TPCAST Wireless Vive Kit Review

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If you are a Vive owner you'll no doubt want to check out this review of the TPCAST wireless unit over at UploadVR. How do you test a wireless adapter for a VR headset? Have a gymnast do back flips while playing a game. I'm not kidding. :D I wonder how well this would work with our VR performance articles?

I have spent hundreds of hours in wired Vives over the last year and I did not notice any latency differences between the headsets I’ve been using and this wireless one. We plan to do extensive testing with the consumer version of TPCAST when it arrives to fully examine the latency numbers, but for now, we found the overall motion to photon latency feels way under the 20 ms benchmark required for comfortable VR headsets.
 

MikeTrike

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Article said:
As for a launch in the US, all Liu would offer is “sometime next year.” A US price for the kit has not been set.

I'm waiting, ready to order...
 

Coznefx

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This isn't going to be the only solution (probably just the first consumer version). Other companies such as Nitero, Quark VR and Serious Simulations (which I've seen in work in person, but it's non-consumer) are also working on wireless VR tech. I wouldn't be surprised if we hear about other companies showing solutions at CES too. I hope that one or some of the big HMD manufacturers will license Serious Simulations tech, because they are sub 1 millisecond.
 

TheSmJ

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It's worth pointing out that this will work with the Rift as well. All it needs is a 12" version of the cable it already has.
 

pj-

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It's worth pointing out that this will work with the Rift as well. All it needs is a 12" version of the cable it already has.

That's not necessarily true. The technology will work with rift but this specific device may not. Rifts headset is USB 3 and the tpcast may only be USB 2. It's also possible that it may not be wired to supply all the power the headset needs over usb, since vive has a separate power connection.
 

EdZ

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How do you test a wireless adapter for a VR headset?
Use a latency tester (e.g. the one that was released for the DK1) to measure unidirectional latency. Or place two HMD side-by-side using a HDMI splitter to compare wired vs. wireless with a photodiode timer, or even a high-speed camera. Or even just have a wired HMD and wireless HMD next to each other and manually swap between them while performing the same test actions.
Have a gymnast do back flips while playing a game.
Oh. So no testing then, just a literal circus performance (note: if they guy can backflip with his eyes closed, it is not a test).

While I sadly can't cite my source (condition of anonymity), the TPCast device is using off-the-shelf SiBeam WirelessHD modules (likely the MOD6320_6321-PAIR). SiBeam is owned by Lattice Semi, but the team that developed the SiBeam chips has since left, so there is no further development of this product line. It's a relatively high powered module (a few watts) designed for use in AV receivers and similar, hence the large batteries TPCast are using.
 

pj-

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The fact that it works at all is a very good sign. Many people were doubting it due to the fact that it was coming from a chinese company nobody's ever heard of.

This year is going to be very interesting for wireless vr.
 

drlqpham

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Use a latency tester (e.g. the one that was released for the DK1) to measure unidirectional latency. Or place two HMD side-by-side using a HDMI splitter to compare wired vs. wireless with a photodiode timer, or even a high-speed camera. Or even just have a wired HMD and wireless HMD next to each other and manually swap between them while performing the same test actions.

Oh. So no testing then, just a literal circus performance (note: if they guy can backflip with his eyes closed, it is not a test).

While I sadly can't cite my source (condition of anonymity), the TPCast device is using off-the-shelf SiBeam WirelessHD modules (likely the MOD6320_6321-PAIR). SiBeam is owned by Lattice Semi, but the team that developed the SiBeam chips has since left, so there is no further development of this product line. It's a relatively high powered module (a few watts) designed for use in AV receivers and similar, hence the large batteries TPCast are using.

Which is unfortunate when higher resolution headsets come out.
 

TheSmJ

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Use a latency tester (e.g. the one that was released for the DK1) to measure unidirectional latency. Or place two HMD side-by-side using a HDMI splitter to compare wired vs. wireless with a photodiode timer, or even a high-speed camera. Or even just have a wired HMD and wireless HMD next to each other and manually swap between them while performing the same test actions.

