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The HTC Vive is a virtual reality headset developed by HTC and Valve Corporation. The headset uses "room scale" tracking technology, allowing the user to move in 3D space and use motion-tracked handheld controllers to interact with the environment.[6]

HTC Vive
Vive pre.jpeg
An HTC Vive head-mounted display with a camera near the bottom rim; two wireless handheld controllers; and two 'Lighthouse' basestations
TypeVirtual reality headset for room scale virtual reality
Release date5 April 2016
ManufacturerHTC, with technology by Valve Corporation
Display technologyPenTile[1] OLED
Resolution2160×1200 (1080×1200 per eye)[2]
Refresh rate90 Hz[2]
Field of view (Nominal)About 110 degrees[3]
Tracking systemLighthouse (2 base stations emitting pulsed IR lasers)
Weight470 grams (previously 555 grams)
Platform/operating systemSteamVR running on Microsoft Windows in addition to Linux support, with macOS support coming[4]
ConnectionHDMI 1.4 or DisplayPort 1.2 and 1× USB 3.0
Introductory priceUS$499.99/£394.87
  • 3.5 mm audio jack for headphones
  • Built-in microphone
  • Headphones will be sold separately from June 2017[5]
Controller inputSteamVR wireless motion tracked controllers
CameraFront-facing camera - enabling users to view the external world and a key component of the device’s 'chaperone' safety system.

The HTC Vive was unveiled during HTC's Mobile World Congress keynote in March 2015. Development kits were sent out in August and September 2015[citation needed], and the first Consumer version of the device was released on June 7th, 2016[7].



Prototypes of a Valve-produced virtual reality system were demonstrated during 2014. On 23 February 2015, Valve announced SteamVR and that it would demonstrate a "SteamVR hardware system" at the 2015 Game Developers Conference.[8][9][10] HTC officially unveiled its device, Vive, during its Mobile World Congress keynote on 1 March 2015.[6] Preorders started on 29 February 2016 at 10:00 a.m. EST.[11] Valve and HTC have since announced that the headset will be free for selected developers.[12]

At Consumer Electronics Show 2016, HTC and Valve unveiled a near-final hardware revision of the device, known as HTC Vive Pre.[13]


During his Immersed 2015 keynote, Phil Chen, Chief Content Officer for HTC and founder of the HTC Vive, explained that he "stumbled upon VR" and later, HTC met Valve, which turned out to be "serendipity".[14] Chen also explained that HTC and Valve don't have a clear dividing line between each of their responsibilities, and HTC is very much a partner in the research and development process.[15]

In June 2016, HTC announced the release of their 'Business Edition' of the Vive for $1,200 USD which would include a Professional Use License, a 12-month Commercial Warranty, access to an exclusive support line, a 5-meter (16 ft) cable extension kit, and it included the Deluxe Audio Strap.[16][17]

In November 2016, HTC announced a tether-less VR upgrade kit made by TPCAST. A public model was shown at CES 2017 and had a price of $249.[18][19]

At Google I/O in May 2017, Google announced a new, all in-built 'Standalone VR' system that would be made by the Vive team and also by Lenovo.[20] Whilst in June 2017 Valve revealed details of a second variation of Vive controller which utilizes finger tracking called the Knuckles Vive controller.[21]

Hardware and accessoriesEdit

  • Vive Headset: The Vive headset has a refresh rate of 90 Hz and a 110 degree field of view. The device uses two OLED panels, one per eye, each having a display resolution of 1080×1200 (2160×1200 combined pixels).[22] Safety features include a front-facing camera that allows the user to observe their surroundings without removing their headset. The software can also use the camera to identify any moving or static objects in a room; this functionality can be used as part of a "Chaperone" safety system, which will automatically display a virtual wall or a feed from the camera to safely guide users from obstacles or real-world walls.[13][23] Inside the headset's outer-shell divots are dozens of infrared sensors that detect the base stations' IR pulses to determine the head set's current location in a space.[24] Other sensors include a G-Sensor, gyroscope and proximity sensor.[25]
  • Vive Controllers: The controllers have multiple input methods including a track pad, grip buttons, and a dual-stage trigger and a use per charge of about 6 hours.[26] Across the ring of the controller are 24 infrared sensors that detect the base stations to determine the location of the controller.[27] The SteamVR Tracking system is used to track the controller location to a fraction of a millimeter, with update rates ranging from 250Hz to 1kHz. [28]
  • Vive Base Stations: Also known as the Lighthouse tracking system are two black boxes that create a 360 degree virtual space up to 15x15 foot radius. The base stations emit timed infrared pulses at 60 pulses per second that are then picked up by the headset and controllers with sub-millimeter precision.[29] Wireless syncing lowers the amount of wires as well standard threading making the base stations practical to use in a home. [30]
  • Vive Tracker: A motion tracking accessory; it is designed to be attached to physical accessories and controllers, so that they can be tracked via the Lighthouse system. Vive Trackers feature a connector that can be used to communicate with the accessory it is attached to. On launch, the Vive Tracker was sold as a standalone product, and in bundles with accessories and games designed to integrate with it, such as the Hyper Blaster (a light gun-style controller), and a racquet designed for sports games. Other third-party accessories have been developed for use with Vive Trackers, such as bands designed to be attached to a user's arms or legs to enable body tracking.[31][32][33]
  • Vive Deluxe Audio Strap: In June 2017, HTC released the Deluxe Audio Strap for $99 USD. It added integrated over-ear headphones as well as improved the HMD's comfort through better weight distribution.[34][35]

