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HTC Vive Focus 3 gets more accurate hand tracking in new update

HTC has rolled out a firmware update for the latest standalone Vive Focus that greatly improves its hand-tracking capabilities. The company says firmware version 3.0.999.284 significantly improves the feature’s performance, stability and accuracy. HTC’s Vive Focus 3 launched with hand tracking back in July, allowing users to use their hands as controllers. With this software engine upgrade, HTC says the headset will be able to track fast hand movements more easily and recognize pinch-to-zoom gestures more accurately. 

Since the company opened the feature to developers, these improvements would translate to better hand tracking within applications. Developers can integrate the headset’s six current predefined hand gestures into their VR apps, and HTC previously said that additional gestures will be added in the future. 

HTC said in its announcement:

“Being able to navigate virtual environments naturally and intuitively will go a long way towards making VR more accessible to everyone, no matter their familiarity with technology. As we step into the metaverse era, we couldn’t be more excited to bring these quality-of-life improvements to all VIVE Focus 3 customers around the world.”

When the manufacturer launched the Vive Focus 3 back in July, we found it to be the best standalone VR headset yet. It’s not a direct competitor to the Quest 2, however, seeing as it costs $1,300. Unlike the Oculus (now Meta) headset, it targets business users and not ordinary consumers who want to enjoy VR experiences in their own home. 

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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HTC Vive Flow headset images leak days before reported launch

HTC is expected to launch a new VR headset within the week, but you don’t have to wait till then to see what it looks like. A collection of Vive Flow images has made its way online, courtesy of evleaks, before the launch event. According to Protocol, the Vive Flow is a lightweight headset developed for consumers under the internal name “Hue.” The Bluetooth SIG consortium previously published documents describing Hue as a VR AIO (all-in-one) product, which means the device could be a standalone headset that doesn’t need a phone or doesn’t have to be tethered to a PC to work. 

The company reportedly wants to position the Vive Flow primarily as a way to consume media, with some access to gaming. Its chip is less powerful than the Oculus Quest 2’s, Protocol says, but it will have six degrees of freedom tracking. The images leaked online also show more information about the device, including a dual-hinge system to make sure it fits most people, snap-on face cushion, immersive spatial audio, adjustable lenses and active cooling system. After you pair your phone with it via Bluetooth, you can use your mobile device as a VR controller and to stream content to VR using Miracast tech.

In addition, the images show that the Vive Flow will be available for pre-order starting on October 15th, with shipments going out in early November. The headset will set you back US$499, which is $200 more than the Quest 2’s launch price, and you’ll get seven free virtual reality content and a carrying case if you pre-order.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.



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HTC Vive Pro 2 review: An excellent 5K headset for the VR faithful

The HTC Vive Pro 2 is a VR enthusiast’s dream. Its 5K 120Hz display delivers the sharpest desktop VR experience I’ve ever seen. And while its design hasn’t changed from the 2018 model, it’s still very comfortable to wear for extended sessions. But its high price and reliance on old controllers make it a tough sell. And let’s be honest, it’ll take a lot to dethrone the $299 Oculus Quest 2 as the ideal VR headset for mainstream users.

That’s not who HTC Vive is really targeted at, though. Like the standalone Vive Focus 3, this headset is clearly geared towards professionals. But unlike that device, it also has plenty to offer gamers. For them, spending $1,399 on the entire Vive Pro 2 package would be worth it to play Half Life: Alyx in the best quality possible. And if you’ve already invested in the previous Vive Pro or Valve Index, you can nab the new headset on its own for $799.

Vive Pro 2

Pros

  • Excellent and fast 5K display
  • Solid ergonomics
  • Delivers the most immersive desktop VR yet

Cons

  • Requires SteamVR sensors
  • Very expensive
  • Comes with older HTC Vive controllers

Gallery: HTC Vive Pro 2 | 13 Photos

Just be sure to keep track of which Vive Pro is which, because they look practically identical. The Pro 2 features a black and purple color scheme, but its front facia, strap and headphones all look the same as before. The difference becomes clear once you put on the Vive Pro 2, though: Its 5K screen offers 2,448 by 2,448 pixels per eye, a huge leap ahead of the 1,440 by 1,600 pixels from the Pro. Plus the Pro 2’s LCDs have RGB sub-pixels, which helps make everything look sharper still. The screen can also refresh at up to a 120Hz, which is noticeably smoother than the previous 90Hz panel, and I appreciated the wider 120-degree field of view, which makes virtual worlds feel all the more immersive.

These specs may sound familiar, because the Vive Focus 3 also has the same 5K screen, it just happens to have a slower 90Hz refresh rate. But I came away far more impressed with the Pro 2, because it can easily run any PC VR game or app. The Focus 3, meanwhile, has a limited selection of mobile titles, and I was never able to successfully stream higher-end VR from my gaming PC. And, honestly, even if I got that to work, streaming is still a clear step down from running natively.

HTC Vive Pro 2

Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

I revisited old and newer games on the Pro 2, and everything just looked fantastic. I kept getting distracted by the detailed environments in Half Life Alyx — a game that looked great on the Index, but has an extra level of polish with the Pro 2’s resolution bump. It’s sort of like the jump from 1080p video to 4K. You might not notice the difference at first glance, but once you start inspecting the finer details like grass and wood grain you can tell you’re working with more pixels.

Hopping back into Superhot almost felt like I was playing Superhot 2. I could make out plenty more detail in the game’s cyberpunk introductory room. And even though its aesthetic is relatively simple, the game’s enemies, weapons and environments all looked more detailed than I remembered. I also spent more time than I expected gawking at just about everything in the VR version of Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. That game already looked impressive on a normal monitor, but in 5K VR I could appreciate Senua’s intricate character model even more.

