Is HTC Going To Unveil A 4K Vive VR Headset At CES 2018?

by on January 5, 2018
Stephan Jukic – January 5, 2018

HTC, the giant Taiwanese manufacturer of consumer electronics may just be preparing a not so tiny surprise for this year’s CES mega technology event in just a couple of days, at least if teaser information from their Twitter feed for the HTC Vive is to be interpreted correctly.

Ton the official HTC Vive Twitter account today, the company unveiled a little teaser hinting that they would release an updated version of the Vive for 2018 with support for 4K ultra HD visuals, giving the new device a major resolution boost from the current version’s 2,160 x 1200 pixel resolution as it stands today.

Rumors of such a 4K model of the Vive VR headset have been circulating for a long time of course, and even in the lead-up to CES 2017 almost exactly one year ago, there was speculation of a reported “Vive 2” with 4K display and wireless capability. These obviously never panned out to anything and were even shot down by HTC itself right before CES 2017. This year’s rumor hints are on the other hand coming right from the manufacturer itself and almost as importantly, make much more sense from a product time-line point of view.

The existing HTC Vive now has just under two years of existence behind it and is now selling for $599 for a package that consists of the unit itself and two controllers. This makes it rather ripe for replacement by a more cutting-edge version, and just in time for the maturation of the 4K display and content ecosystem. Vive would likely sell both units simultaneously, with the new version selling at or slightly above the same price as the current model did when it was released ($799).

Is HTC Going To Unveil A 4K Vive VR Headset At CES 2018?

Other potential issues with a possible 4K Vive revolve around its raw hardware requirements. Even the existing dual HD display model needs a fairly decent bit of kick to deliver 1080 x 1200 pixels to dual displays at the same time for the sake of its VR creation. The minimum PC specs for today’s Vive are as follows:

  • Processor: Intel Core i5-4590 or better (2013), AMD FX 8350 or better (2012)
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 or better, AMD Radeon RX 480 or better
  • Memory: 4GB or more
  • Open video port: 1x HDMI 1.4 or newer, or 1x Display 1.2 or newer
  • Open USB ports: 1x USB-A 2.0 or newer
  • Operating system:
  • Windows 7 SP1
  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows 10

Most of these are pretty modest by the standards of any newer mid-range PC or laptop but note that the GPU requirements above are a serious cut above what most PC machiens come with normally. GTX 1060 and AMD Radeon RX 480 graphics cards are built for some hefty 1440p gaming performance (though not quite powerful enough for 4K UHD gaming).

In other words, a 4K Vive would need quite a bit more to be usable and we wonder just how many fans of the existing device have the PC power in their rigs to handle such requirements. We could possibly see a new Vive that works by joining two displays of 1920 x 2133 pixels for reduced GPU load, or reducing the refresh rate from the current HD model’s 90Hz down to a more modest but still very smooth 60Hz.

Even these modifications would mean the need for serious GPU power of the GTX 1070 level or higher. Given the typical $699 price tag of a Nvidia GTX 1070 GPU, the potential price of at least $799 for a new 4K Vive on top of that might just be a bit steep for many consumers.

In other words, whether the newly teased/rumored 4K UHD Vive is really going to be a thing this January 9th during HTC’s planned CES press conference or not, you can be pretty sure that 4K VR headset devices like this won’t be coming cheaply any time too soon.

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