirelessly. The headstrap has been reworked too, taking more weight off of the front of the device, and there are dual microphones.
Crucially, HTC also confirmed the headset will support Valve’s upcoming refresh base stations, which will be shown at CES today.
Aside from that this is still the Vive you know and love; it’ll play all the same content your old headset did but you’ll now see Dogmeat’s loveable face a little clearer in Fallout 4 VR. Interestingly, HTC will be shipping an ‘HMD only’ upgrade this quarter, with a full package to arrive later in the year.