The era of wireless PC VR is almost upon us. TPCast opened pre-orders for its wireless upgrade kit for the HTC Vive in more than a dozen European countries. The U.S. TPCast website says it's “shipping before Sept. 30th, 2017.” Unfortunately, the price is much higher than expected.
We’ve been waiting all year to get our hands on TPCast’s wireless upgrade kit. We first learned of the company's wireless system in November 2016, when HTC China partnered with TPCast to bring wireless VR to Vive owners in, well, China. Shortly after the reveal, TPCast ran a limited pre-order, which sold out almost immediately, and we’ve been waiting for news of the device shipping outside of the country ever since.
The first round of TPCast kits sold for the equivalent of $220, which seemed like a reasonable price to pay to remove the biggest nuisance from your VR HMD. However, TPCast appears to have increased the price for the European launch, which doesn’t bode well for the U.S. release. You can pre-order the TPCast kit from a handful of retailers in Europe, including Digitec.ch in Switzerland, and Webhallen.com in Sweden. Digitec.ch sells the kit for €379, and Webhallen.com sells the kit for 3490 kr. Those prices convert to roughly $440, which is twice the price of the original batch. It’s worth noting that European countries list their product prices with the sales tax included, but Europeans aren’t paying a 100% tax rate, so it stands to reason that TPCast raised the price of the product.
The TPCast wireless kit includes a transmitter module that plugs into your computer and a receiver module that mounts to the top of the Vive headset and plugs in where the data cable would normally go. You also get one TPCast Power Box battery that provides up to five hours of continuous use between charges. TPCast offers replaceable batteries, though, they don’t appear to be available for pre-order yet. The video installation guide suggests the kit also includes a wireless router, but it’s unclear if the instructions are for a prototype or the retail kit.
If you live in one of the following countries--Denmark, Czech, UK, Sweden, Slovakia, Spain, Germany, Irelan, Austria, Belgium, France, Poland, Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, or Finland--you can place an order for a TPCast wireless kit today. However, the TPCast website doesn’t give any indication as to when you might receive the hardware. Curiously, the U.S. version of TPCastVR.com indicates that the kits would begin shipping “before September 30,” so be on the lookout for the U.S. pre-order page to go live any day now. You can sign up for a mailing list that will notify you when you can order one.