This week at CES 2020, VRgineers, makers of the enterprise-focused XTAL headset, plan to debut the latest version of their ultrawide FOV headset which will use a 4K display for each eye, which the company calls “8K,” and bring improved lenses and a video passthrough add-on.

VRgineers introduced their ultrawide XTAL headset two years ago and have been regularly tweaking it with improvements since then. The latest version of the headset, which the company says will debut this week at CES 2020, will bring “significantly better picture quality and readability.”

That’s thanks to new high resolution LCD displays which offer 4K resolution per-eye, which the company calls “8K.”

Quick note: We’re putting the “8K” in quotes because here it doesn’t refer to the same 8K that would come to mind for most of us when thinking of TVs or monitors. While the headset’s total horizontal resolution is claimed at 8K pixels, that’s split across each eye, meaning the effective resolution is 4K horizontally, and shorter vertically than you’d expect from an 8K TV resolution. We think this is confusing, so as with other headsets that use similar nomenclature, we put “8K” in quotes to help our readers understand that it’s being used differently than they might expect.

VRgineers says the new XTAL headset also has “improved lenses,” a pass-through video add-on for AR applications, and a version with a helmet-mount to attach the headset to helmets for simulator applications.

Image courtesy VRgineers

Aside from those changes, the latest XTAL appears to use the same hulking design and include the same features as earlier versions: a claimed 180 degree field of view, eye-tracking with automatic IPD adjustment, SteamVR Tracking, and Ultraleap hand-tracking. Ostensibly the newest version of the headset will be priced at the same €6,190 as the prior version, but we’re awaiting confirmation.

Alongside the news of their upgraded XTAL headset, VRgineers also says a software update planned for late Q1 will benefit the new and existing XTAL headsets with a “new warping algorithm with precise depth and size perception,” which will hopefully address the distortion issues we’ve seen consistently on XTAL headsets in the past.

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  • cataflic

    So 2 little 4k display are the price difference between the other hmd 2k and this “limousine” priced 6,000 bucks…
    Are these kind of display so expensive?

    • James Cobalt

      XTAL has a ton of other features that increase the price, in addition to being manufactured in tiny quantities and I believe coming with an enterprise support plan. However, the price difference is still confusing when compared to Acer’s StarVR One (RIP), which was half the price with nearly all the same features, fewer distortions, better comfort, and RGB Stripe OLED displays.

      • cataflic

        Sure? imho we are waiting for Godot….when they’ll have 8k(better 16k) microdisplay at an affordable price all these companies will have the same product, despite today’s yelling about incredible new features on 2hz more refresh, eye tracking, 5° more fov…
        AR is at another level di complexity with real challenges not yet resolved

    • DanDei

      they also include tiny thrusters at the front so your head doesn’t fall over from their huge size and weight ^^

  • kuhpunkt

    Then why not just call it 4K, as this is what each eye is seeing?

    • VR4EVER

      Because marketing.

    • Charles

      It’s actually more like an extra-widescreen version of 4K, because it doesn’t overlap 100%

  • Vendabenda

    Another “upgrade” from OLED to LCD :(

    • RockstarRepublic

      At first I thought that was a problem as well, but I have both Oled and LCD based VR Headsets and the move over to LCD is not as bad as people make it out to be. I was barely able to notice the difference. It seems we can get it sharper and with faster refresh rates with LCD, and for cheaper.
      The real challenge imo is how to get HDR as part of the LCD display.

      • sfmike

        You certainly notice it in dark scenes.

        • Immersive Computing

          It’s a problem in some older applications colour graded and lit for OLED. I found Westworld unplayable on my index (new display brightness settings didn’t help) and had to refund. Some applications like “Conscious Existence” looked amazing on Rift CV1, I’m getting too much murky grey on Index and won’t use that application any more

        • RockstarRepublic

          I went in expecting that as well, and was biased against these LCD changes but when comparing my Rift S to my CV1, playing games with dark scenes, the difference didn’t strike me as much. In fact the more I played I practically didn’t notice a difference anymore. Now perhaps that might be different for a game like Elite Dangerous, but for the few games I did test out the expected black levels being washed out wasn’t as drastic at I had expected.

          But thats just me.

          • James Cobalt

            Different people also have different contrast sensitivities. For me, the Index always has a sheen of grey to it. No matter how many hundreds of hours I wear it, it always sticks out to me. I do appreciate the RGB stripe subpixel layout and high refresh rates, but those could be attainable on OLED.

