HTC is looking toward the high-end as it aims to distinguish its niche in the early VR market.
At CES, HTC showcased the Vive Pro, an updated PC-powered virtual reality headset that adds a higher-resolution display, integrated audio and an updated tracking system.
The headset has a 2880×1600 display (previously 2160×1200) that will power views for both eyes. It’s a 74 percent increase in pixel density over the regular Vive, now at 615ppi. This puts the headset on par with the display of Samsung’s Odyssey headset while besting that of the Oculus Rift.
The company also showcased a wireless adaptor that will let users stream content wirelessly using Intel’s WiGig technology. This would make the headset truly untethered.
The headset will have integrated headphones and dual mics. HTC currently sells an add-on that brings headphones to the current-gen Vive. The Vive Pro will utilize Valve’s updated SteamVR 2.0 tracking system, which allows for more accurate tracking.
The Vive Pro “takes premium VR to a new level,” HTC exec Dan O’Brien said. The company will continue to sell and market the standard Vive headset.
HTC didn’t offer any details on pricing, an area that has proved to be a major struggle for them. The headset will be coming some time this quarter.
The Taiwanese company has had a bit of a rough time contending with its larger competitors who don’t have to focus on hardware margins as they build VR products that sell their platform. Aggressive price cuts from Facebook’s Oculus have backed HTC into an awful standing where it has to pitch its comparable headset as a “luxury” alternative to the Rift.
The Vive Pro makes a number of changes that at least differentiate the company’s offering from what its competitors are offering. Whether this will be enough to compete with Facebook and Microsoft is going to rely heavily on how aggressive HTC prices this.