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In China, VR Using HTC Vive Doesn’t Need a PC Anymore

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In China, VR Using HTC Vive Doesn’t Need a PC Anymore

A partnership with Dalian Television and Beijing Cyber Cloud means consumers only need a Vive, not a PC to hook it up to.

Virtual reality headsets may be slowly dropping in price, but they aren't the only hardware you need to enjoy VR. There's also the small matter of a PC powerful enough to cope with the demands of whichever virtual world you wish to experience.

In China, the PC problem is being solved by removing it from the equation. As Engadget reports, HTC China announced a new partnership with Dalian Television and Beijing Cyber Cloud. What that allows is for the HTC Vive to be connected to a set top box and the VR experience streamed over the Internet.

The service will be offered as a subscription package complete with a 60Mbps broadband connection. The costs include a $455 refundable deposit followed by a monthly subscription of roughly $76. Choosing that option means the Vive isn't yours, it's just rented. If you want to own the Vive, that will cost $1,055 and includes one year of access to streamed VR. In China, the Vive hardware costs north of $800 on its own.

In terms of content, HTC is offering "a few dozen" apps from Viveport, but that's sure to expand and is backed up by a library of VR-friendly 360-degree videos from Dalian.

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By streaming VR content, some latency is to be expected, but HTC's China President Alvin Wang Graylin says not enough to ruin the experience.

If streaming VR proves popular, you can bet it will be experimented with in the US. I imagine Facebook would love to be able to offer the Oculus Rift with a streaming Roku-like box as a complete system. We also can't forget Sony, who not only have PlayStation VR, but the streaming game service PlayStation Now. Sony therefore already has the whole infrastructure in place to stream VR if it wants to.

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