I installed a TPCast, was blown away, and then went back to tethered. A very subjective review.

A few days ago I had the opportunity to grab a TPCast and install it on my home office Vive. Here are my thoughts:

  • Lots of parts, clunky. Battery+holder, receiver, transmitter, router (why?)
  • Setup was easier than expected. Pretty much plug in everything, install the TPCast software.
  • Had some issues that went away after a reboot
  • Exhilarating feeling of freedom without the tether. Mind blowing really.
  • Very quickly realized I have nowhere to keep the battery. I usually VR in my underwear
  • Transmitter makes a very annoying squeal / buzz when it’s working
  • I see a green bar at the very edge of peripheral vision on the right side. I increased my FOV on my Vive by using a thin facepad. With the stock facepad the green bar is not visible, but it’s really hard to go back to stock FOV.
  • I did not see a reduction in image quality or lag
  • I did notice some jitterness with motion-intensive games like SoundBoxing. I can’t put my finger on exactly what is the difference, but it’s not as smooth as tethered. But again, only with very active games.
  • The Vive microphone is not supported, nor is the headset camera or extra USB port.

I’m now back to good old tether. Why? It’s just.. clunky. A collection of small annoyances. The battery in my pocket. The annoying buzz. The green bar glowing just outside my view. The extra tripod for the transmitter and extra cables for the router. Having to charge my headset. None of these is a huge deal, but put together.. I decided to go back to tethered.

 

EDIT – Nov 2, 2017: 

The great people of Opentpcast are working to solve some of these issues, I understand that the microphone is now working, and the camera very soon (for owners of the newer batches of Vives). Also they managed to improve tracking and reduce jitters. Check it out here: https://github.com/OpenTPCast/Docs

In addition, I’ve seen unconfirmed reports that the US version of TPCast eliminates the annoying transmitter whine. I’ll update this post when more information becomes available.

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