Oh. So no testing then, just a literal circus performance (note: if they guy can backflip with his eyes closed, it is not a test).

While I sadly can't cite my source (condition of anonymity), the TPCast device is using off-the-shelf SiBeam WirelessHD modules (likely the MOD6320_6321-PAIR). SiBeam is owned by Lattice Semi, but the team that developed the SiBeam chips has since left, so there is no further development of this product line. It's a relatively high powered module (a few watts) designed for use in AV receivers and similar, hence the large batteries TPCast are using.

This "review" isn't so much of a real review as it is giving TPCAST a chance to prove the device is a real-life thing that can now be confirmed by an unbiased source, and simultaneously provides UploadVR with a boatload of extra clicks. A real brass tacks performance review isn't going to happen until the device is consumer ready and that isn't going to happen for a while yet. There are at least two other similar devices that will be released "soon", including one that's promising out-of-the-box compatibility with both the Vive and Rift. It'll be interesting to see how they compare.
 

MikeTrike

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This "review" isn't so much of a real review as it is giving TPCAST a chance to prove the device is a real-life thing that can now be confirmed by an unbiased source, and simultaneously provides UploadVR with a boatload of extra clicks. A real brass tacks performance review isn't going to happen until the device is consumer ready and that isn't going to happen for a while yet. There are at least two other similar devices that will be released "soon", including one that's promising out-of-the-box compatibility with both the Vive and Rift. It'll be interesting to see how they compare.

Still excited as well...
 

Trepidati0n

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This "review" isn't so much of a real review as it is giving TPCAST a chance to prove the device is a real-life thing that can now be confirmed by an unbiased source, and simultaneously provides UploadVR with a boatload of extra clicks. A real brass tacks performance review isn't going to happen until the device is consumer ready and that isn't going to happen for a while yet. There are at least two other similar devices that will be released "soon", including one that's promising out-of-the-box compatibility with both the Vive and Rift. It'll be interesting to see how they compare.

The fact these products are "coming to market" is pretty good indication that VR has legs. Look at 3D for TV's...there was no 3rd party market because there was no market for the 3rd party.
 

pj-

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The fact these products are "coming to market" is pretty good indication that VR has legs. Look at 3D for TV's...there was no 3rd party market because there was no market for the 3rd party.

Also there was less room for accessories with 3d tvs.. Besides glasses (where there was 3rd party participation) what else would someone make? 3d glasses holder?
 

MavericK

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I want this, but I also don't know that the wire really annoys me enough to be worth $250.
 

pj-

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I want this, but I also don't know that the wire really annoys me enough to be worth $250.

I think the wire degrades the experience in subtle ways. It may not be super annoying to you, but that could be because you're subconsciously limiting how much you move around so as not to anger the cable.

I expect that once you have wireless VR for a while, the difference will be striking if you go back to wired.
 

MikeTrike

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I think the wire degrades the experience in subtle ways. It may not be super annoying to you, but that could be because you're subconsciously limiting how much you move around so as not to anger the cable.

I expect that once you have wireless VR for a while, the difference will be striking if you go back to wired.

+1

Also hitting yourself with the big ass controllers pulls you out of it...
 

MavericK

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I think the wire degrades the experience in subtle ways. It may not be super annoying to you, but that could be because you're subconsciously limiting how much you move around so as not to anger the cable.

I expect that once you have wireless VR for a while, the difference will be striking if you go back to wired.

