With “an advanced optical system, manufacturing and calibration tools, and the supporting software” all being provided to any potential VR hardware manufacturers by Valve. What does this all mean? Well with the recent addition of Microsoft Mixed Reality into the mix, that also features headsets from a number of device makers, and SteamVR support, VR seems to be moving away from platform specific hardware.
In the PC space that is, where both Oculus Rift and HTC Vive represent the high-end of the VR scale. But now with companies like HP, Acer, Dell, and others looking to create more affordable VR solutions, it seems that Valve are ensuring that SteamVR remains an important platform no matter what the VR budget.
About the Display and Optics Technology
Valve has spent years working closely with display manufacturers to adapt their technologies to the unique challenges of VR. Recent advancements in Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) technology combined with VR specific calibration now make it a viable technology choice for high end VR systems. LCD manufacturers have demonstrated fast-switching liquid crystals, low persistence backlights, and high PPI displays that, when calibrated and paired with the right software, are well matched to the highest quality VR experiences. Of course, organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display technology was critical to the first generation of VR (being first to demonstrate fast transition times and low-persistence illumination), and it remains an excellent option for new head mounted displays (HMDs). While both display technologies have inherent artifacts unique to head-mounted usage, Valve provides custom hardware and software manufacturing solutions as part of the SteamVR technology suite to enable high quality visual VR experiences.
In addition, Valve has developed custom lenses that work with both LCD and OLED display technologies and is making these lenses available to purchase for use in SteamVR compatible HMDs. These lenses and Valve’s unique calibration and correction software are designed specifically to be paired with several off-the-shelf VR displays to enable the highest quality VR visual experiences. These optical solutions currently support a field of view between 85 and 120 degrees (depending on the display). The lenses, which are designed to support the next generation of room-scale virtual reality, optimize the user’s perceived tracking experience and image sharpness while reducing stray light. Valve is including the custom lens calibration and correction software within the SteamVR technology suite.
Although having a wide range of device makers might make this a lot more confusing to consumers.