The year, 2016, has been a defining year for virtual reality. Many big companies such as Sony, Samsung, Microsoft and HTC released their own VR offerings this year.
The HTC Vive did particularly well, selling around 140,000 headsets by November 2016. The company is expected to launch the next iteration of the VR headset, which will be integrated with many new features, at the CES event in January. Here are five expected features for the upcoming HTC Vive 2.0.
Wireless headset: The HTC Vive 2.0 might be a wireless VR headset. Currently, the headset needs to be connected to a PC or a TV via an HDMI cable. Customers can also use a $220 HTC Vive accessory, which will connect the device to a PC over a wireless network.
The upcoming iteration has been reportedly developed by Quark VR and HTC. It will come with a transmitter, which will send and receive Wi-Fi signals between the Vive and PCs.
4K screens: Gamers, the core audience for VR, have repeatedly complained about the lack of 4K playback on VR headsets.
HTC Vive 2.0 is expected to come with two 4K screens. Currently, no specifications about the device are known, but for a 4K VR headset to work well, it will need a 3840 x 2160p resolution, up from the existing Vive’s 2160 x 1200p resolution (per eye resolution is 1080 x 1200p).
Room-scale VR: The new headset is expected to feature “room-scale” VR — VR enabling the use of clear space to allow movement for users so that the user feels real-world movement is being replicated in a virtual environment. The current Vive headset does feature room-scale VR, but the upcoming device will track real-world environment and integrate it with virtual environment movements.
Enhanced lighthouse mechanics: HTC Vive could come with a “lighthouse” technology — it floods a room with non-visible light and uses positional tracking to figure out its 3D surroundings. The current headset’s lighthouse mechanics are complicated and sometimes difficult to set up.
Improved refresh rate: With all the features the device is likely to have, the inclusion of an improved refresh rate seems to be imminent. If the company wants to make a 4K headset, it will need to endow the device with a refresh rate of at least 120 Hz, up from 90 Hz on the existing device.