HTC unveils 'Pro' virtual reality headset

HTC unveils 'Pro' virtual reality headset

HTC unveils 'Pro' virtual reality headset

The naming convention hints at what to expect. Could HTC Vive make a move into the world of 4K resolution?

Again, a price and release date for the Vive Pro were not shared; those details will be provided "soon".

The headset also interestingly now features dual-front-facing cameras accessible to developers, who can presumably use them for inside-out tracking and mixed reality applications. HTC hasn't disclosed exactly how much lighter it will be. It's finding an early niche in immersive attractions, where you can strap on a rented headset and wander around, dodge stormtroopers and even work up a sweat.

"There's a clear need in the VR market for a premium VR experience with high resolution display, integrated audio and the best components available today in a headset", said HTC's Daniel O'Brien.

Sources indicate to Ars that the improved resolution will pay off particularly well for apps such as training simulations. The new displays on the Vive Pro will be a 78 percent increase in resolution over the original Vive, HTC explained at press conference on Monday.

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The unit is supposed to be available to existing owners this quarter, with a standalone bundle to come later in the year.

Last week, HTC's marketing team sent out a tweet that gave us a hint about a possible new HMD. The Knuckles do not as of yet have a confirmed public release.

Alongside the resolution increase, HTC has also redesigned the Vive Pro's headstrap and added built-in headphones. Obviously, the main advantage of this is a larger room-scale environment to explore, but you can also use it to host more Vive headsets (or Steam VR-enabled headsets) in the same space. This piece of equipment will operat in the interference-free 60Ghz band, says HTC, and will be up to "the most discerning quality bar for home users and business VR customers", so says Frank Soqui, General Manager Virtual Reality Group at Intel Corporation. Coincidentally, TPCast has already announced plans at this year's CES to produce a TPCast Plus suite of hardware, which promises improvements such as microphone support and various tweaks to how it handles wireless data.

"Viveport is moving to a VR first experience model, and with the all-new Viveport VR, we are changing the way consumers discover, experience and acquire VR content", said Rikard Steiber, president, Viveport.

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