Today at a pre-CES Vive press event, we got a look at the newly announced HTC Vive Pro, a higher-resolution headset from the company acting as a sort of ‘Vive 1.5’.

Update (1/9/18): Catch our in-depth hands-on with the new HTC Vive Pro here.

Firstly, the addition of a 2880 x 1600 resolution OLED display ( 1440 x 1600 per display) makes the new Vive Pro a full 78% higher resolution than the standard Vive headset, which is 2160 x 1200. The original Vive is still going to be sold “through 2018” however, says Vive GM Daniel O’Brien.

Not only does it bump the resolution, but it includes a few of the ‘premium’ add-on comforts of the original Vive including integrated audio via a headstrap similar to the original deluxe audio strap – a $100 add-on. Now a standard feature of the new Vive Pro, the headphones are actually now removable, and the side struts appear to sit further from the users temple.

An in-line amp is said to provide a better audio experience over the previous model. Also interesting to note: the back left headphone has volume buttons on it for quick manual adjustment.

Besides some of the obvious bits, the new headset has replaced the old knob mechanism for adjusting the lens-to-eye distance with a single button. Vive GM Daniel O’Brien says this makes it even easier for glasses-wearer since is fast to adjust.

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The rear strap has the familiar tightening nob and a guide for the tether. There’s actually a large flat piece that cups the back of the head that’s under the back strap.

The headset also includes dual mics, an in-line amp, and dual passthrough camera sensors. We’ll have a hands-on with the Vive Pro later today, so we’ll be able to test out just how the dual passthrough cameras work. The dual passthrough cameras replace the original Vive’s single camera.

You’ll notice tracking sensors are still a big feature on the Vive Pro, as the headset is backwards compatible with the original SteamVR 1.0 tracking with its 2.0 tracking sensors nodules.

We’re trying it right now as we speak, so we’ll bring our hands-on as soon as humanly possible. Check back for more virtual and augmented reality news to come from this year’s CES.

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  • Suitch

    This is everything we considered second generation but they are acting like it is still first generation. WTF are they working on behind the scenes that they consider second generation?!?!?!?!

    • Andrew Jakobs

      4k uhd displays per eye? and an actually good looking design as this is even more ugly than the original vive.

      • Suitch

        Resolution isn’t that important for VR when it comes to generational differences. the resolution isn’t limited by the screens as much as it is the GPU limitations and the software limitations.

        • Mei Ling

          Foveated rendering will sort of band-aid the rendering issues in the short term and as time goes on GPUs within the next 3 years should have more than enough power to render full 4K per eye at 90 frames at affordable OEM prices.

          • Martin Antholzner

            I think foveated rendering is going to stay (once it’s working really reliably coupled with eye tracking). There’s no reason in wasting processing power on areas that would be out of focus, processing power that could be used for something else.
            And eye tracking is going to be impotant for various other reasons so we need that sooner or later anyways.

          • I think GPU manufacturers will start to produce VR cards, like back in the day we had Voodoo 3DFX, I think the next evolution will be pure VR GPU Cards. VR/AR is the future so they have to go this route.

            A single card will have processors that can work together but render per eye with no bottleneck like NVidias VR-SLI but without a second card.

            They will support foveated rendering at the driver level using a an agreed standard for eye tracking so the games / apps do not have to change or do anything to support it, the Graphics card will just support it automatically as long as the HMD follows the same standard for eye tracking.

            The lens warp transform will be done in hardware.

            This is needed because GPU processing power will never keep up with resolution advancements. You can buy right now an 8K monitor already but we are still struggling driving 4k at high frame rates. Frame rate was never a factor for high res displays until VR came along.

            These GPU cards will invent a new super high bandwidth connection between the card and the HMD with Wireless transmission built into some of the cards or as a daughter board.

            AMD will become a big player in wireless mass adopted VR as they target cheaper hardware. Even Intel recently announced they are putting AMD Vega-m gpus onto their CPUs. The low end market in VR will be huge. AMD is already positioned for it. (I am a NVidia man but I appreciate how well AMD are doing recently).

            That’s my theory anyway :)

        • Omar Ceja Salgado

          I wonder if HTC will increase the minimum GPU given the higher resolution.

      • elev8d

        We don’t have hdmi or displayports capable of 4k per eye at 90hz yet unfortunately. Pimax’s solution was to use two displayport cables to do 4k per eye and still can’t hit 90hz with that on a 1080ti.

    • Gerald Terveen

      If you ask me they just didn’t want to keep interested folks from buying in 2017 and now have to pretend this is just a minor upgrade – don’t expect something major following this one any time soon.

    • David Herrington

      Second gen will be fully integrated wireless, foveated rendering, even higher resolution, wide FOV lighter and better looking, and last but not least is lighter HMD.