HTC Vive Pro 2

Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

As impressive as everything looked, though, I really wish HTC had upgraded the Pro 2’s controllers. Its full kit includes the same enormous wands that came with the original Vive in 2016. They work decently enough, but they’re not nearly as ergonomic as Oculus’s touch controllers, or even the Focus 3’s gamepads. They’re particularly archaic after experiencing Valve’s hand-tracking Steam VR controllers, which are bundled with the Index. Since it’s a SteamVR headset as well, you could always use the Index gamepads with the Pro 2, but that’s another $280 on top of an already expensive headset.

It also would have been nice to see HTC Vive upgrade the Pro 2’s design a bit. It’s still very comfortable, thanks to its plush cushioning along the front and back, as well as its balanced weight distribution. But the company could have taken a few cues from the Valve Index. Near-field speakers would have been a solid upgrade from on-ear headphones, especially since the Pro 2’s cans tended to make my head feel warm. The headset’s displays also generate a decent amount of heat as well, which led to some sweaty play sessions.

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HTC Vive Pro 2 vs. Vive Pro

The 2021 ViveCon event saw HTC announce two new generations of virtual reality (VR) headsets, one of them being an important upgrade to the Vive Pro, the Vive Pro 2. At first glance, these models look fairly similar, and we know that Vive fans out there want to know all the details before they decide whether or not to upgrade. Let’s go over everything and what — in our experience — is the best headset for the money.

Note: HTC is also discontinuing the Vive Pro and no longer sells it directly. You may still be able to find it at a third-party seller if you want to save money, but this piece is more geared toward those wondering if upgrading from a currently-owned Pro to the Pro 2 is worth it.

Design

Luke Larsen/Digital Trends

For the Pro 2, Vive left the design of its headset largely unchanged. Both models still include the same ergonomics, adjustable straps, and cable management options when hooking up the headset to your PC or laptop. While we weren’t convinced that the Pro model offered enough value for its price compared to the original Vive, there’s no doubt that the sturdier, padded design and adjustable, built-in headphones were a noticeable quality-of life-improvement. The Pro 2 benefits from all of that — and both models offer IPD (inter-pupillary distance) physical adjustments between 57mm and 72mm. Both also use USB-C connections.

The only notable difference here is a cosmetic change to the faceplate, which now comes in black by default instead of blue. Not exactly a decision to sway any buyers one way or the other.

Display quality and field of view

Vive Pro Eye CES 2019
Dan Baker/Digital Trends

Inside, the Vive Pro 2 receives a marked upgrade compared to the Vive Pro. The first Pro model comes with 1400 x 1600 resolution per eye display for a combined resolution of 2800 x 1600, with a maximum refresh rate of 90Hz and a 110-degree field of view.

The Pro 2 improves on that with a 2448 x 2448 resolution per eye (4896 x 2448 total), a 120-degree field of view, and a 120Hz refresh rate — all much better specs for experiencing everything a VR game has to offer and the potential to make issues with nausea better thanks to greater overall clarity. The Vive Pro 2 also has some software improvements under the hood, including the 2nd-generation version of SteamVR tracking and improved sensors.

The Vive Pro 2 is undoubtedly the more detailed headset (its screens offer the greatest headset resolution in the consumer space), and they do use LCD panels rather than the OLED ones in the original Vive Pro. That should mean that, though they’re faster and more detailed, they may not offer the same inky blacks and infinite contrast ratio of the original Pro screens.

Note that despite the jump in improvement, HTC did not change the PC recommended specifications for the Vive Pro 2. That means you don’t have to upgrade your computer when buying the Pro 2. At least not right away (more on this below).

Audio

Audio is another aspect that HTC made relatively few changes to when designing the Pro 2. Both the Vive Pro and the Pro 2 come with:

  • Hi-Res certified headset with USB-C analog signal.
  • Hi-Res certified headphones that are removable if necessary.
  • Support for high impedance headphones, which makes it more likely that your gaming headphones will be supported (if you can fit them on the headset).

Using the Vive wireless adapter

If you have been using the wireless adapter on your Vive Pro or are interested in the wireless experience, you may be wondering how it works on the Vive Pro 2.

The current model of the Vive wireless adapter will function with the Vive Pro 2 but with limited capabilities, so you won’t be able to enjoy the fully upgraded specs of the new model. The adapter will limit you to a 1224 x 1224 resolution per eye on the Pro 2 and a 90Hz refresh rate, which is even lower than the wired Vive Pro specs. Vive has reported that it is working on a wireless firmware upgrade to reach a 1632 x 1632 resolution, but no timeline has been given for the release of a new adapter or firmware update thus far.

If you are interested in Vive’s wireless adapter, it can handle performance quite well but also requires significant processing power to avoid degradation problems. We suggest bumping up your specs for wireless compared to the baseline requirements we discuss below, preferably to a recent generation Intel Core i7/i9 or an AMD Ryzen 7/9 processor.

Performance and requirements

As we mentioned, HTC has left the PC requirements for the Vive Pro 2 largely untouched, with some small changes. Here are the details behind what you’ll need:

Processor: An Intel Core i5-4590 or AMD Ryzen 1500 equivalent or greater.

Graphics: The basic GPU recommendation is the Nvidia GeForce GTZ 1060 or the AMD Radeon RX 480. However, here HTC makes a new distinction: If you want to use Full Resolution mode for getting the resolution as high as possible for the games that support it, you will need at least a GeForce RTX 20 Series or an AMD Radeon 5000, which include this support.

Memory: 8 GB RAM or more

Video out: Both models require at least DisplayPort 1.2. But this is another spot where HTC advises those interested in the Full Resolution mode to make sure they are using at least DisplayPort 1.4.

