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Higher resolution Vive


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For a new simulation application where 6DoF its not needed being sit, but resolution it's important, was looking for an upgrade from the Cosmos. 

Cosmos is fine for all, but I think as any HMD with this resolution I can see a lack of resolution vs a standard monitor, that will make the difference in a mostly still application where you need to act on many virtual controllers. 

As alternative to high end thousand $ headset I was looking at HP Reverb, that's anyway not fully convincing me since his SteamVR support seems to be only partial and no IPD adjustment. 

Want to ask if anyone ever read about a new higher resolution Vive coming out. 

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I haven't but there's a combination of limiting factors on higher resolution HMDs

First is the technology of displays you've got to balance out resolution, refresh rate and weight. You can have a higher resolution but the cost is usually lower refresh rate which would suck in most applications and that doesn't mean it can't be done but to deliver more pixels and faster means more electronics over all. 

Second is processing vs transmission, this problem has always existed, we've always had lower resolutions than would be ideal because the cost of computation just isn't there to provide higher resolution with a low bandwidth, and a larger bandwidth just isn't feasible. For TVs this meant 625 lines of resolution for broadcast but the output of many early computers were less than that 320x200 in some cases. Increasing the resolution requires either more bandwidth and so heavier/bulkier cables or wireless packs, or more processing which could mean higher latency on the headset, if you compress the data signal and decompress it that takes time and while for TV that's fine it doesn't really matter if your TV is whole minutes behind the actual broadcast in most cases fractions of a second for VR can be nausiating.

Third is graphics processing bottleneck. Looking at the gaming monitor ecosystem there's simply a limit to how much a reasonable computer at a reasonable price can display. This is because it takes lots of processing to render scenes, just sticking more and more GFX cards into a computer doesn't linearly increase performance, even using SLI or Crossfire you don't get a doubling of performance for paying twice as much and getting 2 cards. You can throw more and more money at the problem but you still hit a hard wall, and the result is that even if you can create a display that's the same weight as present and it could serve 4k 144Hz to each eye and it's cheap enough to be a consumer product you could never realistically buy a computer in the under $1000 price point that would be able to serve out enough pixels

I honestly think that HTC/Vive have somewhat of a sweet spot on all of this stuff so that 99% of people who can buy have a good time with it and the 1% that want or need those extra pixels can either wait for everything to improve rather than join the early adopters, or they can pay excessive amounts and the extreme early adopter tax for products that're still in development and not really ready for the larger market.

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I'm seen this both in term of strategy and positioning more than technical limitations. 

Both HP Reverb and Vrgineers Xtal with roughly double resolution does use a single DP cable so no bandwidth problems. Refresh rate are also pretty good. They require a GTX 1080 nothing incredible, and with SteamVR you can always change the SS. 

Thinking about both professional and consumer market, seems the pro does offer many high priced but more resoluted options with also integrated hand tracking and other features, the consumer has increased competition from both other similar or perceived better offerings and stand alone headsets. 

My focus its on the Professional side, where lowering the price of the Vive Pro in my opinion shows is perceived as a weak proposal. Its a great headset, but there are better options out there, able to ask for beefier margins. Varjo raised $31Mil funding for a reason. 

A "4k" single eye display with some other attached features will bring HTC back on the Pro game, where it's roots belong. An RTX 2080S GPU performance requirement will not brake any Pro wallet, especially considering upcoming Nvidia Ampere and AMD RDNA2 architectures. 

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New VivePro/VR user here.. When I first watch YouTube VR headset reviews I was quite impressed at what it could do - graphics fidelity, but that changed when I experience VR for the first time with the VivePro. I could see pixels, something which YouTube VR gameplay videos doesn't show (recorded gameplay were from what the PC generated for the PC monitor rather than what is seen through the VR headset's screens).


I have been PC gaming since the late 90s and I have seen gaming resolution go from 640x480 right through to my current 3440x1440 monitor. I can see pixels despite the combined resolution of 2880x1600 which is technically sharper than 1080p BUT the difference is that these screens inside of the VR headset are mere inches from my eyes so logically they don't seem as high resolution as I expected them to be. I super-sampled all my VR games to 1.5-1.7x but that can never duplicate a true native higher resolution screen. So even with my i9-9900K/RTX2080Ti rig, that limitation in VR is still there. Of course I'm aware that 4K/5K/8K VR high refresh rate headsets are available from Pimax but for that kind of ultra high definition I would think even my rig would have difficulty running them at native resolution at high refresh rates. That limitation is real and it is as real as the current PC hardware's limitation with ray tracing. It's a strange situation to be in.

VR's "close field" resolution limitations can be somewhat resolved by lowering the graphics setting to make it run at 90/120hz at 4K per eye resolution but that would be kind of contradictory.  The irony is that the gains of VR (full 3D immersion of being inside a game world) is compromised by the perceived lower resolution of viewing images just inches from your eyes. I game on a close to UHD resolution of  3440x1440 (albeit 2D) PC monitor and the difference from what I see on a VR headset is stark. Mind you I still  enjoy playing Halflife Alyx/Arizona Sunshine/Pistol Whip on my "low resolution" VivePro so for now the graphics "downgrade" is still acceptable. To duplicate what I see on my PC monitor on a VR headset is still a long time away but I'll enjoy what is possible for now.   