      • And HDR Screens

        But what’s stopping foveated rendering from coming w/ this?

      • Lucidfeuer

        Foveated rendering doesn’t not exist yet…for the rest, I call this late gen1 but sure, let it be gen2.

        • David Herrington

          “Foveated rendering doesn’t not exist yet…”
          I’m guessing you’ve never heard of FOVE? https://www.getfove.com

          • Lucidfeuer

            FOV is just a headset with eye-tracking (which should’ve been standard by now).

            This was more of a broadway of saying that foveated rendering is way more complicated (in terms of rendering pipeline) than we realise, so it’ll probably be there for Gen4 at the earliest (assuming we even get there for this era).

          • David Herrington

            FOVE has working foveated rendering. Check their site.

          • Lucidfeuer

            Show me one experience, app or game that uses Foveated rendering. There’s none. For the simple reason that beyond archaïc and basic FR for the sake of PR, announcement and of-course actual prototypes, a streamlined rendering pipeline is far from usable be it for the simple fact that “foveated” rendering is much more complex than what those companies imply.

            Also as a general rule of thumb, anything that comes out of Nvidia is bullshit vaporware so much their implementation is null unless people from Nvidia actually come working in your production studio for a game, if you’re a major publisher of course. Says a lot.

          • David Herrington

            “Yeah show me one experience that you haven’t already shown me, yeah and it can’t be Nvidia because they have no idea how to make or use graphics cards, yeah and… and… no cheating!”

          • Lucidfeuer

            You get my point, it’s still in the research phase, and it’s much more complicate than what you seem to realise, so it’ll come for sure, but probably not until gen4.

            As for Nvidia, you’ve never tried or seen anyone tried to use their vaporworks…

          • David Herrington

            I do get your point. Yes I agree it’s still in testing/research. But you keep saying it’s going to come out gen 4 but that is just a number. I’m not even sure of what you think is gen 2. Is Vive Pro gen 2? Because if so gen 3 won’t be here until at least 1.5 years from now. So I’m fairly certain they will have worked out the kinks by then.

          • David Herrington

            Technology like this will always be in research. But we have working models here… TODAY. Check out the Tobii booth at CES 2018.
            https://www.reddit.com/r/Vive/comments/7pzgsg/tobii_is_showing_its_eyetracking_foveated/?st=JCCHYIG5&sh=831e0576

    • Ben

      I’m guessing the biggest change they are waiting for are membrane lenses. I’m wondering if the vergence accommodation conflict is one of those things that will make current HMDs unusable after we’re used to it’s absence on future hardware (with membrane lenses).

    • elev8d

      Gen 1.5… these are 1440 by 1600 per eye, 2k by 2k per eye would be 2nd gen, because then screen door is mostly gone. Unfortunately, we need more bandwidth on our cables or the wireless option needs to surpass cabled solutions.

  • Andrew Jakobs

    My god the headset seems even uglier than the original vive, and the blue color is really tacky.. If only they had stuck to black. And so they do ship it with the 2.0 basestations.

    Well, If they still continue to sell the original vive, than either that one will get a major price reduction, or the Pro will be a lot more expensive than the current vive (at least original introduction price).

    • Gerald Terveen

      The old one will vanish as the Lighthouse Gen 1 is now outdated and was too expensive to manufacture anyway.

    • Mei Ling

      By the end of year there will be plenty of significantly reduced price HTC Vive’s out in the junkyard (Ebay).

      • NooYawker

        We all knew gen 1 would be junk eventually.

    • SomeGuyorAnother

      Hoping they manage the prices right for this. It’s originally going to ship seperately, since Lighthouse 2.0 still has no release, but will be compatible. Ideally, those who early adopt can get the new lighthouse at an equivalent price as the full 2.0 bundle sans headset, but if they manage to screw the early headset buyers who want to upgrade the rest of their set, then there wouldn’t be much reason to not wait.

    • |{ing

      Its just a colour though… they needed something to differentiate for Hype…
      I would direct your attention here anyway… https://www.mightyskins.com/vive/

      • Andrew Jakobs

        yes because such an fugly sticker is really something I want to decorate my device with.. They should just be cool out of the box, and the Vive Pro certainly isn’t..

    • Zdzisław Kineskop

      Maybe they were not aware you will be attending a fasion show in it.

    • Slaziar

      You’re wearing it wrong if you’re having issues with the colour.

      • Andrew Jakobs

        It’s not always on my head, and it’s not like you’re gonna walk around in a hat you really don’t like, even though you don’t see it yourself..

  • Matilde Constance

    FOV ??????

    • Martin355

      Same, 110 degrees.

      • Karolis Polikša

        lame

      • Kev

        :(

      • sarcome

        sure about this?

  • Brandon Russell

    Dual passthrough cameras; didn’t see that one coming. Could allow for some interesting applications moving forward.

