HTC launches a new high-end consumer virtual reality headset, the HTC Vive Cosmos, for $ 700 on October 3. Pre-orders are possible today.
The new VR headset will feel like a new VR generation, perhaps the second or third since the first modern VR headsets launched in 2016. Price at which the original HTC Vive debuted in 2016.
Vive Cosmos is HTC's premium PC-based VR system designed to make virtual reality more accessible, user-friendly and of higher quality. It's a wired headset with better resolution, moving in the opposite direction to inexpensive wireless headsets such as the HTC Vive Focus and its Facebook rival Oculus Quest.
The headset may change over time with a modular faceplate design that offers additional features, such as: For example, the recently announced external tracking mod Vive Cosmos. This mod uses the external laser-based sensors supplied with the original HTC Vive. Normally, the Vive Cosmos uses inside-out tracking with sensor cameras on the headset itself, not external tracking. However, the mod is available to those who believe that tracking through the six cameras of the headset is not accurate enough.
"We wanted to address this with our hardware technology and what we could do there, providing a simpler and simpler product to set up and use; a better and easier software experience with the Vive Reality system, an experience of being able to move between worlds; and a third area around a robust content offering, "said Daniel O'Brien, General Manager for America at HTC Vive, in an interview with GamesBeat. "It will work with your entire Steam library. It works with your Viveport library as well as the Viveport Infinity subscription offer.
I tried it in the HTC office in San Francisco. The headset felt pretty light on my head compared to the original HTC Vive.
The controllers resembled those of the Oculus Quest controllers, which also have a circular band around their hand to track the sensor. And that's a good thing, because we are approaching a universal standard for such controls. These controllers use cameras on the headset to detect where your hands are. In this way you can get rid of external sensors and their associated problems.
When I first started, I went straight into the pictures of the Vive Reality System, a kind of lobby where you can wander around in a beautiful virtual space. You can move through teleportation, making you less seasick. You can navigate through your VR library and save it via a portal. It's a more enjoyable and accessible onboarding experience. You can see some of what I saw in the embedded video.
I could compare the visual appearance of the new headset with the old one using Wevr's TheBlu Undersea VR experience. I remembered that the old version of TheBlu looked beautiful, but she had a lot of "screen-door-effect" or the VR vision error, which seems like you're looking through a screen-door. I had to squint hard on the eye of the whale to notice. The new Vive Cosmos had barely noticeable screen door effects. And visually it looks much better. With this version of VR we are getting much closer to what VR should look like.
The sounds were also very impressive, because the ear speakers are adjustable and drive the sound pretty good directly into your ear.  Technical Features
Vive Cosmos is designed to meet the needs of VR customers with ease, versatility and performance at the forefront. The all-new Vive tracking system offers a simplified setup that makes getting into VR faster and easier than ever. It has six camera sensors for a wide and accurate tracking from the inside out. This allows tracking around 310 degrees.
Cosmos offers a resolution of 1440 x 1700 pixels per eye (2880 x 1700 pixels). This represents an 88% increase over the original Vive and delivers crystal clear text and graphics. New dual LCD panels reduce the distance between the pixels. In combination with real RGB displays, they also minimize the screen door effect. A unique flip-up design allows users to switch between reality and virtual reality within seconds – without disrupting VR travel. The refresh rate is 90 Hertz and the field of view is 110 degrees.
"We have not only changed the resolution and fidelity for a full RGB color gamut LCD screen," said O & Brien. "Now it's three subpixels for each pixel, it's a clearer, higher visual experience, we've also changed the halo design for a better weight distribution, you can flip it up to easily get from your virtual world into your real world That's customizable. "
The older HTC Vive released in 2016 , had a resolution of 1080 x 1200 per eye (2160 x 1200 combined pixels) .The HTC Vive Pro ($ 1,098), which came out in January 2018, had a resolution of 1440 x 1600 pixels per eye.
It It has built-in stereo headphones that you can replace when needed, USB 3.0 and DisplayPort 1.2 connectivity, and USB C 3.0 peripheral ports for a proprietary connection to mods standing or sitting VR. VR on a room scale requires a distance of two by 1.5 meters.