That's a fair point. I think I tend to limit myself much more due to the constraints of the play space to avoid hitting the wall rather than anything to do with the cable, though. Unfortunately wireless won't fix that...need to buy warehouse space I guess. :p
 

pj-

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That's a fair point. I think I tend to limit myself much more due to the constraints of the play space to avoid hitting the wall rather than anything to do with the cable, though. Unfortunately wireless won't fix that...need to buy warehouse space I guess. :p


If I buy a house, an open space of at least 15'x15'x8' is going to be a requirement. I'm hoping to have a basement living space where I can put a couch on sliders or something so the VR area isn't wasted when it isn't being used.
 

noko

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If I buy a house, an open space of at least 15'x15'x8' is going to be a requirement. I'm hoping to have a basement living space where I can put a couch on sliders or something so the VR area isn't wasted when it isn't being used.
I have a question on the 15' x 15' - the instructions says the base stations are not to be separated greater than 16 ft preferably on opposite corners. Doing the math that would make 11.3' square sides and not 15' sides. Are the base stations not put in the corners for this? or is this the max that folks found to work?
 

pj-

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I have a question on the 15' x 15' - the instructions says the base stations are not to be separated greater than 16 ft preferably on opposite corners. Doing the math that would make 11.3' square sides and not 15' sides. Are the base stations not put in the corners for this? or is this the max that folks found to work?

I think the max steamvr 'play area' is 4m x 4m, so a 15' square room might be a little overkill. Having a buffer between the chaperone boundaries and physical walls would be good though. The conservative 16 ft diagonal recommendation is due to limitations of the optical sync flash that the base stations do, not the actual tracking. The length of the cable also plays a role in that limit I would assume. You can usually separate them a fair bit more than the official limit without problems, and quite a lot more with the optical sync cable that comes with the vive.

The Hover Junkers guys experimented with the basestations over 20 feet apart

 
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noko

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I think the max steamvr 'play area' is 4m x 4m, so a 15' square room might be a little overkill. Having a buffer between the chaperone boundaries and physical walls would be good though. The conservative 16 ft diagonal recommendation is due to limitations of the optical sync flash that the base stations do, not the actual tracking. The length of the cable also plays a role in that limit I would assume. You can usually separate them a fair bit more than the official limit without problems, and quite a lot more with the optical sync cable that comes with the vive.

The Hover Junkers guys experimented with the basestations over 20 feet apart


Thanks, now that was way cool. The wireless should make this even better. Seeing that video makes my 8' x 9' space seem rather cramp :sorry:. I have a 11 by 12 foot room that I can use for the Vive once in awhile (wife permitting that is). Now what is the real limit while using the sync cable, seems like 20 feet was no issue? :)
 

Dayaks

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I've done around 18' apart on the lighthouses no issues. It warns you the suggested max is 16.44' IIRC.
 
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pj-

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There is probably a hard max where the light hitting the sensors is too weak, but the realistic limit is how much "jitter" you can deal with.

I would think that at around 20 feet you start reaching the precision limits of the tracking and if you held perfectly still, the VR world and your controllers would be jittering noticeably. Moving around a lot will mask jitter so the type of game you're playing will also matter. I wouldn't want to play Project Cars sitting in the corner of a room where the basestations are 25 feet apart, but something like space pirate trainer would be fine.
 

MavericK

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I think the max steamvr 'play area' is 4m x 4m, so a 15' square room might be a little overkill. Having a buffer between the chaperone boundaries and physical walls would be good though.

I am pretty sure that the Chaperone system does build in a buffer automatically...about 6-12 inches worth I think. So a 15'x15' room would probably be about perfect.
 

pj-

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I am pretty sure that the Chaperone system does build in a buffer automatically...about 6-12 inches worth I think. So a 15'x15' room would probably be about perfect.

I drew my room boundaries basically up to one of the walls of my living room to maximize space and the chaperone grid is pretty much right on it. I hit wall maybe 1-2 inches beyond the grid
 

MavericK

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I drew my room boundaries basically up to one of the walls of my living room to maximize space and the chaperone grid is pretty much right on it. I hit wall maybe 1-2 inches beyond the grid

Weird, mine has a definite buffer and I traced mine right along the wall.
 

noko

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Mine is pretty close to the wall and 2"-3" sound about right.
 

RogueTadhg

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It uses a compression algorithm described as the company’s “secret sauce” with “Wireless HD” transmission we believe to be in the 60 ghz wifi band sending 2160 x 1200 video data.