The Vive initially required computers running Microsoft Windows. In February 2017, support was added for Linux,[36] followed by support for MacOS in June 2017.[37]


By March 2016, the time at which the pre-orders for the HTC Vive opened, 107 games were known to be coming to the virtual reality format.[38]

In February 2017 Valve CEO Gabe Newell announced via Reddit AMA 'ask me anything' session Valve is developing three AAA VR IPs alongside the forthcoming "Knuckles" controllers.

An open source program called Revive allows for Oculus Rift games to be used with an HTC Vive.[39]


An unmounted development unit.

Valve released its OpenVR software development kit (SDK), an updated version of its Steamworks VR API with documentation and examples of how to build software that supports SteamVR hardware.[40][41] It provides support for the HTC Vive Developer Edition, including the SteamVR controller and Lighthouse.[42]

SteamVR was launched with native support for Unity on its platform.[43]

On 30 April 2015, Epic Games announced support for Valve's SteamVR technology, allowing developers to create VR projects with Unreal Engine 4 for the HTC Vive.[44][45] Epic said that SteamVR is completely integrated into Unreal Engine 4 across Blueprint visual scripting and native code, meaning projects can be built without being dependent on programmer support if needed.[46] Epic's own Showdown tech demo can already be experienced on SteamVR using the Vive headset.[47][48]

In July 2016, VR news website Road to VR used game session figures from the Steam VR platform to estimate that approximately 100,000 Vive headsets had been shipped since launch.[49] In the same month, SensoMotoric Instruments (SMI), a computer vision company, integrated its eye tracking technology in the HTC Vive to turn it into a dedicated eye tracking solution for research and professional applications.[50][51] In November 2016, Vive announced that it would begin the first retail sales of its headsets at JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman stores in Australia later that month.[52]

On 23 November 2016, HTC announced that the Vive was sold at a profit and that HTC Vive sales were "much higher" than 140,000.[53]

Vive ProEdit

On 8 January 2018, HTC unveiled an upgraded Vive model known as HTC Vive Pro. It features higher-resolution displays, now at 1440x1600 resolution per eye, along with a second outward-facing camera, attachable headphones, a microphone for noise cancellation analysis, and a refreshed design with a more "balanced" form, lighter weight, and a sizing dial. The Vive Pro uses USB-C connectors instead of USB-A. The Vive Pro will be sold alongside the original as a high-end model; it will be sold in headset-only and full bundles. The Vive Pro supports all existing Vive accessories, as well as the upgraded versions of the base stations compliant with SteamVR Tracking 2.0 specifications (which support a space up to 10 x 10 m in size).[54][55][56]

On 5 April 2018, HTC started selling a Vive Pro bundle that included a Vive Pro and the original 1.0 base stations, as well as controllers.[57]

On 23 April 2018, HTC started selling a Vive Pro bundle that included a Vive Pro and the new 2.0 base stations, as well as controllers.[58]

Vive Pro EyeEdit

In January 2019, at CES 2019 HTC unveiled an upgraded variant of HTC Vive Pro called Vive Pro Eye. The new device features built-in eye tracking that enables foveated rendering and hands-free interaction in VR and accessibility options for users who can't use regular motion controllers.[59]

Vive FocusEdit

Vive Focus is a self-contained (as opposed to tethered to a computer) headset first launched in China and then worldwide (in 37 countries) in November 2018. The headset introductory price in US was US$599.[60]

Vive CosmosEdit

In November of 2018 HTC filed a "Vive Cosmos" trademark application, generating numerous speculations.[61] The headset was officially unveiled on January 7 in a very brief announcement at CES 2019[62] and via Twitter. The presentation video showed a headset with a flip-up screen enabling user to see the real world without taking off the headset completely, four inside-out tracking cameras (two in the front and one on each side) and two handset motion controllers.[63]


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External linksEdit