USB ports: USB-C 3.0 or newer

Operating system: Windows 10

Pricing

The real pricing question here concerns the Vive Pro 2: Nominally, the Pro 2 has an MSRP that’s $200 higher than the Pro at $799 and is available for preorder right now. If you want to upgrade from your current Pro model, you’ll have to pay significantly more to do it compared to the cost of your original headset.

The original Vive Pro headset is currently being treated like a limited edition now that it’s no longer being made, so instead of the $599 MSRP, it’s now selling for anywhere from $700 to $1,200 depending on the supplier — not exactly a viable alternative for those who are looking for a brand new HTC headset.

Conclusion: The Vive Pro 2 is a superior — but expensive — headset

The Pro 2 is a clear upgrade when it comes to performance: The resolution, refresh rate, and field of view all received significant upgrades that benefit the latest VR games, especially if you have the specs to match. If this is your first VR headset, or you are moving to HTC from a different brand, we recommend that you choose the Vive Pro 2.

If you have the previous Vive Pro and are wondering about an upgrade, the choice is more difficult. Paying around $700 for a headset, plus accessories, may be a lot to ask for an upgrade that has better display specs but doesn’t change the design or audio quality. Ultimately, it’s about what’s most important to you and your budget.

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Computing

Everything HTC Announced ViveCon 2021: Vive Pro 2, Focus 3

HTC took to its ViveCon virtual reality conference to announce two new VR headsets that cater to professional and enterprise needs. From the stand-alone Vive Focus 3 to the PC-based HTC Vive Pro 2, HTC VR owners will benefit from some big upgrades this year.

The company cited PwC’s research, which predicts that VR and AR will add more than $1.4 trillion to the global economy by 2030 in highlighting the importance of virtual reality. At stake is the creation of hundreds of thousands of new jobs across every sector and industry, HTC said.

To prepare businesses for the VR revolution, both new HTC Vive headsets have been refreshed to feature a wider 120-degree field of view (FOV) for a more natural and immersive look into the virtual world, enhanced refresh rates, a dual element lens design, and a total display resolution of 5K. The company claimed that both headsets are designed to be comfortable to wear, which is important for long sessions in VR.

“The set of solutions HTC Vive is going to introduce today are made from the ground up for businesses, enterprises, and professionals,” HTC executives stated during the company’s keynote presentation. “We honed in on some areas to deliver the best results. The easiest execution, and the fastest and most compliant deployment.”

The company claimed that it engaged with users and listened to feedback, and the HTC Focus 3 and HTC Vive Pro 2 were created in response.

HTC Vive Focus 3

HTC made some big changes to make stand-alone virtual reality experiences more immersive and natural, and the company spent a considerable amount of the Focus 3’s introduction talking about the headset’s screen.

New this year is a dual-2.5K display that results in an overall combined resolution of 5K. HTC claimed this is a 260% boost from the prior generation all-in-one headset. The company also stated that the subpixels have also been increased, and now there are 400% more subpixels across the entire display.

“But what are the benefits of higher resolution?,” HTC Americas’ Dan O’Brien asked rhetorically. “Such a rich display enables more natural interactions: No more moving closer to make more details visible, and that allows everything to be designed in a more realistic way. No longer having to worry about accounting for loss of fidelity. So now the amazing health care professionals doing their training can see the writing on the instruments and tools just by glancing instead of having to physically move closer.”

The Vive Focus 3 also widens the field-of-view to 120 degrees this year and bumps the refresh rate to 90Hz, up from 60Hz. O’Brien claimed that this level is on par with many PC-based virtual reality headsets.

Given that the Focus 3 is intended as a stand-alone solution, HTC designed the battery to be easily replaceable, and the rear-mounted battery serves as a counterweight for added comfort rather than forcing the VR’s screen to your face. The battery can also be quickly recharged, reaching 50% in just 30 minutes, HTC claimed.

“Our research shows, on average, people are using VR, more often and for longer sessions,” O’Brien said. “So the Focus 3 is designed to be durable and lightweight. It has a magnesium alloy frame that’s 20% lighter and 500% stronger than traditional plastic. The Focus 3 was built for comfort, featuring a new strap designed to distribute weight, and the intelligently designed custom battery pack that curves at the back of the head, providing a natural counterweight.”

Other features include an adjustable IPD to adjust the distance between the screens to match your eyes, and life-like open-back audio, noise-canceling microphones, and an A.I.-powered inside-out tracking algorithm that is designed to work with the headset’s four high field of view cameras.

“Privacy is at the forefront with all tracking data stored in an encrypted partition on the headset, using a method where it’s practically impossible to reverse engineer,” HTC claimed.

Powering the Vive Focus 3 is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR chipset, which comes with 8GB of RAM. The headset is kept cool with a heat pipe and a single fan.

HTC Vive Pro 2

For users who need more power than a stand-alone solution, HTC also introduced its updated Vive Pro 2. Like the stand-alone Focus 3, the Vive Pro 2 features a wide 120-degree field of view, a 5K combined resolution display, and a focus on comfort and ergonomics.

What sets the Vive Focus Pro 2 apart — other than it requires powerful PC-based graphics — is that it supports a faster 120Hz refresh rate compared to the Focus 3’s 90Hz.

“Vive Pro 2 has smooth and sharp visuals with stunning clarity,” HTC execs claimed during the keynote presentation. “It has dual 2.5k screens, and the new dual-lens configuration seen on the Focus 3.”

The result is a 260% bump in resolution and an increase of 400% to the sub-pixel count.

“You can see an amazing amount of detail with Vive Pro 2 to complement the crisp and sharp screen.,” HTC said. And to complement the immersive visuals will be 3D spatial audio support with the integrated headphones.

To get to this level of picture clarity, HTC worked with Nvidia and AMD, and the Pro 2 is the first headset to leverage the Display Stream Compression technology, which is a lossless way of squeezing all of the visual data while maintaining backward compatibility with DisplayPort 1.2, HTC executives said.