It seems like the Vive is a much more open platform it's getting accessories left and right while the Rift hasn't really at all. My only concern with the wireless is if the Vive 2 rumormill about it being in the 4K resolution, would the wireless be able to suppose the higher resolution without noticeable latency?
 

noko

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It uses a compression algorithm described as the company’s “secret sauce” with “Wireless HD” transmission we believe to be in the 60 ghz wifi band sending 2160 x 1200 video data.

It seems like the Vive is a much more open platform it's getting accessories left and right while the Rift hasn't really at all. My only concern with the wireless is if the Vive 2 rumormill about it being in the 4K resolution, would the wireless be able to suppose the higher resolution without noticeable latency?
I do not see 4K VR headsets for a long while. Maybe 4K screens to eliminate the screen door effect but the rendering resolution will most likely be much less. Nothing would be able to drive it at 90fps+. As for the Wireless TPCAST, I wouldn't think it would work with the next generation or would be limited at best. Then again it could surprise us but doubtful because the next generation is not here yet to even know what it would take.
 
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4K VR headsets will require AT LEAST another couple of generations of graphics cards tech development to come down the pike (and I'm talking top tier hardware here, not mid-range product offerings) in order to provide the necessary raw graphics grunt needed to power the rendering requirements.

Keep in mind that 4K VR requires rendering separately to each eye, so that's 4K times 2! Sure, there are tricks that can be employed to reduce the GPU horsepower needed (eye tracking coupled with foveated rendering as well as single pass stereo rendering using simultaneous multi-projection), however, this tech is also still in development and will take some time to fully perfect/mature.

Right now, we have 1080×1200 resolution per eye @90 FPS. My best guess is that we'll see double that (2160×2400) within 2 years and 4K or better VR within 5 years. Even just doubling today's VR resolution will be amazing. By the time we get to 4K or better VR, we won't be needing monitors anymore.

Further advances in wireless data transmission will also hopefully be made - but I have a feeling we'll still have cables for a while due to power needs and the cost constraints involved.
 
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Welp, even in an 8'x8' space (which might as well be the bare minimum for room-scale, it's still pretty cramped), I'm quickly learning first-hand just how short the Rift HMD cable is when backed up toward the other side of the room. Guess I'd need an HDMI + USB 3.0 extension cable just for the much-needed slack, too.

Now I'm really looking forward to all this wireless stuff coming down the road, just because of this. It'll especially help in bigger rooms, particularly for Vive users where the Lighthouse stations have a longer effective tracking range.
 

heatlesssun

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Welp, even in an 8'x8' space (which might as well be the bare minimum for room-scale, it's still pretty cramped), I'm quickly learning first-hand just how short the Rift HMD cable is when backed up toward the other side of the room. Guess I'd need an HDMI + USB 3.0 extension cable just for the much-needed slack, too.

Now I'm really looking forward to all this wireless stuff coming down the road, just because of this. It'll especially help in bigger rooms, particularly for Vive users where the Lighthouse stations have a longer effective tracking range.

I'm in a 7.5' x 7' area and there are some games where that's a little tight but most things seem to work well in that amount of space. Steam games do list space requirements and those ones that list larger areas probably wouldn't work. Longer term I am thinking about putting a setup downstairs, I've got a nice 12'x12' area down there that would be perfect and a cool thing for company.
 

bobzdar

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4K VR headsets will require AT LEAST another couple of generations of graphics cards tech development to come down the pike (and I'm talking top tier hardware here, not mid-range product offerings) in order to provide the necessary raw graphics grunt needed to power the rendering requirements.

Keep in mind that 4K VR requires rendering separately to each eye, so that's 4K times 2! Sure, there are tricks that can be employed to reduce the GPU horsepower needed (eye tracking coupled with foveated rendering as well as single pass stereo rendering using simultaneous multi-projection), however, this tech is also still in development and will take some time to fully perfect/mature.

