We recently covered Game Streaming on the Oculus Go. And while that is convenient, the Oculus Go lacks full dual 6DOF controllers. If you’re looking for a more complete VR Game Streaming experience, then you might be interested in learning about TPCAST.
What is it?
TPCAST is a hardware-based solution that allows you to wirelessly stream PC VR Games to your HTC Vive or Oculus Rift headset. It completely replaces the long cable that normally tethers your VR Headset to your Gaming PC. You’ll be free to walk around your play area without having to worry about becoming tangled.
It comes in a complete Kit that includes everything that you’ll need to setup wireless VR.
Altogether it includes a Receiver, Transmitter, Router, Battery pack, and several cables and adapters.
Setting it up
While at first it may seem like an intimidating product to set up, it’s actually not complicated. Here’s how it works:
- Their Router plugs into an Ethernet port on your Gaming PC. It can also connect to your normal router with a 2nd Ethernet cable so that your PC can get online. The TPCAST Router requires no programming or configuration. Just plug it in and it’s ready.
- The PC Transmitter replaces the Link Box that came with your VR Headset. Simply connect it to the HDMI Port on your Graphics Card and then plug in the power cable that came with your Link Box. Ideally you’ll want the PC Transmitter to be mounted on your wall. It needs to have a clear view of your play-space.
- The last step is to remove the original 3-in-1 tether cable that is connected to your VR Headset. You’ll connect the Receiver to your Headset Strap and wire a proprietary TPCAST Cable to replace the original Tether. This cable connects to a battery that can be put in your pocket or connected to a belt (which is included in the kit).
Once everything is physically configured, you’ll download TPCAST’s software to your Gaming PC and run it. The Software will detect your VR Headset automatically. And that’s basically it. From there you can launch Steam VR and start gaming.
While all of the basic supplies that you’ll need are included in the TPCAST Kit, there are few optional accessories that you may require. We found the included Ethernet Cable to be too short to connect our Gaming PC to the TPCAST Router. This was solved using an extra cable that was sitting around the office. We also chose not to connect the TPCAST Router to our primary Ethernet Port on our PC. The TPCAST Router is fairly basic and only includes slower 10/100 Ethernet Ports. It’s not ideal for handling all of the traffic coming from our PC. To fix this, we installed a 2nd Ethernet Card in our PC and then connected a cable from that to a LAN port on the TPCAST Router.
This allows our PC to use our primary Ethernet Port for internet and networking, and the secondary Ethernet Port for VR. The TPCAST Router fits in nicely next to our other networking equipment in our office.
Another important thing to note is that the included TPCAST battery takes a long time to charge. It can take 7-9 hours to charge from 0 to 100%. The battery itself lasts for around 4 hours of Gaming. With these limitations in mind, you may want to order an extra battery online.
How does it perform?
So you’re probably wondering what to expect from TPCAST. How does it actually perform in a real environment? The folks at TPCAST were kind enough to send us one of their Vive Kits so that we could answer this question for you.
The honest answer is that it’s an impressive experience. We experienced zero disconnections and we didn’t notice any sort of compression or artifacting. It was impossible to tell that the tether cable wasn’t being used. TPCAST streams VR games smoothly and at original quality. It handled everything that we threw at it.
With that said, you can run into trouble if your PC Transmitter isn’t installed in an optimal location. It needs to have a clear view of your play-space, and TPCAST recommends installing it fairly high on the wall. We have ours about 8 feet high. We could see some users having a challenging time with placement in some types of environments (our play-space is in an office that is shaped like a rectangle).
We don’t have a hard time with recommending TPCAST for most VR Gamers. If you were able to handle the initial setup of your VR Headset, then setting up TPCAST isn’t going to be too complicated for you. It takes a similar amount of technical expertise. TPCAST honestly makes a huge difference in the immersiveness of VR Games. Before using TPCAST, we had to keep an “eye” on our tether to make sure that it didn’t get tangled or caught up on anything. It’s incredible to have this removed from the experience. Now we can just focus on Gaming (and not running into walls or hitting anything).
If you’re interested in trying TPCAST for yourself, you can support Flickstiq by purchasing it from our Amazon Affiliate Link.
NOTE: This product was provided for free by the manufacturer. However the manufacturer is not influencing this review. The statements and opinions written in this article are based purely on our experience with the product.
Also published on Medium.