  • sythwyre

    Looks interesting but I’m really going to need you to update those controllers (looking at you, Valve ‘Knuckles’)

  • Karolis Polikša

    78% higher resolution? I don’t get it. Should it be like only ~36% higher?

    • Nick Ocheltree

      Calculate it like you would for surface area.

      2160×1200 = 2,592,000
      2880×1600 = 4,608,000

      4.608 million is 78% more pixels than 2.592 million.

      • kontis

        That’s the number of pixels. It’s pedantic, but technically Karolis is right. Resolution is only 33% better.

        • Jistuce

          What? Resolution in the PC space has always been about # of pixels.

          • Scooty

            Sure but the increase in number of pixels is not representative to how we perceive things. The 37% PPI increase is the percentage improvement that you will experience.

            Not earth-shattering but paired with all the upgrades to the ergonomics, weight, audio, mics, cameras and built-in but optional wireless displayport make for a pretty compelling upgrade until better screens are ready for vive 2.

          • Jistuce

            Yes, pixel density is important. That doesn’t mean the stated 78% resolution increase is in any way inaccurate. Resolution and pixel density are related, but not interchangable. If someone says there’s a 78% increase in resolution, I expect them to be talking about… well, resolution, not pixel density.

            (And I’d bet the improved optics will actually help way more than the higher resolution. The existing lenses SUUUUUCK.)

      • Surykaty

        in other words slightly PPI more than my GearVR on S8… MEH upgrade ..

        • kontis

          In other words the highest PPI AMOLED available in the world. HTC probably cannot get anything better even if they wanted.

          • Surykaty

            So this is only 615 ppi. Manufacturing samples of 4k 6inch AMOLED displays have been available since 2015 (around 800 ppi) . There are already cheapish chinese VR headsets with 4K LCDs. US company eMagin supplies 2048 x 2048 (one eye) micro oled displays to Odigy and people say it’s the best display they haver ever seen (no screendoor because microoled displays are done in a different way and you can have much much tinier gaps between pixels.). And there is a handfull of other micro-oled maufacturers that supply professional cameras with viewfinder displays that have ppi in the thousands. So really buddy.. meh

          • SomeGuyorAnother

            It’s likely the best display they could get within a targeted price range. LCDs are subpar, as they can cause ghosting while the pixels try to change from high contrast scenarios. This is evident in most of the WMR headsets.

          • I am interested in this Micro-LED (not micro oled) display technology that are coming. Heard about them the other day on a Sony blog. They can do everything OLED can but have much brighter output to 1000 nits, the only thing holding them back (debut in 2012) was production costs.

          • Karolis Polikša

            It wouldn’t hurt to increase it by ~1 inch to the sides. I’ve tried Pimax. Even if it interpolates resolution to 4K per eye the difference is massive.

        • NooYawker

          Don’t compare gear VR with an actual VR headset.

      • Karolis Polikša

        I figured… convenient way to represent minor increase in resolution.

        • elev8d

          2.6 million to 4.6 million isn’t a minor increase. There’s still screen door, but the improvement is very noticeable. I’m saying this from my experiencing comparing the original Vive to the Samsung MR, which use same res panels as the Vive Pro.

          • As it probably uses the same panel as the Odyssey then that will hopefully keep costs down unless they use better optics in the Vive Pro but then they would have mentioned that too.

            78% more pixels is a very welcome upgrade.

            The Pimax 8K upscales from 1440p to 4K which is actually lower input resolution than the Vive Pro, granted the 8K model then stretches that 1440p image to 4k so SDE will be reduced at the sacrifice of sharpness (depending on how good the scaler is) , and that 200 degree FOV will keep it a winner I am sure.

          • JMB

            The Pimax 8K’s and 5K’s input resolution is 2,560×1440 PER EYE, so that’s 5120×1440 (7,372,800 pixels) vs the Vive Pro’s 2880×1600 (4,608,000 pixels) so the Pimax 8K’s input res is actually 160% of the Vive Pro’s input res.

            On the 8K this is then scaled up to 4K.

            Given that it is also displaying 200ish degrees of FOV the ppd should actually be pretty damn close to the curent non-Pro Vive.

            If they do manage to get it to run at 90hz it’ll be a tough call to decide between higher ppd on the Vive Pro or more FOV on the 8K.

          • Oscar

            “Given that it is also displaying 200ish degrees of FOV the ppd should actually be pretty damn close to the curent non-Pro Vive.”

            Don’t forget that the displays in the Pimax 8k is 3840×2160, even though it upscales from 1440p the display is still 4K.

          • Thanks for the correction. Which do you think will have a clearer display for text?