Right now, we have 1080×1200 resolution per eye @90 FPS. My best guess is that we'll see double that (2160×2400) within 2 years and 4K or better VR within 5 years. Even just doubling today's VR resolution will be amazing. By the time we get to 4K or better VR, we won't be needing monitors anymore.

Further advances in wireless data transmission will also hopefully be made - but I have a feeling we'll still have cables for a while due to power needs and the cost constraints involved.

I think when people are talking 4k, they're talking 4k for the whole screen (so 1920x2160 per eye). A Titan X or 1080sli setup (if VR games supported it) should be able to do that now in a lot of games and I'm sure in a year the top end hardware will be able to in most games, if not all. I see much over 4k total being diminishing returns tbh. the current 1080x1200 is pretty damn good to where it's not much of a distraction in-game, so I'd expect 2nd gen to also include a wider FOV so the added pixels are usable.

I could also see it being an additional model instead of a replacement - ie 1st gen/lower end 1080x1200 with 1050gtx min and a higher end 1920x2160 with 1080ti min at a higher price point. At that point, it'll be more about better (bigger) play space, wireless, incorporating bigger environments, peripherals and game development than needing much more hmd wise. I think stuff like DARBEE image processing shaders and things like that will be what push things iq wise instead of just adding more and more pixels.
 
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I'm in a 7.5' x 7' area and there are some games where that's a little tight but most things seem to work well in that amount of space. Steam games do list space requirements and those ones that list larger areas probably wouldn't work. Longer term I am thinking about putting a setup downstairs, I've got a nice 12'x12' area down there that would be perfect and a cool thing for company.
To be fair, it depends on the game. I mainly say it's barely enough because it's just about enough to take three steps from one edge of the area to the other, enough room to lean around cover when taking potshots, just enough room to go prone, but it's barely enough to slug it out in Gorn without potentially hitting something, which isn't helped by the game's current lack of locomotion options other than your current room space.

However, games that involve shooting more than melee combat can get away with smaller spaces just because you're not swinging your arms around wildly trying to hit people with virtual melee weapons. You still need some room to move around cover, though.

I'd like to have more space, but there just isn't another room in the entire house that's cut out for it, made all the worse by how the computer room is flanked with computer desks on three of its four sides. It's roughly a 12'x12' room, and when your typical desk is about two to three feet deep, you see where this is going.
 

heatlesssun

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To be fair, it depends on the game. I mainly say it's barely enough because it's just about enough to take three steps from one edge of the area to the other, enough room to lean around cover when taking potshots, just enough room to go prone, but it's barely enough to slug it out in Gorn without potentially hitting something, which isn't helped by the game's current lack of locomotion options other than your current room space.

However, games that involve shooting more than melee combat can get away with smaller spaces just because you're not swinging your arms around wildly trying to hit people with virtual melee weapons. You still need some room to move around cover, though.

I'd like to have more space, but there just isn't another room in the entire house that's cut out for it, made all the worse by how the computer room is flanked with computer desks on three of its four sides. It's roughly a 12'x12' room, and when your typical desk is about two to three feet deep, you see where this is going.

Exactly, it depends on the game. My situation is like yours, my bedroom office is about 13'x10' but with all of the desks in it the center is about 7.5'x7'.
 
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True, but splitting 4K between both eyes results in only providing a 2K screen when it comes to effective resolution as to what is being perceived... Well, ok, slightly better than 2K since our brains overlay and combine/blend the two images, but still, no where close to a 4K overall image... While current tech is perceived as "good enough" for general gaming, it falls far short of what I would call acceptable when it comes to dealing with text in VR land within a HMD. So, I guess 8K split between two eyes is where we'll start seeing folks no longer requiring or wanting a traditional monitor at all - everything will simply be in the HMD, text and all. HMD bulk and weight will also start to shrink significantly... Hard to imagine how incredibly altering and disruptive this tech will be 10 years from now! What's that Grandpa? Oh, that thing is called a PC monitor... :D
 
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