HTC Vive Teasing VR Resolution Upgrade For CES Conference

by Jamie Feltham • January 5th, 2018

It looks like the HTC Vive is about to get a big visual update, or at least that’s what they seem to want people to think is coming in just a few days at CES. We don’t know for sure what’s in store, but that seems like the most logical assumption.

Just a few moments ago the official Twitter account for the SteamVR headset posted the message below:

The wordplay and design seems to suggest that some form of update to Vive’s display resolution is on the way. Could this possibly mean an updated headset with a higher-resolution than the two 1080 x 1200 panels used in the original Vive? Rumors have circulated that HTC may release an enhanced Vive with a 4K display in the past, so it’s certainly possible. If so, will we see any other updates to the kit?

Crucially, the tease points to a January 8th reveal, which is the day that Vive hosts its CES 2018 press conference. We’ll be following along closely so check back for the latest.

What's your reaction?
  • drd7of14

    I hope they offer up some sort of upgrade program if this is a significant upgrade.

    • Sandy Wich

      I expect a standalone headset available for anyone who still wants to use the old motion controllers and lightbox.

      VR is more of a, “display”, technology than anything else. No reason why we shouldn’t be able to play old or new experiences on either old or new hardware as long as the fundamental mechanics of VR don’t change.

      • drd7of14

        Whether it comes as a standalone package or a new bundle (I’d assume they’d want to offer up options), an upgrade program for the old HMD would be desirable. Those units were not cheap, and, much like smartphones, have only selective use once upgrading to the newer model…Maybe resale if it gets to that point. It would serve HTC a lot more to recycle the older HMDs on their own and/or refurbished them for resale.

        All of that being said, the Lighthouses(not lightbox) are getting a significant design upgrade for the newer units. They are reported to not be cross compatible with the older HMD due to design specifications being different. It has to do with the mechanical movement of the sensors within the lighthouses. Pretty sure UploadVR did an article on it a while back, but until it’s more hands-on…We’ll see. It may be a 2.0 sort of thing where old HMD don’t work with the new Lighthouses, but old lighthouses can work with the new HMD. I don’t know for sure.

        All I know is that an upgrade program would be most beneficial to encourage the current install-base to jump to the next model. If they don’t offer up “something”, than consumers (myself included) are more likely to skip this release in wait for the following model afterwards. The only way I’d jump in is if I found a friend who was interested in buying mine off of me.

        • Kryojenix

          I think the upgrade program would likely be – hand-me-down it to your little brosis (or sell it to them on ebay) and buy the new kit if you want the VR ecosystem to flourish.

          • drd7of14

            Unfortunately…Truth. Lol

            One can dream. At least HTC has cellphone history with upgrades being a common thing. But likely not to happen.

      • Kryojenix

        Yeah, the tracking technology has been updated, so it’s likely to be a full new kit.
        Though I think the old trackers can probably track the new headset, but new trackers won’t track the existing one. However, there will be other upgrades to the tracking system, so…

    • IanTH

      Absolutely random, but I find it entertaining that you have Kyle Bosman as your avatar (unless, somehow, that isn’t – hard to tell with the small resolution image lol). I wish he’d do a segment like The Final Bosman again on Easy Allies, or at least keep up with doing his random episodes of Bosman at Home.

      • CRASH_Override

        Bosman ftw

      • drd7of14

        Yeah, been a fan of him since he started publicly appearing on GT and absolutely love what him and the other allies have created. I did pull this shot of him from TFB prior to EZA’s creation.

        Always wondered if anyone would ever notice it. YaY!

  • Hone McBone

    I assume it would come with the new controllers & lighthouses from Valve.

    • Michael

      I would love to see massive FOV improvements too. Though I must say, 200 degree FOV is not absolutely necessary just yet, so 4k per eye at say 150 degrees is still huge… And that resolution at that density would be amazing.

      • JustNiz

        >> 200 degree FOV is not absolutely necessary

        You obviously haven’t tried the Pimax 8K. The actual effect of such an increase in FOV over the Vive/Rift is massive.

        • Michael

          I actually have not tried it and would very much like to. Tell me, is the vertical resolution also improved?

        • Sandy Wich

          Although 200 degree FOV would be great, it’s not necessary. I think it’s far more important for them to get these things wireless, with that godray issue fixed, with more resolution, then wider field of view.

          But… Since 4k is the big, “thing”, it’s pretty obvious the next headset is probably going to be 4k, which all but promises wireless won’t be an option.So.. Yea.. Probably wider field of view and 4k with new motion controllers.. I hope it’s worth it. Cus man do wires SUCK ASSBUTT with roomscale.

