HTC are expected to showcase their HTC Vive 2.0 headset at CES 2017

HTC are expected to showcase their HTC Vive 2.0 headset at CES 2017

HTC are expected to showcase their HTC Vive 2.0 headset at CES 2017

– Update – HTC has confirmed that they will not be announcing an HTC Vive 2.0 headset at CES 2017. 
HTC are rumoured to be unveiling their HTC Vive 2.0 headset at CES 2017, though the latest rumours about the headset are downright ludicrous.  
We have already spoken about our thoughts on HTC’s Vive 2.0, placing our bets on the headset being a revised version of the original HTC Vive, providing the same internal specifications with a reduced mass and price tag to help the company bring VR to the masses.  To be clear, what we expect is not an HTC Vive 2.0, but rather an HTC Vive 1a, a model with similar specifications and a price reduction.
This is assuming that HTC plans on announcing it as a new version at all, and not just as a price decreased new revision. Personally, I think that they will soon announce a permanent price decrease, shipping revised units which look/feel the same as the original but with fewer internal components and an improved manufacturing process.  
These expectations are based on Valve’s already announced second generation lighthouse tracking system, which significantly reduces the component count of both the HTC Vive and their controllers. This should help reduce the production cost of new HTC Vive headsets and make it more viable for the consumer market. 
We do not see a huge increase in screen resolution and the handset’s specifications as a good move for HTC, as this will increase the PC system requirements for VR and make VR even more expensive.

The HTC Vive 2 may be cheaper to produce thanks to 2nd generation lighthouse tracking


Rumoured Specifications  

According to Digitimes the HTC is planning to announce the HTC Vive 2 at CES with a significant increase in both screen resolution and refresh rate, increasing the screen resolution to two 4K displays and the maximum refresh rate from 90Hz to 120Hz. 

Not only that but according to Digitimes’ report the HTC Vive 2.0 will use a wireless transmitter to connect to a PC, eliminating the need for a tether that connects the HTC Vive to a PC. 

These specifications are stupidly high, to a point where it is simply unfeasible as a consumer product. After all, the HTC Vive 2.0 would need to connect to modern GPUs and run games on modern hardware. 

First things first, the use of two 4K 120Hz displays in a new VR headset seems stupidly advanced, going well beyond the limits of the HDMI 2.0 specification and going as far as to hit the maximum limits of the DisplayPort 1.4 specifications. Please note that while this kind of video data transfer is possible on DisplayPort 1.4, we must remember that the DisplayPort standard is only suitable for cables that are up to 3 meters in length, with longer cables only being usable with lower resolutions or colour depths.   

DisplayPort 1.4 is a new standard, with DisplayPort 1.3 yet to be seen in consumer-grade monitors. With this kind of resolution and framerate only being possible at the pinnacle of modern cable technology, it is very unlikely that ANY modern GPU could power this headset, nevermind a wireless solution that could transmit this kind of signal at a low latency. 

Simply put, this kind of specifications upgrade is ludicrous, though an upgrade to a resolution of 1440×1600 per eye at 90Hz is certainly possible. Right now the HTC Vive has a screen resolution of 1080×1200 per eye, offering a combined resolution of 2160×1200.  

With TPCAST’s HTC Vive Wireless kit we know that tetherless VR is possible, though it certainly far from being ready for a consumer VR headset with an insane increase in screen resolution and a 33% increase in refresh rate. 

HTC are expected to showcase their HTC Vive 2.0 headset at CES 2017  

Temper your expectations

It is likely that HTC will be showcasing a new VR product within the next few weeks, though we must bear in mind that even cutting edge VR headsets need to comply with modern display standards and be usable with modern GPU technology. 

While it can be disappointing for some to see technology moving “slowly”, though we must remember that VR is still in its infancy, which means that the priority for HTC should be to make their product more affordable for the masses and to support the development of VR experiences and games which will drive gamers to this new platform. 


You can join the discussion on these recent HTC Vive 2.0 rumours on the OC3D Forums.