Valve Index VR headset

Discussion in 'VR and AR' started by eastmen, Mar 30, 2019.

  1. BRiT

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    They obviously need to make up for all those lost Steam sales somehow...
     
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  2. Entropy

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    It’s a bit weird to feel disappointed when presented with the best device so far.

    The Valve Index feels like a current gen device that has recieved the spit and polish needed to really deliver a good experience.

    But it has no next-gen appeal at all. It has none of the really high-res screens demonstrated, nor the eye tracking for the foveated rendering required to take full advantage of them. No 802.11ay so we are still doing room-scale-while-attached-to-cabling, and we still have to find good positions in the room for the also cabled lighthouses. And there is not even new software that really take advantage of the new controllers. (Can there ever be as long as compatibility with other controllers is required?)

    So Valve Index seems great, the product that shows how this generation should be done as opposed to various flawed novelty products. But also oddly dead in the water, unlikely to attract any new customers to VR or moving the concept forward by a distinct step in any important respect.
     
  3. Ike Turner

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    Any VR solution without inside-out tracking & which requires external sensor/lasers/cameras/whatever is dead on arrival in this day & age (even lighthouse tracking is technical more precise etc) .
     
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  4. cheapchips

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    Since Valve are aiming at the high end PC market, I don't agree that Lighthouse makes Index DOA. For next generation headsets I'd go as far as saying they need to be inside out and wireless or be DOA.
     
  5. Entropy

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    I had hopes in two specific areas.
    Valve are platform holders and are in a position to drive adoption of various features. So I hoped that they would collaborate with the manufacturer of one of the really high-resolution panels demonstrated and couple that with eye tracking and foveated rendering.
    And since Qualcom introduced their first 802.11ay chipsets in October 2018, I hoped they would take the cheap version of those and use for sending/reception, thus pushing for an untethered future for PC and room scale VR.

    I hoped for at least one of those to happen. Neither did.

    It’s clear that VR is going to move in those directions, but since it didn’t happen now I despair a bit that it will happen in the next 2-3 years. Maybe Sony could possibly introduce something along those lines with a new headset for the PS5? Otherwise I can’t see who would.

    I kind of agree that (really good) HMD contained tracking that is independent of any external references would be preferable to having to arrange placement and cable routing for lighthouses.

    Not to belittle what Valve offering here, which seems as it will offer the new benchmark quality level in a number of respects and as a package certainly. A better Vive Pro, a year and half later.
     
  6. Silent_Buddha

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    If the Index had the same screens resolution (or better yet higher) as the announced HP Reverb or Acer ConceptD OJO, I'd be at least somewhat interested in the device. However, at 999 USD if you don't already own base stations, that's a pretty steep ask for me. The ability to do 120 Hz is great, the slightly wider FOV is good, and I'm sure the other improvements are good as well. But that's a steep price.

    Then again, it appears this is targeted mostly at developers and creators. On their headset page, "Designed by Makers, for Makers."

    That kind of mirrors both HP and Acer's new headsets that are more focused on the professional market. Offer it to everyone but focus your efforts towards those that can afford the advances in technology. I'm going to guess the Vive will continue to be sold and possibly get a price reduction. That'll continue to serve as their main headset for gamers, I'm assuming.

    Regards,
    SB
     
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  7. hughJ

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    I think that's an awful lot to ask of a consumer product in 2019. Until we see foveated rendering proofs of concept actually implemented into the likes of UE4 and Unity that can enable the degree of performance optimization promised by academic papers, I don't think it's reasonable to even be thinking about a consumer device built around that feature spec.

    I have also yet to see anyone discuss in detail just how foveated rendering is going to be combined with the various reprojection methods we have now in VR that are responsible for low latency and ability to handle inevitable frame rate fluctuations. How does one do motion-vector extrapolation to generate frames if most of the frame and depth buffers have a small fraction of the sampling precision? It's very possible that the entire philosophy behind how the VR compositor pipeline currently works will need to get scrapped and reworked.
     
