OSVR’s newly announced HDK 2 packs a new display which brings a significant improvement in resolution and performance. The organization says they will make available a display upgrade allowing older HDK headsets to swap for the improved display.

When OSVR first launched the HDK (‘Hacker Development Kit’) headset, the promise was a modular, open-source, user-upgradeable VR headset. Staying true to that theme, the organization plans to offer a display upgrade which will bring the new and improved HDK 2 display to the HDK 1.x headsets.

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See Also: Razer Earmarks $5 Million to Encourage OSVR Content Development

The HDK 2 display has a 2160×1200 resolution, matching the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, and is also OLED, allowing for a 90Hz refresh rate and low-persistence to reduce motion blur. OSVR says they worked directly with the panel manufacturer to optimize it for VR, claiming that their display is brighter than others even at the same level of low-persistence. Because OSVR is all about open-source, the company says the display component will be made available to any company that wants to make use of it, potentially opening the door for smaller players in the VR market to get their hands on a high performance VR panel.

For HDK owners, OSVR says the upgrade process for the new display will require a bit of ‘hacking’, likely requiring users to take apart their older HDK in order to install the new panel. So far there’s no word on when the display upgrade will be made available or what it might cost, but given the HDK 2’s reasonable $399 price tag, hopefully the display alone won’t run too much.

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  • Alx

    As long as they are using the “trackIR” style system for motion tracking, this is a no go for me. Frustrating really, I really like their attitude.

  • Luke

    are all the games on steam optimized also for razer HMDs? thx

    • Nicholas Scholten

      No, but Steam is working to integrate their OpenVR libraries with OSVR libraries (they sound
      similar but are different) and already have a lot of working success. Many OpenVR games do work with the HDK.

      Please
      keep in mind though that the Razer HDK is not intended to be a consumer
      product. It is meant for developers, so don’t expect even remotely the
      same amount of polish or support. In fact, you only get a 30 day warranty with the Razer HDK 1.x. I did read that the HDK 2 gets a 1 year warranty, but that came from a Reddit article so be warned and take it with a bucket of salt.

  • Charles

    Too bad the Rift and Vive don’t offer screen upgrades for those who can afford it. I don’t get why Oculus/HTC don’t have a more expensive “premium version” that improves on all the things that people constantly complain about. I know the technology exists to significantly reduce ALL the problems, and I know for a fact that a huge number of people would be willing to pay hundreds of dollars more for a much better experience. I don’t think they need to wait until, for example, 1440p screens are $100 less than now – just make the damn premium version – if you build it, they will come.

    • Wesley Blanko

      FRAGmentation^^

      • Charles

        It wouldn’t cause fragmentation to improve the lenses (“god rays”, FOV), display resolution (already rendering at higher resolutions and downsampling), or weight.

    • Michael Balzer

      Not as easy as think. You cannot just pop a 2560×1440 screen in. The maximum refresh rate is 75 Hz, and this is due to the physical size of single panel and only recently are we seeing denser smaller screens that can run at 90Hz or higher. Also, you require 8 MIPI lanes running at a very high clock rate which will need either dual-port or HDMI 2.0 so your entire video chain would have to be enhanced from your PC to your HMD to push the frames needed at 90Hz. Now if you are happy with a 60Hz frame-rate, than yes you could just pop in a 2560 screen. I personally prefer one, especially with RGB striping. I have tested an 5.9″ IPS LCD panel at this resolution with RGB striping and it was gorgeous until you moved, but for cube-maps and spherical images, I loved the extra clarity even with Fresnel lenses.

      I would agree on the optics, but the current OSVR lenses are many times heavier than the simple Fresnel lenses and personally the extra clarity of the lens actually detracts from the experience because it amplifies the screendoor effect and the reason HDK 1.4 uses a diffusing screen layer. Fresnel lenses can be made better as well. The HTC Vive seems to use a very coarse ridge, which is more refined on the Oculus Rift CV1. In fact I am using one these refined laser cut Fresnel lenses in my NEODiVR uPLAy pocketable high immersion VR viewer (to available in late July/August) and other then some haloing around very bright objects contrasty objects, I found the lens offer less geometric and chromatic distortion. In fact I have actually created a new case for my OSVR using this type of lens and housing that is lighter than the Rift CV1, but sadly this was only after I cracked the screen trying to clean it. :( It seems these panels are extremely fragile with no Gorilla glass protection and in the OSVR case, only has a plastic frame supporting it. Keep this in mind if you try to clean your screen and use only a gentle touch.