“That means if your PC was compatible with the original Vive Pro, it’s also compatible with Vive Pro 2,” HTC stated. “If your graphics card doesn’t support display stream compression, you can still benefit from the panel’s new massively reduced screen door effects. All of this means more details and complex models, or remain sharp and clear, even as you’re moving.”

Like the original Vive Pro, comfort is still a major part of the headset’s design, with padded gaskets that work with eyeglasses, adjustable IPD, and more.

The company also unveiled a new Vive Facial Tracker to bring empathy into the virtual world.

“One of the reasons why VR is so good for social interactions is because of how empathetic it is,” HTC said. “VR allows you to focus and interact together in a more natural way. helping to bring VR to life is Vive Facial Tracker, which has been a big hit since we launched it just a few weeks ago. Capturing 38 different blend shapes across the face, it allows you to create expressive characters and convey those all-important nonverbal cues like the subtleties of the smile.”

HTC said that the Vive Pro 2 is backward compatible with existing trackers and the ecosystem of hardware, so you can mix and match your setup.

The HTC Vive Pro 2 will go on sale on June 3, and pre-orders start today. The Focus 3 will go on sale on June 24. HTC did not announce pricing for either headset during its keynote presentation.

Vive Software solutions for businesses

HTC announced a number of solutions for businesses, but the chief software bundle for enterprises shifting to remote work is that the Vive Sync application is now out of beta. Vive Sync allows teams and organizations to have shared experiences — like meetings and birthday parties — through virtual reality, and the app is now part of the Vive XR Suite.

The company also announced the Vive Business App Store to help users find curated apps, and it is also building an ISV program to help bring more VR tops to the store. To date, more than 50 ISV partners have signed on.

“It is also thanks to the Vive ISV program that we can offer businesses easy access to trusted developer partners for their bespoke VR needs,” HTC stated. “The ISV program has been a priority for us in the development of Vive Business.”

For enterprises managing a fleet of Vive headsets, HTC also announced its Vive Business Device Management system, which works like an MDM system. Rather than have users purchase individual apps, IT managers can manage licenses and seats with the Business Device Management system.

“It’s an entire enterprise VR network at your fingertips,” HTC executives stated. “You can manage licenses, send proprietary or purchase content to devices, assign programs by individual or by group. You can also do batch configuration for setting up new devices efficiently manage software updates securely and get analytics, of how your devices and accessories are performing.”

HTC Vive Focus 3 will come with six months of access to the Business Device Management system and Vive Sync Enterprise for free.

The company also announced Vive Business Training, a tool that can be managed from a tablet and is designed for group training. The trainer will have access to what each person in the group is seeing on their headsets through different windows on the tablet, and highlight an item or move a user through a section.

HTC calls this “the total solution of software and services for an organization, big or small, to get into virtual reality in a scalable, compliant, and secure way.”

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Computing

How to Watch HTC ViveCon 2021 Live Stream: New VR Headsets Expected

HTC has been teasing that multiple new virtual reality headsets could be launching at ViveCon, the company’s VR conference, this year. Slated to take place virtually this year on May 11, HTC had announced its plan to “[unveil] game-changing VR headsets, software, and platforms to take your experience to another level” at the show. Depending on what’s announced, these new VR headsets sound like they could replace a number of options that are currently considered the best VR headsets you can buy.

While ViveCon is expected to be an enterprise-specific conference this year, those following the augmented, virtual, and mixed reality market could see how HTC is advancing the segment with its latest wares and platform to foster more innovation in the VR space.

How to watch ViveCon 2021 live stream

HTC Vive Cosmos
Chuong Nguyen/Digital Trends

HTC is billing ViveCon as “the most important VR event of the year.” And like most events and announcements that have taken place recently amid the global pandemic, ViveCon will be a virtual, rather than an in-person event. If you’re interested in the event, you can register for a free spot for the conference on HTC’s dedicated portal, and to date, some 44,000 fans have registered to attend.

Those interested should register now, as HTC intends to close down its free registration once ViveCon commences on May 11.

The virtual reality conference will be broken up into two days. The keynote, likely to be the most important event for most people, will take place at 9 a.m. PT/12 p.m. ET on Tuesday, May 11. HTC is widely expected to announce at least two new enterprise-centric virtual reality headsets during its keynote presentations. The keynote will be livestreamed, and attendees should check the HTC portal for a link to the stream.

If you can’t view the ViveCon keynote, be sure to follow Digital Trends, as we’ll be reporting all the latest news and announcements coming from HTC.

Developers will want to stick around for the second day of ViveCon on May 12, where the company will feature sessions and panels dedicated to virtual reality. HTC has speakers dedicated to remote work through VR, a salient topic given that the pandemic has forced many companies to a work-from-home policy, as well as topics in health care.

What to expect at ViveCon

vive cosmos elite

HTC is widely expected to announce two new virtual reality headsets for enterprise use at ViveCon. HTC could use ViveCon as a platform to launch the HTC Vive Pro 2, a successor to the original HTC Vive Pro, and the Vive Focus 3 Business Edition.

The main difference between the two headsets is that while the HTC Vive Pro 2 is expected to be a PC-based virtual reality experience, the HTC Vive Focus 3 Business Edition is expected to be a stand-alone solution that doesn’t require the wearer to be tethered to a computer.

HTC’s teaser suggests that these headsets will be “game-changing,” so it will be interesting to see what features and specifications will be announced. Prior to ViveCon, HTC had teased a ViveAir headset that features a sportier design with a lightweight, breathable knit fabric cover, and promotional materials depicted a woman donning the headset in workout clothes lifting weights.

