New SteamVR optical technologies now available to VR hardware manufacturers includes the use of both LCD and OLED custom panels. According to the press release provided to Road to VR, Valve’s work with display manufacturers and recent advancements in LCD technology combined with VR-specific calibration “now make it a viable technology choice for high end VR systems.”

Valve recently announced the availability of new core VR technology components for device manufacturers, namely displays, optics, and calibration tools. These essentially combine with the existing free license for SteamVR tracking and input technology, meaning that the key hardware elements for high-end VR are now all available through Valve.

“World class VR requires highly precise tracking, matched optics and display technologies, and a software stack that weaves together the interactions between these components,” said Jeremy Selan of Valve. “For the first time, we’re making all of these technologies available to anyone who wants to build a best in class VR system for the millions of Steam customers accessing over 2,000 SteamVR compatible titles.”

image courtesy Valve

As shown on the SteamVR licensing page, both LCD and OLED panels are being recommended for VR. While OLED technology offers a number of advantages for VR use cases – an essential specification of the popular first generation, high-end VR headsets available today – it is now possible to use LCD, thanks to recent advancements in the technology and optimisations to calibration software.

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The confidence in LCD for high-end VR is demonstrated in the upcoming Pimax ‘8K’ VR system, which uses SteamVR technology – as well as the upcoming ‘high quality’ mobile VR solution from Oculus.

“Fast-switching liquid crystals, low persistence backlights, and high PPI displays” of the latest LCD panels are, according to Valve, “well matched” to high-end VR. They continue to recommend OLED as an “excellent option for new head mounted displays”, pointing out that both display technologies have “inherent artifacts unique to head-mounted usage”, which are being solved at both a hardware and software level as part of the SteamVR technology suite.

Valve’s custom lenses available for purchase work with both LCD and OLED panels, which also benefit from their calibration and correction software. They support a field of view between 85 and 120 degrees, and are designed for the “next generation of room-scale virtual reality.”

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  • NooYawker

    Man they are just making it really easy to build an HMD.

  • VRDreamer

    Props to Valve for spearheading the high-end VR development!

  • Andrew Jakobs

    To be honest, the lenses are one of the worst things about the Vive, and as I gather from previous reporting about the new lenses, they still use the same ring-type lenses..

    Also, we don’t hear anything anymore about Razor’s HMD.

    • Adrian Meredith

      Fresnel lens aren’t going away anytime soon

    • kontis

      You will have to wait for scientists to invent something better. Lenses with wider sweet spot and FOV at this size and weight do not exist.

  • paul

    It would be pretty nice if Oculus and HTC had decided to make their screens upgradable. The tracking system is fine. But we all know that VR is going to be mobile. Thinking I won’t buy into the second generation of Enthusiast level VR. If the pimax gets rave reviews I may consider it…

    • Raphael

      Yes, Valve have decided to make VR builder kits you have to assemble down to the board level. Construction time is said to be about 52 weeks for someone with moderate experience.

  • Raphael

    There is… but you need good knowledge of electronics and a soldering station. Good luck flappy.

    • Marcin Stachowiak

      Oh is there? I have both, do you have any leads for a screen that will be compatible?

      • G-man

        hes bsing you, thats not an option at all. the circuit board in the headset only works at the resolution of the panel in the headset. at best you could have less screen door effect but no better resolution.

  • Albert Hartman

    Two possible evolution paths:

  • They’re viable, but reading reviews of various headsets, OLED still seems the technology providing the best graphics