The HTC Vive is a high-end virtual reality headset that uses a PC to run its graphics. It's commonly thought to be the biggest competitor to the Oculus Rift. While the two product share some similarities, there are also several ways in which they are different, and that may have a bearing on what your organization chooses to work with or buy.
- What is it? The HTC Vive is a PC-based virtual reality headset.
- Why does it matter? It's the biggest competitor to the Facebook-backed Oculus Rift, which has been the most high-profile, high-end VR device.
- Who does this affect? In the business world, companies and organizations are experimenting with VR to different degrees. If your company wants to pursue a high-quality VR experience, the you'll at least be investigating the Vive.
- When is this happening? Pre-orders for the Vive started shipping early April. You can order one, but you'll have to wait in line for a bit, figuratively.
- How do I get it? The Vive is available online, so far.
What is the HTC Vive
The HTC Vive is a virtual reality headset. It uses a computer with strong graphic capabilities to run. The headset is tethered to the computer, but where the Vive differs from the Oculus Rift, is that it's a full-room experience. What that means is, instead of staying seated, users can stand up and walk around a 15x15-foot space thanks to sensors called lighthouses, placed around the room. It also comes with natively-built hand controllers.
The headset is a partnership between Taiwanese company HTC, which makes phones and tablets, and video game maker Valve, which is based in Bellevue, Washington.
- HTC Vive Pre brings front-facing camera to dev kit, taking steps toward mixed reality (TechRepublic)
- Why virtual reality could finally mend its broken promise (TechRepublic)
- Keep up with VR: 15 Twitter accounts to follow (TechRepublic)
- Virtual reality and augmented reality in the workplace: A primer for CIOs (TechRepublic)
- Mini-glossary: Virtual reality terms you should know (TechRepublic)
Why does the Vive matter?
The Vive matters because arguably, it's the best VR experience out there right now. At the moment, it offers two features that the Oculus Rift does not, being hand controllers (the Rift's controllers won't be out until later in the year, and for the moment it uses an XBox One controller) and the full-room experience.
The combination of those two elements make for a more immersive experience where users can interact to a greater degree with their virtual world, rather than watch it passively, or use a controller that doesn't really fit the medium.
The Vive will probably not be the headset a company will lug around to client meetings and trade shows, but for a premium experience that would stay put in an office (or something of that nature), the Vive offers a great deal.
- Hands on with the new HTC Vive Pre: Hardware improvements could keep you in VR longer
- Virtual reality gets new depth with Vivid Vision, an application to correct lazy eye (TechRepublic)
- HTC Vive confirms high-end VR will be costly with $799 price
- From privacy to productivity: A look at how virtual reality could change the way we work (TechRepublic)
Who does this affect?
The Vive affects any organization looking to put together an experience beyond 360 video. If you're merely interested in showing something off, there are other, cheaper options. If you're wanting to truly create an experience involving interaction, you're going to need powerful VR like the Vive.
- 10 things brands should know about virtual reality (TechRepublic)
- YouVisit brings brands and businesses into virtual reality (TechRepublic)
- Marriott Hotels use VR to connect consumers with tech and travel innovation (TechRepublic)
- BetterCloud's 360 video gives applicants and new employees an insider's view (TechRepublic)
- Gallery: 11 apps to help you introduce people to VR (TechRepublic)
When is this happening?
The HTC Vive started shipping in early April 2016.
- HTC cuts price of Vive virtual reality system by $200, could spur more enterprise pilots (ZDNet)
- How Google Cardboard became the flag bearer for VR, and what's next (TechRepublic)
- Virtual reality in 2016: The 10 biggest trends to watch (TechRepublic)
- Oculus VR goggles could change the future. Or not (CNET)
How do I get it?
The Vive is available to order online. You can't walk into a store just yet to buy one. And unfortunately, at this point in time, there's a wait for get the Vive.
- Ricoh Theta S: An easy investment in 360 video for businesses (TechRepublic)
- Hands on with the new HTC Vive Pre: Hardware improvements could keep you in VR longer (TechRepublic)
- Immersive journalism: What virtual reality means for the future of storytelling and empathy-casting (TechRepublic)
- Augmented and virtual reality: An IT leader's introduction (TechRepublic)
- Five tips for creating virtual reality product demos (ZDNet)
- Virtual and augmented reality policy (Tech Pro Research)
Erin Carson has nothing to disclose. She doesn't hold investments in the technology companies she covers.
Erin Carson is a Staff Reporter for CNET and a former Multimedia Editor for TechRepublic.