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  8. Entropy

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    I fully agree regarding the complexities of foveated rendering.
    That's why I pinned some hope on Valve, given their position, and the amount of research they are said to have done.
    Compare to Lenovo, or the other headset providers who definitely aren't going to pioneer the technology. And Oculus/Facebook just played their hand, and neither Rift S nor the Quest include it either. So who is left? Sony? The conclusion would seem to be that the stars aren't likely to align for foveated rendering for a while yet.

    Then of course, you could wonder a bit about the choice of panel resolution and DP1.2, where one could have hoped for a panel such as this from JDI and DP1.3.

    The Index seems to be a better perfoming product than the HTC Vive Pro across the board and at a lower cost. That's great! But it's also introduced a year and a half later, so that's kind of expected. (Otherwise why bother?)

    What bothers me and, it seems, quite a few others, isn't that the Index doesn't provide a good package (it does), but that it chooses to advance the state of the art through polish and refinement, rather than trying to do anything about obvious fundamental issues with VR. This is not critisism against Valve and Index as much as it is concern about the pace of VR technology development in general. If it didn't happen now, then - when?
     
  9. hughJ

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    I guess my mindset at this stage is more about 'if' rather than 'when', so any features that we get that are above and beyond the Rift/Vive/PSVR level of hardware I'm feeling pretty thankful for. We've got VR's biggest investor no longer even making their own PCVR hardware anymore, and are seemingly committed to a $200-400 price point that leaves no room for evolving that feature set at any point in the foreseeable future. And of course we've got Brendan Iribe rumored to have left due to a change in company focus with the cancellation of a high-end successor to the Rift.

    On top of that we seem to be hitting the physics/economics wall with CMOS, so it's not like we can rely on the all-in cost of PC hardware to significantly decrease to give mass market companies like Facebook and Microsoft reason to be optimistic about PCVR's growth over the next ~5 years. If the Rift S's sales continues the same trend as Rift/Vive/WMR HMDs I wouldn't be surprised if Facebook mothballs their PCVR pursuit before we ever get a Rift2, especially for any internal and 3rd party dev resources that have no clear way of benefiting their mobile AR/VR platforms.
     
  10. eastmen

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    Just jumping in with my thoughts here .

    I think the headset is a good headset and the controllers look great. However I think in terms of the resolution of the headset this is way to over priced. It should have been $600-$700 as a package. The lack of anything planed for the front void is also puzzling.

    If I buy this or not depends on what game valve has for the second half of the year. But since this hits the end of August I believe , I will wait to see what Oculus shows off at OC5 or Microsoft or its partners show
     
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  11. hughJ

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    The Vive always struck me as a device that straddled the divide between devkit and consumer device, and the Index seems to be wearing that badge overtly to the extent of using the phrase, "Designed by Makers, for Makers" on its splash page. To me this entire PCVR venture since the Oculus Kickstarter has been (and continues to be) very reminiscent of desktop computing of the 80s and early 90s where the value proposition varied radically from person to person; the onus being largely on you to make it worth the purchase price.

    PCVR is still a pretty questionable value at any price point if you're using it strictly to consume content with, especially when contrasted with the console market, but if you're using it to both consume and create that changes the equation a lot. My home growing up was lucky to have emerging tech items like an early Betamax and Apple2 -- they were pretty bad values if you used them strictly for watching commercial movies and playing space invaders clones, but if you used every part of the buffalo they were pretty compelling.
     
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  12. eastmen

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    Looks like some people have had units for about a week and now are allowed to post impressions and unboxing

    The FOV + Resolution/ hz of the panel sounds great to me Knuckles is icing on the cake along with the headphones being the cherry
     
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  13. eastmen

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    website has been updated with some deep dives into the hardware and the choices they made along with some fancy video loops of the product

    https://www.valvesoftware.com/en/index
    I do have to say I really like the way the headstrap works. Its ridged like the rift s and psv and it has that dial for tightening. It does look really comfy
    https://steamcdn-a.akamaihd.net/valvesoftware/images/index/videos/NoMansSkyBeyond_v2.mp4
    even the quick gif of no man sky looks interesting. Wonder if the vr edition will drop on the same day as the index next week
    [​IMG]
     
  14. Karamazov

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    that gif is from the trailer, the VR mode releases in August.
     
