CES 2019: HTC Debuts the Vive Cosmos VR Headset and More


Virtual reality can be intriguing, but also intimidating. Setting up sensors and connecting multiple cables may seem daunting to the casual user who just wants to use lightsabers against a soundtrack in Beat Sabers. At CES 2019, HTC has answered the call for a more convenient VR headset with the Vive Cosmos. The company has also upgraded the Vive Pro with eye tracking, and made access to virtual reality content much easier, with the new Viveport Infinity subscription.

Vive Cosmos

HTC unveiled the Vive Cosmos, a new VR headset that focuses on comfort, easy setup, and portability. Without the need for external sensors, the Vive Cosmos still provides wide and accurate tracking, as well as gesture controls, but requires much less time setting up than its predecessors. The new Vive tracking system allows you to enjoy an immersive VR experience right out of the box. The Vive Cosmos can also be taken to other locations and set up with ease, making it a more travel-friendly VR headset.

No word yet on the resolution of the displays, but HTC says the Vive will have real RGB displays and a minimal screen door effect. It also features a convenient flip-up design so you don't have to take the whole headset off if you want to snap back to reality. The Vive Cosmos also comes with new Vive controllers to work with its new tracking system. The 6 degrees of freedom (DOF) controllers were designed for games, but can also work with other forms of virtual reality content. The Vive Cosmos connects to a computer, but HTC teased that might not always be the case—you'll be able to expand the Vive Cosmos with modular customizations in the future. HTC will be offering development kits in early 2019 with more details about availability later this year.

Vive Pro Eye

Integrated eye tracking has made its way to the HTC Vive Pro VR Headset. Known as the Vive Pro Eye, the headset has LED sensors located around the lenses. The sensors track and analyze eye movements. The Vive Pro Eye can turn your eyes into controllers. For instance, if you're a playing a VR game, you can aim at a target by simply looking at it. Precision eye tracking also allows for foveated rendering, which properly allocates GPU power to focused objects and areas for sharper images. Your avatar will also have more lifelike and expressive interactions in virtual social environments, thanks to precision eye tracking. Eye tracking isn't just helpful for gaming, it can also help companies understand their audience, customers, and trainees. The Vive Pro Eye can track how long their gazes linger on various objects and areas within virtual stores and in simulation programs, providing insightful data collection. HTC stated that the new HTC Vive Pro Eye will be available in the second quarter of 2019.

Viveport Infinity

HTC is upgrading its Viveport subscription service on April 5. The current Viveport subscription gives you five choices each month. With Viveport Infinity, you'll no longer have a quota. With unlimited access to more than 500 titles, you'll be able to take full advantage of your HTC Vive VR headset. Viveport Infinity will be available on current and future Vive devices, as well as the Oculus Rift and other devices.

Vive Reality System

The Creative Labs team at HTC unveiled the Vive Reality System, a completely reimagined way for people to experience the virtual world. The Vive Reality System encompasses the total virtual reality experience, from the moment the user puts on a headset to how VR content is interacted with. The Vive Reality System aims to make VR less like a smartphone where you launch apps, but instead provide a more seamless, immersive interaction, such as stepping between worlds. The Vive Reality System includes both operational and experimental elements that impact the entire Vive product line. As part of the project, HTC Vive announced a deal with Mozilla to launch the first Vive-dedicated VR browser. You can experience the Vive Reality System on the upcoming Vive Cosmos VR headset later this year.

Are you excited for the convenient Vive Cosmos VR headset? How will you take advantage of the eye tracking in the new Vive Pro Eye VR headset? Now with unlimited access with the Viveport infinity subscription, how many VR games can you play in one month? Let us know in the Comments section, below, and read about more CES 2019 announcements here.