          • JMB

            Really hard to say at this point tbh. Assuming you mean Pimax 8K vs Vive Pro and assuming Pimax comes in at 200 degrees and Vive Pro at 110 degrees, we are looking at 5ppd for Pimax vs 4ppd for Vive Pro. Text legibility in that case hinges on the quality of the 8K’s scaler and that is a black box at this point.

            Also, we know nothing of the Pimax 8K’s final lense design so I’d go with ‘pretty close to indiscernible’ right now but that is assuming a really good scaler and competitive lenses in the 8K.

          • Ok, cheers. Yes I meant 8K vs Vive Pro

            One thing that the Vive teaser showed was an out of focus heading which might have meant the sweet spot on the Vive vs Vive Pro.
            I believe that the sweet spot on the Pimax 8K is a huge area in comparison so you don’t have to arrange it on your head with micro adjustments so much.

            I was hoping to hear more on this at the Vive announcement but not found much on it yet.

          • Karolis Polikša

            Ok, 33% better resolution is noticable improvement. 4k per eye is improvement.

          • Dennis

            It is not 33%..please.
            That would be the same as saying that a 65inch TV only have a 30% larger viewing surface than a 50 inch. Which is completely wrong.

    • Ben

      >> base = 2160*1200;
      pro = 2880*1600;
      percent_diff = ( (pro – base) / base ) * 100
      percent_diff =
      77.778

  • Mei Ling

    Aside from the Oculus Go it will be interesting to see Oculus’s take on this. Would they compete with this product and refresh on the Oculus Rift by year’s end or would they continue to R&D on the Santa Cruz project, allowing the Oculus Go to rake in the masses, and release something extraordinary by the end of 2019.

    • |{ing

      Well it is a race… Only one king and only one crown… hehehe

    • Martin Antholzner

      I hope they stick to what they said and only release something really worthy for the next ‘rift’ (when it’s ready in 2019+). The updated Vive doen’t really get me excited (especially since the pricetag is probably going to be ridiculous).

      • Mei Ling

        HTC are selling their new product as standalone without any extras. This means you will only get this headset and the box that comes with it; nothing more. So to that end it isn’t likely the Q1 only product will sell for more than $450 which is about the price of a brand new Xbox One X.

  • Fredrik Bengtsson

    Wow, it’s even bulkier than the first one.

    • kontis

      A truly larger headset with larger screens would be cool, because the FOV could be wider. Just like in the Oculus DK1.

    • Fredrik Sjöborg

      It’s smaller than the original so no.

  • Hope it is not a quarter 4 release. Res bump will keep me away from MS-MR and please include knuckle controllers in this one and a price that is competitive rather than exclusive.

    • kontis

      IIRC Knuckles was never meant as controller 2.0, but an alternative.

      • That’s fine but it is a big selling point of the rift. Why don’t they just match what is considered a “better” experience compared to wands on a new 1.5 release?

      • Mei Ling

        An alternative that is such a vast improvement over the Wands that it almost begs to be designated version 2.0 and it will.

  • Avatar Roku

    They should’ve gone with the PSVR/WMR design.

    • NooYawker

      That would require an entire redesign. This is more of a 1.5.

  • Some good screenshots of the talk here for the impatient.
    https://www.engadget.com/2018/01/08/htc-vive-ces-2018-press-event/

  • get lost

    FOV pleeeeeeeeease increase the FOV. Why only Pimax can offer a decent FOV? I am tired of looking through goggles

    • Scypheroth

      no one wants FOV is why…my eyes are in the center of my head not the sides like a fish

      • get lost

        just drop dead, would you mister asshole? thanks I appreciate it…

        • Scypheroth

          certified troll, i just checked your past post nothing but negative feedback. you sir are the scum of the world the bottom feeders of misery and frankly should not have been given birth to. your disappointment to mankind…

      • Andrew McEvoy

        Heh…sure. I’ll take a fov increase all day long.

      • Fov is very important for immersion, just like in the real world we should always aim for vision to match our eyeballs and not have blinkers like current gen headsets. It will come eventually.

  • Scypheroth

    ehh…nothing major of a upgrade to deem a current VIVE owner (me) to upgrade. I have the delux headset that has superior sound quality. I have the wireless setup i have a aftermarket wireless mic. and i dont use the front camera…

    • Jerald Doerr

      Would like info on your wireless mic..

  • DC

    So, its a Odyssey. Basically.

  • Graham

    Looks big still – am very interested in the testers opinion on weight / comfort

  • Thoemse

    We have a winner here and it is the Pimax 8k.

  • Oscar

    It looks to weigh a ton! Wonder just how heavy it is. This isn’t good news for Vive, since Pimax 8K is around 350 grams.

    • One of the slides at the conference states it is lighter than the original Vive

    • Lucidfeuer

      It probably weight around the same as the Vive given the materials and build. The problem is the horrible design and stupid ergonomics.

  • Very interesting