          ^ Super destruction of immersion when ur always afraid of tripping over a wire and throwing ur pc across the room.

          • NachoFoot

            4k would be nice…if everyone had a 1080ti. How many Vive users actually have one?

          • Joshwa Sanders

            My 1080 struggles to keep up with some Vive games now. Couldn’t imagine what a 4K Vive would do..

          • koenshaku

            I have a 1080ti, but if turning the muti resolution scale slider up in raw data is any indication of the performance it isn’t promising lol.

          • gothicvillas

            I have Titan X and some games are limping

          • Brian Brown

            You don’t have to run at native 4k when using a 4k display. I have a 4k display, but I run some really demanding games at 1440p, or if I wanted to I could run them at 1080p, and they look one hell of a lot better than when played on a native 1080p screen.

            The main reason for the resolution bump at this time, isn’t to have all VR games run at 4k (or any higher resolution), it’s just to get rid of any screen door effect.

          • Cesar Bidoia

            I have a 4k screeen running windows at 1080p side by side to a native display at 1080p. The native is much more crispy. But regarding the screen door for the hmd i agree that it would help.

          • J.C.

            I wonder how many games have proper VR SLI support at this point, since it was put into both Unity and Unreal months ago. They may be assuming that if people want to go big…they’ll Go Big.

          • Joshwa Sanders

            Wireless and 4K aren’t mutually exclusive.

          • CQCoder

            I will be utterly shocked if 4K wireless is presented.

  • Kevin Brook

    Wonder if they will retrofit existing vives for a small price. Nice screens would be nice but not worth buying the headset all over again.

    • JustNiz

      This would be awesome but I’ll bet they just make everyone re-buy a whole new VR kit (headset, lighthouses, controllers). They’re doing this to maximize profits, not please existing customers, and if anyone needs sales money its HTC. They keep posting net losses.

      • Evgeni Zharsky

        No one will make you buy anything.

      • J.C.

        At this point switching to the new lighthouses and hopefully knuckles controllers seems to be the only sensible move. While an upgrade SEEMS like it’s be a nice option, the headset is more than half of the cost of the full kit. Personally, I’d rather buy a whole new kit, selling the original for $350 or so on eBay.

    • Sandy Wich

      I don’t think that’s going to happen myself, it’ll come down to them telling people, “you can keep the old and enjoy all the new games, but if you want the best, you’ll have to buy new technology, like you always have with monitors or tv’s or consoles or pc parts”. etc etc etc.

    • Ben Bega

      I doubt they offer to retrofit old units, no way they could make a profit on that without charging a ridiculous amount of money. You would need to shit the HMD to them, they would need to have a worker disassemble everything, put in the new screen+ whatever other improvements, reassemble the unit and then ship it back. Oh yea, and it all needs to be done perfectly and in a cleanroom to avoid getting dust inside the unit.

      Not a chance

      • Caven

        And ultimately, the only parts they might be able to recycle would be the straps, cable, and plastic housing. Almost everything that makes a Vive expensive would need to be replaced.

      • J.C.

        That sounds like an awfully painful delivery method.

      • mirak

        It’s not possible because a higher resolution means more bandwidth requirement on hdmi.
        There is a chip on the main board that split the hdmi signal to the two screens.
        I checked the specs and it can’t handle much more than the actual resolution at 90hz.
        QHD bandwith wouldn’t fit.
        So you would need to change the headset motherboard.

        It would be awesome to be able to just plug new screens but the headset would probably bigger and heavier.

  • koenshaku

    8k High resolution, foveated viewing, 200 degree FOV, wireless or bust, the demands of commenters are always amusing, you would think everyone was on the cutting edge of technology, but no most people are probably rocking a GTX 1060-1070 on an i5 and the closer this thing gets to release. Some people are already asking about an upgrade kit pamper package.
    That 200 FOV makes your HMD look like it came out of a quake game.
    8k will not see wireless anytime soon unless there is some wireless tech with the bandwidth I don’t know about.
    That higher resolution people have been clamoring over will come with a GPU expense that will likely be best suited for next Nvidia cards.

    There is no such thing as the perfect device, instead you will be looking at which compromises you want to accept within your budget. That said I look forward CES and I hope they include a couple extra trackers with this new kit so they can get more developers on board. I think this will be the needed justification for lighthouse tracking otherwise why not just add extra cameras to perfect inside out tracking? It’s cheaper and more consumer friendly.

    • kontis

      These hardware ambitions have NOTHING to do with GPUs and have no relation to requirements. The screens, FOV, optics etc. are the top of what current technology offers. That’s it.

