After months and months of anticipation, TPCast’s wireless Vive upgrade kits are finally available for pre-order in North America, and the kits will ship before the holidays.
Last November, TPCast revealed The TPCast Wireless Adapter for Vive. TPCast was the first company to reveal a functioning, production-ready wireless device for a consumer VR product, and many people wanted to get their hands on the kits. HTC China handled pre-orders for the first run of TPCast’s wireless adapters and the company shipped the hardware to customers in China earlier this year.
In January, TPCast and HTC announced that TPCast’s Wireless Adapter for Vive would be available worldwide before the end of the year, and in September, the company started accepting pre-orders in Europe. North American pre-orders were supposed to start in September as well. Microsoft even jumped the gun and let a few people order the kits. But TPCast put a hold on the North American release so it could set up a U.S. base of operations to handle sales, marketing, and support. The company recently opened an office in Silicon Valley and is now ready to roll.
“Following the pent-up demand in the North American market we’re excited to bring our revolutionary wireless technology to users,” said Michael Liu, founder, and CEO of TPCAST. “Gone are the days when VR users must settle for the tethered experience; North American users can now experience true freedom – the freedom to explore a beautiful scene, to turn 360 degrees, jump, and even flip without impediment. We believe this industry milestone changes the game for VR unleashing it into a wireless world.”
TPCast’s wireless adapter enables you to cut the annoying tether cord from your headset and maintain a low latency experience. The package includes the wireless transmitter, which attaches to your host computer and broadcasts at an undisclosed frequency. You also get a wireless receiver that attaches to top strap of your headset and connects to the HMD’s data ports and a battery pack and holster to power the unit. TPCast also includes a wireless router to relay the signal from the transmitter to the receiver. We haven’t tried TPCast’s wireless system yet, but the combination of hardware that comes with the package reminds us of Sixa’s Rivvr system prototype, which we tested a few months ago.
Before we tried Sixa’s wireless solution, we were skeptical that such a product could even work. Low latency is a key factor for comfortable VR experiences, and we didn’t believe that a wireless signal would be able to deliver a seamless VR experience that doesn’t introduce unbearable additional latency to the pipeline. But after testing Sixa’s Rivvr system, which works over standard Wi-Fi, we feel confident that TPCast’s wireless solution should work just as well or better. Soon, we’ll have a chance to verify TPCast’s claim.
TPCast is now taking pre-orders for the Wireless Adapter for Vive, and it plans to begin shipping hardware to North American customers on November 24. The company is also developing a wireless solution for Oculus Rift owners, but it hasn’t announced a release date for that version.
TPCast is asking $299 for the Wireless Adapter for Vive. You can place your order on TPCast’s website or Newegg. TPCast said Amazon would sell its wireless kits as well, but the product listing isn’t online yet. Despite having already sold some units, Microsoft doesn’t appear to be an authorized TPCast reseller now.
I'm holding out that the Vive 2 will be wireless off-the-shelf and have a higher res display.