      • Charles

        All good points. Well I never said it would be easy, but wouldn’t you agree that it’s possible? There are lot a of people who would be willing to pay hundreds of dollars more for a much-improved experience.

        As an electrical / computer engineer, I know that it’s always possible to make a better version of a standard piece of consumer technology if you put enough R&D money into it and charge the customer enough for it.

      • Charles

        Also, here’s proof that a 1440p headset is possible right now:
        http://www.roadtovr.com/starvr-headset-hands-on-field-of-view-e3-2016/

        • Michael Balzer

          Actually it is a prototype and it makes no mention of its refresh rate. It also uses two smaller panels at 2560×1440 each driven by their own HDMI input and is thousands of dollars more expensive when it finally makes it to market.

          But as mentioned panels will exist in the smaller form factor at this resolution, but will also need a very high end PC to run it effectively. I was very intrigued by NVIDIA’s multiple processing streams to handle distortion correction and stereo views at the GPU level instead of redrawing the scene each time for each eye and for each distortion compensation layer. With the reasonably priced GTX1080 and GTX1070, I do think we will see high end screens at CES with a late 2017 early 2018 release dates at similar prices as the current Oculus and HTC models.

          You don’t need to be engineer to realize there will progress and improvements. I am just saying there are some engineering and supply issues in doing this right now at the same performance level at this price point.

          • Charles

            According to this article, the refresh rate is 90Hz:
            http://www.shacknews.com/article/89958/e3-2015-eyes-on-with-starvr-and-overkills-the-walking-dead

            Sure, 1440p on a graphically-intensive game would take a high-end PC, but a lot of people already have high-end PCs, and a lot of VR applications already do supersampling, which is rendering at a higher resolution and then downsampling to the display resolution. Supersampling at 1440p is already being done with current devices, and so there would be no performance penalty switching from that to displaying at 1440p.

            Hmm, how do you know it will be thousands of dollars more? I couldn’t find anything about the price. But like I said, if it’s just hundreds more, there will be a big enough market.

            Yes, I don’t think anyone would argue that there won’t be higher resolution VR devices by 2018.

          • Michael Balzer

            Actually you are taking specs from someone’s article. If you actually go out to starvr.com you will see that there is no mention of refresh rate or fps. I would bet there is a good reason for this.

            Also, if Oculus wanted to do 2560×1440 they could have and probably did since they have a relationship with Samsung; but not at 90 fps. Two of the these smaller panels are not cheap and you can actually buy a single 2560 for less. It also requires more work to integrate the two panels with an extra interface board. Also not having to give up pixels to mid convergence and true IPD adjustment is huge benefit. And as mentioned mentioned earlier, there will be higher density 3.x” panels from Samsung, AUO and EDO. Currently there are two companies with low yield panels (= expensive), eMagin and a company from France.

            Finally, $3500 is what was mentioned in another interview, but as I mentioned above you can take that with grain of salt since the price is not mentioned on their website either. However I do remember in my discussions, that they were looking at making this more an experience for you go to and not outright buy. e.g. museums, zoos, entertainment centers etc.

  • Those of us who understand how HORRIFIC the Gaming, Apple & Cell Phone Industry models have made Personal Technology, with Islands of Information, Proprietary ‘Ecosystems’ (Prisons) and Annuity Obsolescence, must Fight and Educate others to embrace #OpenVR ! The LAST thing we want is Virtual ‘gods,’ controlling our ‘Reality!’

  • WillyWonka248

    How will a screen upgrade for the older HDK be possible, when, the older models has a single 1080P screen, and the new HDK 2 will have two screens? Will the upgrade be a single 2560X1440 lcd screen. I want the upgrade, I am just wondering how this will be possible.

    • Christopher Mash

      It’s same resolution per eye as htc vive which is 2160×1200 for both eyes and 1080×1200 per eye.

      • WillyWonka248

        Yeah but, the screen in the HDK 2 is two screens. That would mean that Razr would have to create a kit specifically for the HDK1 with a single screen. Would they really do that when they have moved to dual screens for the HDK2?