The headset, if adopted for consumer use, could feature training videos and guided workouts, but more recently HTC had confirmed that it has no intention of commercializing the Vive Air. Rather, the Vive Air is designed as a concept headset, with the company stating it hopes to incorporate elements from the design into other products in the future.

Ahead of ViveCon, Alzashop’s leaked listing for both headsets suggests that the Vive Pro 2 could be priced at $1,012, while the Vive Focus 3 Business Edition could come in at $1,770, according to UploadVR.

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Tech News

HTC teams with iFixit to make repairing VIVE VR headsets easier

HTC VIVE has announced that it is teaming up with iFixit to make replacement components for its VR headsets available to consumers. Many may be familiar with iFixit. It’s a place that buys new gadgets and then rips them apart to make guides on repairing devices should they need repairs in the future. HTC VIVE has announced that iFixit will offer official VR system parts and accessories to allow customers to extend the life of their devices once the warranty expires.

VIVE says the availability of replacement parts will save time and costs associated with hardware repairs and help eliminate downtime for users. HTC said that it has heard from customers who love their original VIVE headsets and are still using them years after launch, but those users complain they occasionally need parts. The new partnership with iFixit is intended to meet the demands of long-time customers that want to repair and continue using their headsets when HTC no longer offers parts directly.

HTC teaming up with iFixit is a big deal as typically major electronics manufacturers don’t want iFixit to show repair guides or offer replacement components for their devices. iFixit says that it is “thrilled” to be able to help gamers fix their hardware, allowing them to continue enjoying cyberspace and virtual reality.

Customers in North America will be able to order specific replacement parts for the VIVE CE, VIVE Pro, VIVE Wireless Adapter, VIVE Tracker, and other peripherals like wall mounts and cables. HTC also notes that iFixit will offer repair guides for the headsets and original VIVE controllers. The complete list of available parts doesn’t appear to include any microchips but has a number of screws, straps, and available cables. The full list of parts can be seen here.

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The Most Common HTC Vive Problems, and How to Fix Them

Virtual reality (VC) headsets are all the rage these days. They offer a more immersive experience to the gaming world and the chance to move around — if everything’s working properly. HTC’s latest Vive headsets, including the impressive Cosmos and Cosmos Elite models, are more stable than ever, but sometimes things can still go wrong. 

From “headset not found” errors to pairing issues, we’ll cover common HTC Vive problems users face. Then, we’ll suggest possible fixes and provide step-by-step instructions on how to address the issues you might encounter with your HTC Vive.

Issues presented with an error code

(Error 108) Headset not found

There are a couple of ways this error can manifest, either as an error message (error 108) or blinking red light on the headset. This is usually the result of either a USB or a driver issue.

Possible fixes:

  • First and foremost, make sure the headset is plugged in correctly. If in doubt, remove everything and plug it back in again.
  • The power, USB, and HDMI cables from the headset should be plugged into the correct slots on the link box; from there, the link box’s USB and HDMI should be plugged into the PC, and the power cord plugged into a power outlet.
  • Once properly plugged in, the LED on the headset should be green, indicating that it’s ready for use.
  • If everything is plugged in but the headset is not turning on, try a different outlet.

Once you’ve done that, if the issue still persists, there are a number of other things to try:

Reboot the headset

Step 1: In SteamVR, right-click on the headset icon and select Reboot Vive Headset.

Step 2: Wait for the reboot to complete.

Power cycle the link box

Step 1: Shut down SteamVR.

Step 2: Unplug the power and USB cord from the PC side of the link box (meaning NOT the orange side of the link box).

Step 3: After a few minutes, plug the power and USB cord back into the Link Box. If you see a notification in the taskbar that a driver is installing, wait for it to finish.

Step 4: Relaunch SteamVR. Keep in mind that you may need to repeat this process more than once in order for the error to stop appearing.

Restart your computer

Step 1: Quit SteamVR and reboot your computer.

Use a different USB port

Sometimes, plugging into USB 3.0 and 3.1 ports can cause errors. In that case, try using a USB 2.0 port instead. If there is a USB port already in use and working — say, one that your keyboard or mouse is plugged into — try moving the Vive connection to it. If, after trying all possible USB ports, you still do not have a connection, try resetting your USB devices using the following steps.

Step 1: Unplug the link cables from your PC.

Step 2: Navigate to SteamVR > Settings > General, and make sure the Developer Settings box is checked.

Step 3: Click Reset in the sidebar.

Step 4: Double-check to see if the link box’s USB cable is unplugged from the PC. Click Remove all SteamVR Devices and click Yes when prompted.

Step 5: Quit SteamVR, plug the link box back into your PC, and re-launch SteamVR.

If you’ve attempted every fix detailed above, it may be that your USB chipset is causing the issue. Check with Steam’s support page for further explanation of compatible USB chipsets.

Chuong Nguyen/Digital Trends

(Error 113) Path registry not writable

This is usually due to a lack of proper installation permissions. You’ll need to change your permissions in Windows.

Change permissions

Step 1: Navigate to the folder you want to change permissions for.

Step 2: Right-click it and select Properties.

Step 3: Click on the Security tab.

Step 4: Check the names listed in the Group of usernames box. If the account you’re using does not appear, click Add and type the name of the user you wish to add. Skip this step if the username already shows up.

Step 5: To change permissions, click the Allow or Deny check box in the Permissions for User or Group box. For the purposes of solving error 113 with the Vive, you’ll want to allow access.

(Error 200) Driver failed

This error message indicates that the OpenVR driver failed. If you added a file or folder to the SteamVR driver directory, removing it should fix the problem. If not, you may not have the proper permission to write to the user directory.

Change permissions

Step 1: Right-click in Windows Explorer and select the folder you wish to edit permissions for.

Step 2: Click Properties.

Step 3: Click on the Security tab.