The headset offers improved ergonomics and comfort for longer VR experiences, as well as built-in on-ear headphones with impressive sound. Cosmos also offers completely redesigned controllers that maximize functionality within VR and provide enhanced comfort during long gaming sessions. These controllers felt pretty comfortable in my hands and were not as bulky as the previous ones.
"We added some controls to that. We believe that the industry is approaching a de facto standard. We have added the buttons X, Y, A and B. Then we went from the trackpad for your thumb to the joystick. We had many requests, especially from players, "O'Brien said. "The gamers also wanted analog feedback from a joystick."
Cosmos is also compatible with the Vive Wireless Adapter for those who want to move in VR without being tied to it. The headset does not have native eye tracking, as the more expensive HTC Vive Pro Eye ($ 1,600) has done for businesses.
First mod announced
With its modular faceplate design, the Vive Cosmos is the most versatile premium VR headset, designed with new accessories to change the functionality of the headset and provide customers with the opportunity to enjoy Headset to grow over time. The first official mod announced today is the Vive Cosmos External Tracking Mod for customers who want to continue using their existing lighthouse base stations to track scenarios, but also want to harness the superior performance of Vive Cosmos.
This First Base The station-compatible mod supports Vive's peripheral system, including the Vive Tracker, and provides unprecedented VR control freedom. This new mod will be available in the first quarter of next year.
Vive Cosmos is the VR headset that packs powerful content just right with the 12-month Viveport Infinity subscription included in the pre-order period Thousands of dollars, since the library includes more than 700 titles. Any customer who pre-orders their Cosmos before October 2 will receive a 12-month Viveport Infinity redemption code in their box.
Viveport Infinity provides unrestricted access to hundreds of world-class VR apps, games and videos such as A Fisherman's Tale, Fujii and Ninja Legends, as well as premium videos from top brands such as GoPro, Discovery Channel and Animal Planet. With the launch of Vive Cosmos, Viveport Infinity will add new titles such as Doctor Who: The Edge of Time by Maze Theory, Playstack and BBC. Eleven Eleven from Syfy; Battlewake by Survios; Gloomy eyes of Atlas V and 3dar; and Swords of Gargantua by Yomuneco and Gumi; and MLB Home Run Derby VR by MLB.
Vive Reality System
Cosmos offers a simple setup and starts into virtual worlds with the new Vive Reality System. Vive Cosmos is the first headset to offer the Vive Reality System, a newly designed core software for Vive. The Vive Reality System is a whole new design philosophy for VR that extends the life of VR so it feels less like launching apps, more like jumping between worlds. Cosmos will have a redesigned user interface called Lens, which makes XR and Viveport Infinity applications easy to navigate, and a new, dynamic output area called Origin. The Origin section is the launchpad for VR applications and interactive experiences that will increase over time.
Setting up a game area takes about a minute. You can wear the headset and see the latitude around you because the cameras can be let through and you can see the outside world through the cameras, even if you're wearing the headset. So you can push your own limits to make sure you do not run into your furniture.
Vive Cosmos can be pre-ordered online at HTC on vive.com and through selected retailers. Amazon, Best Buy Canada, B & H Photo, GameStop, Newegg and Walmart. The current Vive CE device will be retired.
In conclusion, HTC has done a great job to deliver both a next-generation VR experience with better graphics, more standardized controllers, and lower cost. If anything, this is the state of the art for consumer VR headsets. It shows us that it is still better to connect a processing PC to a headset via a cable. Standalone wireless headsets such as the $ 800 Vive Focus Plus and the $ 400 Oculus Quest are a beautiful dream, but they do not push the limits of what the graphics can do. The HTC Vive Cosmos brings the graphics to the point and is more accessible thanks to inside-out tracking, but still needs a good PC. And that limits the portability.
Although this is a marvel of technology, I still have to wonder about the overall health of the VR consumer market. VR still has problems as cost, visual quality and mobility have to be weighed up. This product is making progress in all three areas, but it is still too expensive for the general consumer. I think it's another stepping stone to the advancement of the VR, but it will not create the VR Nirvana that some of the pioneers hoped for. Patience is still important on the long VR path.