HTC introduced its ‘5G Hub’ product back in February—a 5G mobile hotspot mashed up with a media streaming device and a digital assistant. And still “coming soon” is a “cloud-based virtual reality” feature which promises to stream VR content directly to the Vive Focus, ‘no PC required’. Sounds great, and all you’ll need to wait for is the launch of a consumer version of the headset and hopeful deployment of massive new connectivity and cloud infrastructures.

Image courtesy HTC

Update (May 16th, 2019): HTC today announced that the 5G Hub will launch on Sprint on May 31st, with pre-orders starting tomorrow. In addition to the cost of the device, Sprint will charge $60/100GB of data, capping speeds to 2G thereafter.

HTC is still touting the VR streaming feature as “coming soon,” but Sprint appears not to mention it at all—likely because the necessary network infrastructures aren’t remotely close to being in place and the headset it relies on (Vive Focus) still isn’t available in the US as a consumer product.

The original article continues below.

Original Article (February 25th, 2019): HTC hopes that its 5G Hub, which is due out later this year in the US on the Sprint network, will be the center of your connected life. In addition to being a 5G hotspot, media player, digital assistant, and gaming device, the 5G Hub will, “in the future,” stream Viveport content from the cloud to the Vive Focus headset.

But the official page for the 5G Hub uses some teeny tiny fine print to point out two massive caveats:

“*The above scenario will depend on development of MEC technology and 5G infrastructure.”

Oh that’s all?

Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) and 5G are hugely complex infrastructure and cloud technologies which are still very well in their infancy. Not only are these technologies just beginning to roll out to some portions of select markets, they aren’t intrinsically linked, which means you might have 5G data access in your area eventually, but if there’s not the right MEC infrastructure in town, you’re SOL.

Which is to say… most of what needs to be in place for this cloud streaming feature to happen is not there yet, and HTC has no firm timeline for when it will be.

And then there’s the fact that they’re marketing this 5G Hub VR cloud streaming feature in the US as being compatible with the Vive Focus, a headset which is currently not available to consumers and has presently has no consumer release date.

Image courtesy HTC

Don’t get me wrong, I would love to see a 5G Hub in every home streaming cloud-rendered VR content to affordable headsets across the globe. But it seems just a tad bit early to be marketing this feature which is unlikely to be available to most potential 5G Hub customers by the time a newer version of the 5G Hub is launched.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • JesuSaveSouls

    Will there be any side effects to such wrechnology using those airwaves and virtual streams in our minds ?

    • jj

      …is that a joke or are you serious?

      • brandon9271

        I think he’s serious. :-/ On a side note, Jesu seems like a pretty swell guy, being that he saves owls.

        • jj


          On another side note: Does jFreak know that these devices aren’t using some magical invisible force to communicate? I mean i know hes pretty brainwashed into that kind of stuff but does he really believe its some new harmful wave type that we dont know about?

          • Paul Branney

            Technically it may be… Approx 50%of the 5g spectrum is at the same frequencies used by the human body. As it is not fully tested before rollout, it could indeed be harmful. Limited trials so far have been linked to cancers (tsa workers in usa) and miscarriages (a UK trial) so larger trials are needed, and I for one will attempt to limit my exposure until there is more data. I suspect some people may be affected more than others and have to limit exposure on a more permanent basis, while others will be able to spend hours per day with a transmitter right next to their head without any noticeable effect. We do know that current pre-5g tech causes calcium leakage from cell membranes, which tells the body to repair damage, which appears to be be a positive with exposures of up to 40 minutes, but the long term effects are unknown. Europe wide studies of 2g lasted a decade from mid 90s and were only published late 2000s, but they had an upper limit of 200 mins per MONTH as a high user, so the tech and its usage scenarios do tend to change more rapidly than very large studies can keep up with!