  • Kyokushin

    Another marketing guy named that incorrectly, same as in Pimax.

    • Rogue Transfer

      “8K resolution refers to an image or display resolution with a width of approximately 8000 pixels.”

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/8K_resolution

      What you’re miscontruing is ‘8K UHD’ from ‘8K’, which is only one resolution that is grouped under ‘8K’ and a common TV standard. Wide-aspect TVs though won’t always be 8K UHD, but will still have ~8K across and called ‘8K’ still. 8K alone does not state the vertical resolution or aspect ratio.

      • Blah Blah Blah

        Doesnt matter

        4K is 4K no matter what fancy term you call it and the end user better know its 4K or else I forsee a lot of returns.

      • Jerald Doerr

        Yeah so If I’m reading what you’re trying to say your killing your own point with true facts… Its fucking 4k not 8k because there are to “Separate” screens displaying far less than 8,000 pixels… Horizontally period!

  • Rogue Transfer

    You should also put in a note that the official industry definition for ‘8K’ means only approx. 8000 pixels across and does not include the vertical count or aspect ratio, that is commonly inferred.

    What you are hinting at is one particular resolution called ‘8K UHD’, which is only one, aspect ratio resolution of many covered by the official definition of what ‘8K’ means. Worth educating yourself on the real meaning of ‘8K’ here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/8K_resolution . It’s worth noting that ‘8K UHD’ is only a TV standard and shouldn’t be thought to apply to VR devices, which present dual, pre-distorted images through lenses(a very different viewing result).

    • Blah Blah Blah, who cares.

      Doesnt matter

      4K is 4K no matter what fancy term you call it and the end user better know its 4K or else I forsee a lot of returns of any product boasting “8K” thats not a console.

      • Schadows

        I’m pretty sure the majority of consumers wouldn’t be able to tell you what are the exact resolutions for FullHD (even 1080p) and 4K.
        So telling them 2 x 4K screens could be called 8K wouldn’t startled them. And even if there would be people who wanted to return their product under this misunderstanding, @roguetransfer:disqus explanation still stands to defend themselves.

    • DanDei

      Yeah right, and then also put “megabyte” in quotes because it actually is 1.048.576 Bytes and not a million, which isn’t misleading anyone but gives me the opportunity to be Mr. Smarty Pants just for the fuck of it.

      • Schadows

        Nope.

        1 Giga = 1000 Mega = 1 000 000 Kilo = 1 000 000 000 … like any other as per the International System of Units.

        You should take a look at Gibi (Gi) Mebi (Mi) and Kibi (Ki) which are what you’re describing:
        1 GiB = 1024 MiB = 1 048 576 KiB = 1 073 741 824 B

      • Jerald Doerr

        Yeah DanDei, I’d say your going way overboard…. If you think of it as an error by percentage bytes is off by 0.048% now take the error with calling a 4k image 8k and now the error is off by 50% so if you ask me that’s an “ENORMOUS” deferince..

    • Mike Porter

      8K means 8K per display, not stitched displays. Also after calculating the overlapping regions per display (binocular overlap) you end up with far less than 8K horizontally in your stereoscopic image. On top of that, Pimax and XTAL do not in fact use the whole horizontal pixels per eye, around 300 pixel wide column is “reserved” for IPD adjustment, in other words the displays themselves don’t move like in smaller FOV headsets when you adjust your PID, only the lenses and the image on the display do. Many don’t know this.

  • Charles

    LCD? Not OLED? At over 6000 pounds/dollars, that’s ridiculous. Contrast and black levels are extremely important for immersion. My $250 Odyssey+ is better than this. Keep trying, XTAL.

  • RockstarRepublic

    There has got to be a way to make these headsets smaller while also providing the illusion of wider field of view.

  • Jonathan Winters III

    Deceptive marketing (“8k”) which assumes people are dumb enough not to find out. Yeesh.

  • I hope they have made the headset lighter. Biggest problem of XTAL is the heavy weight.

  • equalizer equaliser

    Advertising power to the limits…Did i hear the word ?What?did something that was hovering in orbit droped and they claimed it?Those huge screens again but in lcd tech..whats in there this time? .. 6″ 2017 ppi again? I can see where all that cost is coming from..Huge…like an astronaut’s helmet.. specially designed to strengthen a humans neck.
    Yep VR is in coma 4 sure.

  • Mike Porter

    What is the vertical FOV? The lenses seem slim.