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The HP is  2 x 2160 x 2160 9 million Pixels but doesn't say any refresh rate on their own website, Amazon claims 90 Hz but I don't see how that's possible given that's nearly two times the data rate of the other options on the market. the displays are also square which in some respects sucks because your eyes naturally have a wider range in focus than tall so either things will be scaled so your width is accomodated perfectly and then you have a mass of height pixels you'll never see, or the height is perfect and you'll be wishing for width, or some combination of the two shortfalls, paying for rarely used pixels. It's also not Steam VR compatible again from the website, it seems to only be officially supported by "Virtual Reality Solutions Overview" it also only has 2 sensors so the tracking must work entirely differently to everything else

The Vrgineers Xtal is 2 x 2560 x 1440 7 Million Pixels at 70Hz refresh rate on their own website. It also looks a lot heavier than the Cosmos but seems to be comparable to the one I own except it requires an extra 1lb counterweight as part of the strap which the Cosmos doesn't, it probably needs this because the weight while comparable to the Cosmos is further from the face and so will feel heavier even if it's about the same. The 180 range of vision is also massively overkill, you're paying for pixels you won't see the vast majority of the time and you're either going to be letterboxed on height comparatively or the pixels near the centre of your vision are going to be taller.

The Cosmos is 2 x 1440 x 1700 5 million pixels at 90Hz refresh rate. from personal experience there is pixelation but on the whole I'm either too busy to notice or twice as many pixels wouldn't really help, I'd need an order of magnitude more pixels to make things work.

The Vive Pro has the exact same specs as the cosmos for the screen

The Valve Index which many consider the best on the market is 2 x 1440 x 1600 4.5 Million Pixels at 120 Refresh rate, an even lower resolution to enable the refresh rate trade off. 

4K is 2 x 4096 x 2160 that's some 18 Million Pixels, which is double the highest contender in HP. That's not to mention I think going forward there might be a push for a combination of better tracking and better refresh rates, at least that's the vibe I get from Steam's recent push, so to be a contender you not only have to push out 4K you'd have to do so at 120Hz or 144Hz which are DP2.0 resolutions. Or that for something to be considered really pro now it needs HDR and out of the box calibration, which adds another 20% to the amount of data being put through the same cable. And this is assuming you can send it uncompressed at all.

So it might be possible with a DP2.0 whenever that happens but right now I don't think it's possible both the RTX 2080 from Nvidia and RX5800XE from AMD have only DP1.4a at the moment. Theoretically you could theoretically use 2 cards and 2 Display Ports one working for each eye but if they desync or one displays things while the other stutters for any reason you'd have massive nausea problems.

And that's not to mention the amount of heat these devices already output, cramming in more elecronics and more stuff is going to make them warm 4K displays put out a lot of heat, to have that near your face you either need to do some active cooling or have more technology improvements. Take the sony xperia z5 mobile phone as an example of a 4K screen that's about the twice the size needed for VR headsets, it had a massive overheating problem that I'm sure is in part due to the display used.

We're years away from being able to realistically replace even standard monitor resolutions with VR because all those display sizes I list cover about the same area of your vision as a 50inch TV at arms length, to replace a standard monitor you probably need the display density to be about that of a 22 inch monitor some maybe half as far away again. which is like I mentioned an order of magnitude increase in the number of pixels, 16K or more maybe per eye so that there's no more pixelisation at the perceived distance my computer screen normally sits than my same screen running 1960x1080. And again that assumes the tracking and refresh rate are good enough that even my breathing doesn't move those pixels around in a way that's uncomfortable, cause if you're looking at details that small on a display that's attached to your face and you breath and your eyes track where you expect the display to stay motionless and the pixels lag in anyway again you'll have horrible nausea. 

Edited by JohnyDL
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I have already researched all of this. Have also tested Xtal and yes is heavy and does have chromatic aberration, BUT does have a way higher resolution that make the difference. 

Never tested Reverb will do it in a few week, know a company using it for professional sim and at 90hz weight 500g. Is compatible with SteamVR trough native loading of WMR app in Steam, but indeed square resolution it's not ideal. 

Varjo require 2xGPU for working but use feoveated rendering, does have 60ppd near the center and integrate many features for a steep price. 

"4k" using " since in VR market is used in a different way and even Pimax 4k and 8k didn't are the real 4k resolution, but still higher than Vive Pro. 

There is no ideal solution, even if for some usage such as professional simulation there are better one than Vive. I never game and like Cosmos for all professional usages except for sim, where I'm searching a better solution. 

So that's my idea, there is an opportunity for HTC, for a let's say €2000 headset more advanced than Pro. Even if if they fix the Reverb (seems HP is working with Ms and Valve) will be difficult to compete at 600eu.

Edited by davide445
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Yes we are still a long way off in VR replacing the standard PC monitor gaming. How much can a RTX2080Ti do now or a RTX3080Ti can do next doesn't seem optimistic. Even a SLI setup would not make any difference since VR wasn't configured for SLI rendering/optimization.


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