Step 4: Check the names listed in the Group or usernames box. If the account you’re using does not appear, click Add and type the name of the user you wish to add. Skip this step if the username already shows up.

Step 5: To change permissions, click the Allow or Deny checkbox in the Permissions for User or Group box. For the purposes of solving error 200 with the Vive, you’ll want to allow access.

Error 109/400

If you see this code, it’s usually because your headset isn’t connecting your GPU correctly. Double check to make sure the link box and your primary display are connected to the same GPU in your setup. If you have to use a laptop, make sure the connection is using a discrete GPU. Sometimes switching to “prefer maximum performance” or similar settings will force the computer to make the right switch.

(Error 206) Driver not calibrated

Error 206 means that SteamVR was unable to load the calibration for your headset. To solve the issue, you will need to reset your headset to force the drivers to reinstall.

Reinstall headset drivers

Step 1: Unplug the headset.

Step 2: In SteamVR, go to Settings > Reset, and click Remove all SteamVR devices. Wait a moment.

Step 3: Plug your headset back in and wait for the drivers to install.

Step 4: If repeated attempts do not solve the issue, Valve’s support website indicates you may have a faulty unit, and encourages users to contact HTC through the company’s website.

(Error 207) Driver calibration invalid

This error is similar to error 206, in that it indicates a failure of the headset calibration to be loaded by SteamVR. As such, the steps to solve the issue are the same.

Reinstall headset drivers

Step 1: Unplug the headset.

Step 2: In SteamVR, go to Settings > Reset, and click Remove all SteamVR devices. Wait a moment.

Step 3: Plug your headset back in and wait for the drivers to install.

If repeated attempts do not solve the issue, Valve’s support website indicates you may have a faulty unit, and encourages users to contact HTC through the company’s website.

(Error 208) HMD display not found/(Error 208) HMD found over USB, but monitor not found

If you encounter error 208 with the message “HMD display not found” or “HMD found over USB, but monitor not found,” try these potential fixes.

  • Update your graphics card drivers.
  • Double-check the connections for all cables — those from the headset to the link box and the link box to the PC and power outlet alike. The power cord especially can come loose after heavy use. This can be checked by taking off the removable cable panel on the MHD by pushing it forward.
  • Make sure the orange-tipped cords from the headset are plugged into the orange ports on the link box.

(Error 215) GPU connection failed

This usually happens when your graphics card has an important update that hasn’t been installed yet. Make sure your GPU is fully updated. If you have multiple GPUs, it’s a good idea to disable or remove all but the one you are using for Vive if this problem keeps recurring. Sometimes DisplayPort adapters can also cause this issue and need to be removed to fix it.

(Error 301) Connect failed

This indicates that vrserver.exe failed to start or connect. Sometimes, this is caused by multiple instances of the program running at the same time.

Kill VRServer processes

Step 1: Quit SteamVR.

Step 2: Type Task manager in the Windows search bar, and open the Task Manager.

Step 3: Locate any instances of vrserver.exe that may be running and quit the process.

Step 4: Run SteamVR.

If this doesn’t solve the issue, Valve’s support page instructs users to send in a system report as detailed in the introduction to this article.

HTC Vive Pro review
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

(Error 302) Init failed

This error means that vrserver.exe is experiencing issues starting up.

  • Usually, this can be fixed by simply rebooting your computer and trying again.
  • If this doesn’t solve the issue, Valve’s support page instructs users to send in a system report as detailed in the introduction to this article.

(1101 through 1112) USB error

All error messages between 1101 and 1112 are related to USB failures. Reinstalling headset USB drivers can do the trick.

Reinstall headset drivers

Step 1: Unplug your headset/linkbox, controllers, and any other VR devices you have plugged into your PC.

Step 2: In SteamVR, go to Settings > Reset, and click Remove all SteamVR USB Devices.

Step 3: Click Yes.

Step 4: Quit SteamVR.

Step 5: Reconnect your headset, this time using a different USB port, and wait for drivers to install.

Step 6: Restart SteamVR.

If this doesn’t solve the issue, Valve’s support page instructs users to send in a system report as detailed in the introduction to this article.

Vive Cosmos problems

HTC Vive Cosmos
Chuong Nguyen/Digital Trends

Inside-out tracking keeps messing up

The inside-out tracking used in the Cosmos requires no setup, but some players have found that the tracking seems to skip a lot or develop inaccuracies. The key is probably somewhere in the environment itself. If you are using a Cosmos in a dim room, try turning on brighter overhead lights. If there are mirrors or reflective surfaces around, try removing them and covering windows to improve the experience. Also, completely blank walls can actually confuse the headset’s data collection, so having a few basic objects (outside of tripping range) may even be a good idea.

Can’t play an older title on a Cosmos headset

Not all Vive games work with Cosmos models, and sometimes bugs prevent them from working properly. HTC reports that around 90% of Viveport’s most popular titles are compatible, but results may vary based on what you like to play. Keep checking for updates to see if bugs are fixed or more compatibility is added.

Controller batteries keep dying

Cosmos controllers last between four and eight hours. That’s a lot of variance, based on how often the controller sensors have to recalibrate, lighting, and the content you are playing. For now, the best idea is to keep a few AA batteries around in case the controllers start dying unexpectedly. HTC would like to offer built-in, rechargeable batteries at some time in the future, but that hasn’t happened yet.

Audio keeps breaking up or dying out

Cosmos models use built-in headphones that rely on the USB 3.0 connection. If the headphones are having problems, there’s probably an issue with that connection: Make sure you are using an up-to-date USB 3.0 port and that connections are secure. Check for cable damage to make sure nothing has gone wrong — the motion-oriented VR experience can be tougher on USB cables than many other uses.

Controller and base station problems

Controller not connected

If you find that your controller isn’t recognized by SteamVR, the LED color should give you a clue about what to do.