          • dk
          • Paul Branney

            Most of the studies focus on cancer, but the signals are not strong enough to chemically affect molecules, and also do not cause a major heating effect. They can change the voltage potential over a membrane though, which is what leads to the calcium leakage. Whether this is a bad thing in the long term, or rebalances itself with no adverse effects, I am not aware. What I am more interested in is changes to the signals in and operation of the brain. I’ve no doubt the answers are known in regards to military applications, with China having agitated some boars into dispersing using 5g. Could this eventually be used to subtly change mood etc during a video game?

          • dk

            there is absolutely no demonstration of any effect beyond random noise in the research results
            “The results are easily consistent with noise plus possible unknown confounders. To highlight this, the study also showed that the exposed rats lived longer than the control rats. Headlines, however, did not declare that cell phone use makes you live longer. This is probably just as quirky and spurious a result as the higher tumor rates.”

          • Warscent

            There are several peer review studies that show the complete opposite .

          • dk

            no there aren’t its cherry picked data ….exactly like I explained ….if there were studies demonstrating harm it would be limited even more than it already is

          • jj

            you’re an idiot spreading lies even while people are debunking your claims….

          • Warscent

            Science is a progression.
            One person posts old links on rat study from 2016, and I posted updated hard data on the same subject, yet you claim im the one debunked?
            This is even on mainstream news. Dont be so lazy.

      • gothicvillas

        Well, there is a link with 4g and cancer inducing illnesses.. look up, keeping phone close to the head do you no favours

    • Warscent

      Here is basic information regarding the subject .

      • Ferguss

        This guy, there are so many people nowadays that think things like this will destroy our world, just because they want to. “Here is basic information regarding the subject” this is just a step off of something like people believing in aliens taking over the planet. 5G doesn’t have massive implications like this, it’s a faster, more secure version of 4G just like 4G was with 3G, there will be new things, but this will have nothing to do with it. This isn’t basic information because there is simply no research implicating that what is said here is true. 5G is just scientifically 4G with higher radio frequencies that can carry more information. It means power lines won’t be needed and there is no dosage of radiation, radiation is way less dangerous than people make it out to be. It can cause more likely diseases in high dosages but the dosage from 5G is basically non-existent. So stop spreading rumors with bad grammar before you know anything about them. The only reason you believe this is because it’s cool to believe it in your mind.

        • Warscent

          You couldn’t be more wrong. You are actually choosing to be an idiot.
          Simply amazing.

    • dk

      virtual streams in our minds XD

  • NooYawker

    I’d like to reserve addressing all this bullshit until they actually show what 5G can do rather than listen to articles that keep telling me how amazing this is going to be and how it’s going to change my life.

    • JDawg

      Absolutely. Just a bunch of marketing speech riding hyperbole around 5G.

    • Warscent

      A 5G infistructure implications would would go far beyond consumer data consumption and low latency.Other than the dire health implications to all life, technically everything and everyone on earth would be specifically tracked and mapped in real time via network hubs and satalite arrays . AI will truly become exponential .This will be a larger leap in technology than 56k to 4g in terms of communications alone .

      • dk

        it’s a miracle that u r already not dead ….using 2g 3g 3.5g 4g and all wifi version at this very second……don’t worry 6g will be out around 2030

      • WyrdestGeek

        Turns out China already built an actual Skynet named Skynet.

        • Warscent

          Indeed. Truth is infinitely more exciting than modern fiction.

  • Dave

    “hopeful deployment of massive new connectivity and cloud infrastructures.”

    Is this person not aware that 5G is happening this year… Last time I checked we also have cloud computing. I’m not actually sure what the problem is. As for 5G recievers, you can bet by the end of the year there will be 1000s of devices using 5G.

    So why does this person insist technology is a limiting factor?

    • benz145

      “Happening this year” is just the start of a perhaps a five year infrastructure rollout before reaching the point that coverage is actually common across a region like the US. On top of that, edge computing, the kind that can deliver the ~1-5ms latency that’s probably needed for a good cloud VR streaming experience is likely even further behind in terms of availability to a majority of consumers. If any more than a small pilot region is supporting this cloud streaming feature through the 5G hub by 2020, I will be very surprised.