  • daveinpublic

    If they beat Pimax to users, that will make a lot of people unhappy.

    • Kryojenix

      I’d posit that those people have insufficient understanding of capitalism and investment risk.
      But yeh, I’m one of the people who stands to be annoy’d.

  • gothicvillas

    I wouldnt be surprised of Pimax shares are noise diving

    • Caven

      I’d be surprised if they were, because I’m pretty sure Pimax isn’t a publicly traded company.

  • Surykaty

    Kinda makes sense because Samsung just started selling a QHD (1440×1600) VR (90Hz) AMOLED displayPanel name: SDC350-VR

    Type: AMOLED display

    Availability: Shipping

    Shape: Rectangle

    Panel size: 62.47 x 73.28 (mm)

    Thickness: 0.62 mm

    Active area size: 59.4 x 66 (mm)

    Temperature range

    Storage: from -30° to 75° Celsius

    Operating: from -20° to 70° Celsius

    Resolution: 1440 x 1600

    Diagonal size: 3.49 inches

    PPI: 615

    these should be the ones that were in Odyssey and people say they’re no good.. grainy with a lot of SDE

  • polysix

    if the rest of it is still as janky as before then not interested. Bad lenses, bad sweetspot and terrible ergonomics (lead me to selling my Vive). Resolution alone won’t get me back on the Vive bandwagon with crap ergonomics and sub par controls. (hate touchpads and expensive wands that break through no fault of your own then you’re left SOL)

    Have been 100x happier on my Rift at half the price, much better ergonomics, much higher quality parts, much better controls, fit and finish, better lenses, sharper view/clarity, less SDE.

    Vive/HTC need to raise their game all around not just on spec. Any real GEN2 HMD needs to be FINELY balanced, taking a leaf from Oculus not just ‘specs first’ cos these things have to be worn on the head for hours and interacted with the hands in good ways to feel tangible. Anything else is a spec race/bullet point/on paper win. Real results = the HMD you WANT to put on quickly and use daily = RIFT.

    • dk

      it might be the same displays Samsung is already making for the Odyssey…. so most likely Oculus can follow later….. they r all the same size screen

    • J.C.

      I’d hope that if this is a new headset announcement, that they’ve done a bit more than just bump up the resolution. Better ergonomics, better lenses, knuckles controllers, wireless and higher resolution would add up to be worth upgrading for. If they only add one or two of those things, I’ll stick to my original Vive.

    • mirak

      The fov of the rift is smaller, I felt I was in a box and using binoculars, compared to the vive.
      The rift seems a bit blurier and sharper at the same time probably in part because of the smeller fov.

      I also don’t like how the rift fits on the face, I prefer the Vive with he deluxe audio strap.

    • CQCoder

      Everything you just said is nothing but personal opinion. Not a single fact. I wish you Rift fanbois (and Vive fanbois for that matter) would just keep to yourselves.

    • Caven

      It wasn’t until well into their third generation that Oculus finally got that stuff right. The first generation Vive is leaps and bounds ahead of the first generation Rift. Despite the first Rift making me instantly and severely nauseous, I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt with their second one, and I’m willing to do the same for HTC.

  • Surykaty

    Samsung just started selling (and announced availability) of a QHD (1440×1600) VR (90Hz) AMOLED display with the name: SDC350-VR . It looks like the same display as in Samsung Odyssey.

  • mirak

    They could go to non pentil displays.
    That would be an improvement without changing the computed resolution.

    What I would have liked is to be able to just change the screens but the chip that split the hdmi image into two image couldn’t handle more bandwidth.

  • Tommy

    To me the design of the teaser suggests better lenses..

  • IMHO won’t be a 4K upgrade… more a display to set in par with Odyssey headset

  • Yulius Halim

    if it’s just resolution, it is not that exciting. If it’s paired with FOV rivalling pimax’s, now that’s a different story. Plus, VIVE is working with an eye tracking company (I believe Pimax said that sometime ago). If foveated rendering is implemented, that would be the bomb. Many people would buy the headset because their older laptops and PCs can handle the new “RESOLUTION”. Fingers crossed. I’d probably give up wireless temporarily for this upgrade.

  • CRASH_Override

    Resolution bump would be great, but I feel like Vive needs to work on other issues, like controllers and software. It’s the reason Rift is my go-to HMD.

  • Tommy

    The effect on the “new year’s” phrase suggests an optical aberration not a screendoor effect.
    And we know that Valve is developing custom lenses for next generation Vr…
    It think it’s not a screen upgrade , i think it’s a lenses updgrade