If blue

When the controller LED is solid blue, it means that the controller is not connecting to the PC successfully. You will need to re-pair your controllers. To do so, navigate to SteamVR > Settings > Devices > Pair Controller.

If red

If the controller’s LED is solid red and the controller is unresponsive, try resetting your controller.

Step 1: Simultaneously press and hold the trigger, menu button, trackpad button, and grip buttons.

Step 2: Keeping these buttons held, plug your controller into your PC via Micro USB.

Step 3: After plugging it in, wait five seconds and then release the buttons. Your PC will appear to find a new storage device. Ignore this prompt and unplug the controller.

Step 4: After this, the controller will be reset, and should now be working properly.

If light is not on at all

If the LED is displaying no color, that means the controller is not turned on. Press the system button to turn on the controller. If the controller does not turn on, then your controller needs to be charged. Plug your controllers into an outlet via the Micro USB and power adapter. While the controllers are plugged in and charging, the LED will display different colors:

  • Orange — the controller is charging.
  • Green — fully charged, controller turned on.
  • White — fully charged, controller turned off.

Controller Trackpad is twitchy or oversensitive.

If your controller is a bit squirrely or difficult to use, it likely needs to be calibrated or the firmware needs to be updated.

Step 1: In SteamVR, navigate to SteamVR > Devices > Update Firmware.

Step 2: Turn off the controller by holding down the System button until the LED turns off.

Step 3: With the controller turned off, press and hold the trigger and grip button.

Step 4: While continuing to hold the trigger and grip button, press the system button. The controller should turn back on. When it does, it will make a different noise than the usual power-on noise.

One or both Base Station LEDs won’t change from blue

This generally means that the Vive base station is having difficulty stabilizing. Vibrations or movement can cause this error to occur.

  • Make sure the bases are securely mounted. If stuck to the wall, tighten all screws and the retaining nut. If on tripods, make sure that movements on the floor aren’t sending vibrations through the frame.

The Base Stations won’t leave standby mode (LEDs dim green)

If your Vive Lighthouse base stations won’t wake up from standby, try this:

  • Unplug the base stations and then plug them back in again.
HTC Vive Pro review
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Base Station LEDs are solid or blinking purple

This means the base stations are having difficulty seeing one another.

  • Try moving anything that may be blocking the Vive base stations. Including yourself. Follow any on-screen instructions from Steam VR if necessary.
  • Make sure that the base stations are tilted at an angle that lets them see each other and the play space.

The base station LED is off

If the LED on the Vive base station is not lit up, that means the base station is not receiving power.

  • Make sure the power cord is plugged in.
  • If the base station is plugged into an outlet but not powering on, try a different outlet.

Base station optical sync issues

Issues can occur with your base station while trying to sync. Here are some tips to make sure they are set up properly for optical sync.

  • Double-check your base station firmware is up to date. Go to SteamVR > Devices > Update Firmware.
  • Be sure the path between base stations isn’t blocked, so they can see one another.
  • Don’t set the stations too far apart. They need to be within 16 feet of one another.
  • Be sure the base stations are set to the proper modes. Press the mode button on the backs of the stations so that one station is set to “b” and the other “c.”
  • Consider mounting the base stations higher up, to make sure that your movements in the place space aren’t interrupting their view.

If all the above criteria are met, the base station LED should turn solid green when synced. If it still doesn’t, try using the Sync Cable.

Step 1: Packaged with the Vive box is a long, optional cable. Plug this cable into the base stations.

Step 2: Push the mode buttons on the backs of the stations until one station displays “a” and the other “b.”

Step 3: If done correctly, the base station LEDs should now be solid green.

Software and headphone problems

Device icon flashing green in Steam VR

This means that one or more of your devices are not tracking properly (or at all). It should be easy to rectify the problem.

  • All devices need to be in view of at least one base station. If they are not, adjust your setup so all devices can be seen.
  • Be sure the base station is fully powered on and synced. The base station LEDs will be green if everything is on and working correctly.
  • Make sure controllers are on and charged. The LEDs should be green.
  • Make sure the headset is correctly plugged in. The LED should be green.
  • Check all the firmware is up to date. If not, consider upgrading it. Follow the on-screen instructions to do so.

Corrupt or missing SteamVR files

An incomplete installation may cause corrupt or missing files. You need to make sure your installation is fully intact.

Step 1: Exit SteamVR.

Step 2: Go to the Steam desktop client.

Step 3: Navigate to Library > Tools, and right-click on SteamVR. Select Properties.

Step 4: Open the Local Files tab.

Step 5: Select Verify Integrity of Tool Cache.

No sound when using the Vive headphone port

If you’re not getting any sound through your headphones, headset, or speakers then you’re not alone. There are lots of things you can try to get your Vive audio working.

  • Be sure SteamVR is still open and running.
  • Check the headphones are definitely plugged in. If using the Deluxe Audio Headstrap, make sure the headphones connect to the headphone extension cable, and that that connects into the headset itself.
  • The headset may be in standby. Move it to make sure it wakes up.
  • In steam VR, right-click and select Settings > Audio. From Mirror audio to device drop-down menu, select your desired device.
  • Be sure the Vive is receiving audio from Steam VR. In Steam VR, right-click, select Settings > Audio. In the Set Playback Device drop-down box, choose HTC-VIVE.
  • If you are using speakers, right-click in SteamVR and select Settings > Audio. In the Set Playback Device drop-down box, choose Speakers or USB-Audio Device.
  • Windows may not be sending audio to the Vive headset. Right-click on the Volume icon in the Windows taskbar, then click Playback devices. Select HTC-VIVE-0 and set it as the default device. If the Vive does not appear from this list, try selecting Show Disabled Devices and Show Disconnected Devices.
  • Make sure the Vive’s volume slider in the Windows Volume Mixer is up. Right-click the Volume icon in the Windows task tray and click Open Volume Mixer. Locate the slider for HTC-VIVE-0 and set its volume to 50% or so.
  • Check the app or games volume. Right-click the Volume icon in the Windows task tray and open volume mixer. Find the game or program you are running, and make sure its volume is set to at least 50% or so.

