TPCast has finally begun to take North American pre-orders for its wireless headset adapter for the HTC Vive. Already released in China, the unit offers untethered operation of the HTC Vive for five hours as well as minimal latencies. The cost for this wireless motion is $299.99, and the company plans to begin shipments of the device later this month.

TPCast’s wireless adapter for Vive uses 60 GHz and other radios to connect the VR headset to the PC and thus eliminate cables, one of the major drawbacks of today’s high-end VR gear, and enables a greater freedom of movements for gamers. Common sense for most users put wireless connections as having a higher input lag that wired interconnections which may affect user experience, although TPCast claims to have solved this. It claims that the wireless adapter has an input latency of 2 ms, which is lower than “<7ms latency” featured by HTC’s wireless accessory for Vive created with Intel.

The relatively low latency of TPCast’s wireless adapter for Vive is enabled by Lattices’ MOD6320-T/MOD6321-R WirelessHD modules that are used to transmit VR display content from PC to the headset. Speaking of Lattice, the device also uses Lattice’s SiI9396 600 MHz HDMI bridge ICs and LatticeECP3 SERDES-based FPGA, so the company is a key developer of chips for the adapter. Neither TPCast nor Lattice disclose actual transmission rate that is used for the wireless adapter for Vive, but we know that the WirelessHD is speced for 10 – 28 Gbps, well in excess of the 8.2Gbps required for the Vive's hardware HDMI 1.4 connection..

The TPCast Wireless Adapter for Vive kit consists of several pieces: the transmitter module that plugs to the Vive Linkbox (which is connected to the PC), the receiver that connects to the Vive headset, and an Anker PowerCore 20100 mAh (100.5 Wh) accumulator that provides up to five hours of battery life to the head mounted display. (interesting aside: at that capacity, it cannot be taken on-board aircraft.) The unit also comes with a charger, a router and a bunch of cables to make setup easier. It is noteworthy that TPCast requires customers to use its own router because it transmits information back from the HMD to the PC.

The TPCAST Wireless Adapter for Vive is now available for pre-order, at a price of $299.99, via Amazon, Newegg, and the company’s own website. TPCast plans to start shipments of the device on November 24 (for some reason, Newegg mentions November 20 as the release date), so expect retail availability of the unit after this date.

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Source for the diagram: UploadVR

Source: TPCast

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  • JoeyJoJo123 - Monday, November 13, 2017 - link

    Looks okay. The proprietary router and $299 price is kind of offputting. It's also probably a bit cumbersome to have _even more weight_ to your head.

    Realistically should've been attachable to a user's upper arm, back, or waist. The Vive headset is already pretty heavy as-is for sessions longer than an hour or so.
    Reply
  • PeachNCream - Monday, November 13, 2017 - link

    I don't have a Vive so I don't know for sure, but would the fact that some of the extra hardware ends up on the back of the head and the rest on the top balance out the Vive? It looks front heavy so maybe changing how weight is spread around would offset some of what your head and neck will have to carry. Reply
  • JoeyJoJo123 - Monday, November 13, 2017 - link

    Not sure, it might help balance it, but I know that many friends and family members prefer contacts to glasses because even thin-frame glasses end up feeling like they get in the way, and those don't have an implicit weight issue.

    I imagine it's kind of the same deal here. If someone finds reading glasses uncomfortable, then I don't think adding weight behind the person's head really helps alleviate that.

    I think if the interest is in a truly untethered and free experience, as long as you have the bulk associated with the displays and lenses in front of the face, it'll still feel like it's in the way or isn't natural. But obviously even VR in the form-factor of reading glasses is a long-long-long ways off.

    In the short term, I think finding ways to offset the weight from the head would help getting towards that goal.
    Reply
  • Lord of the Bored - Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - link

    Actually, the "glasses issue"* is why they use the big three-strap assemblage. The upper strap is key to keeping the headset's weight from pressing down on the nose and lower face. It still isn't optimal, but...

    *I can't really judge this issue fairly, as I've been wearing fairly powerful glasses for most of my life. I feel weird WITHOUT them.
    Reply
  • piroroadkill - Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - link

    Occlusion problems. It needs to have direct line of sight as often as possible. Reply
  • Danvelopment - Monday, November 13, 2017 - link

    Someone has been typing HMD and HDMI too long.

    Can someone explain the router? I don't understand why that exists or is required. Transmitter > receiver. What does the router do?
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Monday, November 13, 2017 - link

    If I'm reading their FAQ correctly, the dongles only do HDMI from PC-Vive; the router is the way they kludged traffic going from the VIVE back to the PC. I'm not sure why they couldn't either have the Vive dongle connect to your existing wifi, or setup an adhoc wifi link between their pair of dongles.

    https://www.tpcastvr.com/faq
    Reply
  • JoeyJoJo123 - Monday, November 13, 2017 - link

    I think the tl;dr is that it uses WirelessHD technology to communicate what would've been the HDMI signal over a wireless signal.

    The video signal goes from PC -> Their Proprietary Router -> air (wireless signal) -> proprietary receiver attachment on ViVe -> wired to the ViVe headset.
    Reply
  • extide - Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - link

    No, the video is transmitted from the TPCast Transmitter, which uses wireless HD. If you look in the diagram you can see it is separate from the TPCast Router. It also mentions to leave the USB unplugged from the TPCast Transmitter. I would imagine that the TPCast Receiver connects with the TPCast Router to transfer the USB data to the PC over ethernet.

    PC -> HDMI -> Vive Box -> TPCast Transmitter -> wireless -> TPCast Receiver (for video)

    TPCast Receiver <-> TPCast Router <-> Ethernet <-> PC (for USB and other control signals)
    Reply
  • willis936 - Monday, November 13, 2017 - link

    Oh hey I was in the market for this a few years ago. I ended up going with an active (non compliant, headache inducing) HDMI extender over 2x cat 5 ethernet. Reply

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