  15. cheapchips

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    RoadtoVR have their full review up. Goes into excellent exhaustive detail, as usual for them. Probably the kind of thing you want to read if you're planning on dropping $1000 on the thing.

    https://www.roadtovr.com/valve-index-review/
     
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  16. ToTTenTranz

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    I see Valve is still deeply committed into keeping their headsets far from the mainstream audience.

    The best at doing what?
    HP reverb holds the highest resolution at a much lower price. Pimax holds the widest FoV, Samsung Odyssey+ goes for $300 nowadays and it has similar hardware.
     
    #36 ToTTenTranz, Jul 1, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2019
  17. cheapchips

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    Comments from reviews is that it has the best ergonomics, in both head fit and all possible eye adjustments. The optics have the best ballance between fov, res and sweetspot. LCD means that its screen door is less than HP's.

    The high refresh rates are supposed to add significantly to the sense of presence, if your hardware can support them.

    The audio is the best by all accounts.

    Tracking is fussy to setup but the best.

    Controllers are probably the best.

    Still VR 1.5 though, rather than the next step.

    As you said, far from a product that expands the market.
     
  18. ToTTenTranz

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    How come?
    The HP uses LCD too, with RGB arrays, but the resolution is significantly higher at 2160*2160 per eye (twice the pixel density of the Index) and the FoV is actually lower than Index's at 114º (Index is 130º).

    I doubt you get more screen door effect with the HP than the Index.


    The Index's hardware is IMO more comparable to the Odyssey+ which is selling for $300.
    Maybe the Index is much better because of the higher refresh rates, but Valve is definitely charging one heck of a premium for their hardware.
     
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  19. cheapchips

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    Yeah, you're right. Thought Index had better pixel fill but might have been thinking of the Vive Pro.

    It'd be interesting to see how they fair against each other in practice with the Reverbs lower sweetspot and mura issues. I doubt I'll have a chance to do a side by side.

    Edit: I kind of missed making the point that all the reviews imply, that the best VR headset is more than the sum of its parts. The index seems the least compromised of any currently available.
     
    #39 cheapchips, Jul 1, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2019
  20. Silent_Buddha

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    The HP Reverb unfortunately has much worse optics leading it to have a worse experience. It has a higher resolution panel, but outside of the sweet spot when looking directly ahead, it rapidly gets blurry as you move away from that. This is greatly exacerbated by the lack of a physical IPD adjustment. Meaning that for some people there is NO sweetspot so everything always looks blurry or out of focus.

    The Index ends up with a higher picture clarity due to the superior optics despite having a lower resolution panel.

    The Odyssey+ is also let down by the optics. While it has the same resolution panels as the Index, in their attempt to remove the screen door effect from using AMOLEDs, their optics deliberately blur the entire scene. They still have deeper blacks, but at the drawback of having a significantly blurrier image than the Index. Add to that the hard frame design with viewport locked to the hard frame and it has limited comfort.

    The Pimax, as much as I absolutely love it's FOV, suffers from so many issues, that it's hard to recommend it unless the only thing you care about is the FOV.

    All current VR headsets are a mess of compromises as they attempt to overcome shortcomings of trying to offer VR at an affordable price. The cheaper the headset, the more compromises and the more noticeable those compromises are.

    As most reviews will say, the Index currently offers the best (least noticeable) mix of compromises of all VR headsets which leads to it giving the best VR experience of all headsets so far. Whether it's worth 1k USD if you didn't already have the base stations or not is the questionable bit.

    1k USD is far out of my price range so I won't be getting one, but it definitely is the best headset you can currently get.

    Regards,
    SB
     
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