No sound when using USB headphones with the Vive’s extra USB port

If you find there’s no sound coming through your headphones and you’re plugged into the extra USB port, here’s what to do:

  • Be sure the Vive is receiving audio from Steam VR. In Steam VR, right-click and select Settings > Audio. In the Set Playback Device drop-down box, select HTC-VIVE.
  • Windows may not be sending audio to the Vive headset. Right-click the Volume icon in the Windows task tray and select Playback devices. Select HTC-VIVE-0 and set it as the default device. If the Vive does not appear from this list, try selecting Show Disabled Devices and Show Disconnected Devices.

Sound stops playing while plugged into the Vive headphone jack

A few people have had trouble with the sound cutting off while plugged into the Vive headphone jack. There are a few things worth checking to bring it back.

  • Be sure SteamVR is still open and running.
  • The headset may be in standby mode. Move it to make sure it wakes up.
  • To maintain audio playback, even while the headset is asleep, right-click the Volume icon in the Windows task tray and then select Playback devices. Select 2-USB Audio Device, and set it as the default device. If the Vive does not appear from this list, try selecting Show Disabled Devices and Show Disconnected Devices.
  • If the above methods do not solve the issue, try using a USB headset in conjunction with the Vive’s extra USB port.

Static electricity when using earbuds

If you get a surprise shock from your Vive while using earbuds it might just be static. This normally isn’t indicative of an issue, as a buildup of static or minor static shock does not necessarily mean your Vive is malfunctioning and isn’t cause for worry. It can, however, be annoying.

  • Valve notes on its support page that this usually occurs in much the same way static shock builds from something like, say, socks on carpet or a balloon rubbing on hair.
  • Try using anti-static sprays and lotions, and wear clothing made of natural fibers to reduce the buildup of static electricity.
  • Dry environments are particularly susceptible to this, but using a humidifier should be sufficient enough to add moisture to the air and prevent any static buildup.

Vive shows as your computer’s main monitor after an upgrade

A lot of people have found that, after upgrading to Windows 10, Vive shows as the computer’s main monitor – not exactly an ideal situation. Fortunately, it’s very easy to fix. Just disconnect your headset for the link box, and reboot your computer. When your computer is finished rebooting, reconnect your headset cable to the link box. Everything should be fine now!

Your Vive keeps skipping frames no matter what you try

If this is happening with everything you try, it’s probably because of how your computer is controlling the display. There are a lot of settings that can cause this, but one of the most common is night mode. Check your computer and make sure no night mode settings are enabled. Also make sure you aren’t running any other types of software that deliberately change how your computer’s display looks.

Vive Wireless Adapter problems

The HTC Vive Wireless Adapter is one of the best upgrades you can make to your VR experience for room-scale play, but the experience isn’t error-free.

No power to the headset

If you find that your headset doesn’t work or power on at all with the Vive wireless installed, try these fixes.

  • Make sure that the battery is plugged into the Vive Wireless adapter via the USB cable.
  • Make sure the Vive Wireless adapter is plugged into the Vive headset with all three cables.
  • Make sure the battery is charged. Press the button on it to check.
  • Press the button on the battery, followed by the button on the Vive Wireless Adapter to turn them both on.

If you have done all of the above, try running the Vive Wireless connection software again, then launch SteamVR.

Stuck initializing

If you find that the Vive Wireless connection application gets stuck on “Initializing,” or any of its other intermediary steps, there are some things you can try that should fix it.

  • Make sure that you aren’t over-extending the wireless transmitter/receiver. The coaxial cable for the wireless transmitter/receiver can be extended by a further 2M, but beyond that, you are likely to face problems. It’s also worth making sure that it’s a high-quality coaxial cable that you’re using.
  • Make sure that the Vive Wireless Adapter is within visual range of the wireless transmitter/receiver. 30ft is about the maximum range they should be apart.
  • Try changing the PCI-Express card to a different PCIe slot.

If none of that works, try the following:

Step 1: Search for Device Manager in the Windows search box and select the corresponding result.

Step 2: Find the Intel Wireless Gigabit VR Adapters and click the arrow next to it. Right-click the Intel Wireless Gigabit W11100 VR Device and select Disable.

Step 3: Now, right click on Intel Wireless Gigabit W11100 VR Device and select the “Enable” option.

After that, you can try to run the Vive Wireless application again. If everything goes according to plan, it should now find your headset.

Grey screen during play

The last thing you want in the middle of a game is a connection issue interrupting gameplay. While you can write off intermittent connection problems to chance, constant connection losses aren’t so easy to ignore. If you experience consistent connection issues, you will have to investigate and experiment to find a solution.

  • Check the Vive Wireless Adapter to make sure it’s not too hot. Excessive temperatures can cause it to shut down, pausing your VR experience until it reaches stable temperatures again. You maintain cool temperatures by adjusting your thermostat to a lower temperature, pointing a portable fan directly on the adapter, or strategically planning breaks in usage.
  • Give your batteries a full charge. Dwindling batteries in the Vive can cause your games to suffer, even if the batteries aren’t empty yet.
  • Remove any objects that block your line of sight between the transmitter, receiver, and headset.

If anything, VR headsets are becoming even more popular, regardless of the frustration that comes with “headset not found” and pairing issues. We are confident that this article provides you with thorough guidelines to assess and resolve any future problems you may have with HTC Vive.

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