Last month Chinese wireless technology company TPCAST made the surprise announcement that it was working on a version of its adaptor for Oculus Rift. At the time the company said it planned on launching the device by the end of Q4 2017. Now PC components retailer Overclockers UK has TPCAST listed on its website to pre-order for £349.99 GBP.
Whilst this is the first indication of an official price – very much similar to the HTC Vive version – Overclockers listing doesn’t detail a more exact launch or shipping date. What it does detail are the full specifications for the TPCAST wireless adaptor and that’s included in the box.
Ever since TPCAST first announced its wireless adaptor back in 2016 as part of the Vive X Accelerator programme there’s been a lot of interest in the company due to it being the first one to seemingly solve the major issue of tethered VR headsets. It hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing since, with the device made available in China first. Over 2017 VRFocus has reported a number of times about TPCAST being made available to pre-order in North America and Europe, with shipping windows being given but not materialising.
For example in February, Vice President HTC Vive, Europe Peter Frølun confirmed to VRFocus that TPCAST would be available to order in Europe during Q2 of 2017. Then in August a release date of 1st September for Europe came to light. Yet a quick look at online retailers and TPCAST’s own website show no stock, just pre-order listings.
So at present – looking at the current state of things – either both the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive versions will appear at the same time, the HTC Vive version does see a proper western release or consumers are looking at 2018 to realistically get their hands on one.
Which is a shame. While the VR PC headset market is small, and the price of TPCAST almost equals that of Oculus Rift, there will undoubtedly be consumers who are happy to pay that price for complete wireless freedom in VR.
There’s also the problem for TPCAST that it’ll lose its lead, with companies like Intel working on WiGig or DisplayLink. Plus there’s going to be a new influx of standalone headsets like Oculus Go and Vive Focus, while not as powerful as a PC-based system offer a cheaper wireless alternative.
Whatever happens with TPCast, VRFocus will keep you updated.