      However they could also roll out a sub-par version of the feature earlier even if the bandwidth and latency isn’t quite there yet. We’ll have to wait and see, but there is no good VR cloud streaming available to consumer today (for cloud rendered content); this would be the very first if it’s actually high quality and latency free.

  • oompah

    Exciting times ahead
    Ray traced cloud gaming is the future

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  • anonimouse

    What ‘they’ won’t tell everybody is the fact that 5G will be one big health issued microwave zapper, worse then 4G, what ‘they’ olso did not tell told you. Well do your own research about the 5G ‘microwave’ story. It will kill people!

    • That’sright

      Judging by your writing skills, I’m going to say you don’t know what you’re talking about.

      • Warscent

        Well he’s obviously on the right track. Try the link I just shared and get up to speed .

        • That’sright

          Nope I’m old enough to remember the whole 3G freak out.

          • Warscent

            Comparing 3 to 5 in that way is what the system wants . These aren’t even similar technologies as the previous com generations. 5G is a an intentionally misleading label and entirely different concept altogether.

          • dk

            yeah why would u compare it ….5g is waaaay less penetration so much so it would pretty hard to make it viable ….unlike the others that penetrate everything and travel really far

      • Jerald Doerr

        I always said this about the wireless VR headsets… Hey but peoplele say it’s ok…

        You know what else people say is ok? Driving around on earth with our cars gassing everyone… But I’ll bet you won’t sit in your garage for an hour with it running will you? Better yet… Just set your microwave to low set time to a week climb on in and have the wify hit start…. Come back after the ding and tell me how you feel?

        • jj

          if we were getting microwaved we would all feel a slight burning tingle right when they all turn on…. so if you are right(which your not) we will notice it in time to not hurt anyone…. but these technologies are well known and studied. Not only did people argue this wrongly for 3g and 4g but they argues it wrong for the ELF system in northern michigan. That very wide unstoppable waves of radio signal that people petitioned against in fear and in the end theyre harmless. so people are dumb, nothing here is new, and if it were an issue wed realize it before we did any harm.

          • Warscent

            IS that why towers are no longer allowed on fire stations?

          • Jerald Doerr

            Shit bro… I’m tingling all the time….

  • Warscent

    Informative documentary on 5G.
    How anyone can watch this from start to finish and not have dire questions on this issue is beyond me.

    • dk

      don’t worry 6g is coming before 2030

    • jj

      watched the video…. its complete click baiting, edgy teen grabbing over dramatized shit… right off the bat they start out with lies saying in WW2 IEEE beam forming document that they discuss “cooked your eyes” and this is a lie. so within 30 seconds that video is wrong….

      Also the producers of that film newearth are nowhere near scientific journalists or experts in any field of science, theyre just self help, snake oil media company with whole branches of thier company going under a branch name now “Alchemy for love” so yeah thats a whole load of bullshit.

      Don’t take science facts from people who still believe in alchemy. And dont watch youtube videos of people who claim Illuminati, ufo crop circles, psychic surgery and more bullshit, which are all headline videos from this group. Its all just click bait crack of them trying to get you to go to their newearth university and buy their festival tickets…. literally thats 100% what that newerath group is about.

      yeah good find ass hat

      • Warscent

        I can break every single point you are trying to make with factual information, but it seems you prefer to rant like a child. A journalist is just that, a journalist.Somehow the scientists pleading in front of our governmental bodies are less meaningful than a production company.
        You then jump to the psychic big-foot nonsense.

  • Kevin Wei

    The car is been built , but there is no road to drive, lol

  • oompah

    Thumbs up to
    “No PC required”

    I tell u VR headset ppl
    if u can achieve this & sell a comfy headset
    (I’d prefer a helmet like & I prefer Wifi)
    Then it will be as successful as PUBG or Fortnite
    Life is tough & ppl want escape from this world
    This world

  • Jeremiah

    If its Chinese 5G, then count me out.

  • The Bard

    Stream from 2080 RTX PC to wireless headset using 5G technology. not heavy box on head, but a tiny chip in VR headset.