I love my VR rig. I’m playing Skryim in VR and it’s amazing. I will not confirm or deny my lack of content this week is due to marathon play sessions. However one of the drawbacks of the current state of the tech is the wire tether to a console or PC.
However, a company called TPCAST in China has produced the very first wireless adapter setup for home use. This is a big deal. On sale now for the HTC Vive with Oculus Rift support announced and coming soon. All they need is Playstation VR support for the trifecta of home systems.
Up until now, VR has required a hard cable connection. The technical requirements required to keep the average person from blowing chunks all over the living room are pretty robust.
For VR to look stable, it needs to run at 60 frames per second, nearly three times that of standard film, and double normal video.
On top of that, the PC or console has to render each image twice, one for each eye. For true VR, everything in the environment has to be fully 3D as well. All that visual data needs a beefy pipe, and normal wifi tech doesn’t have the capacity or speed necessary.
TPCAST solves this problem with a proprietary cluster of tuned antennas and frequencies giving them enough juice to pump twin 1080p video feeds into each eye. The rig is definitely 1st generation, with a rat’s nest of cables and a battery pack the user has to put on their body somewhere, but once setup, you truly get the freedom to explore a virtual space.
(Full disclosure: I am basing my description on 3rd hand reviews. I do not own a TPCAST unit. If their people find this, yes, yes I would like to review the hardware, please and thank you.)
Ok, so what does this mean for you as an investor. Well the components TPCAST uses for it’s wireless unit is made in the USA by Oregon based Lattice Semiconductor (LSCC:N), Lattice’s tech is first out of the gate in this field does the stock reflect the value of it’s potential? Let’s take a look.
Welp, clearly they got massacred in the great VR bust. By mid 2017 the markets decided VR wasn’t going to be the next big thing. The stock bounced back, largely on the TPCAST news, but slipped again recently.
The market cap seems right to me, maybe even a little small. The stock is pricy, but think of the royalty checks rolling in if their tech becomes the default protocol for VR Wi-fi.
LSCC is the sort of VR company I’ve been talking about. They aren’t flashy and aren’t making apps, or developing new software. Their components get hoovered up by venture-capital backed start-ups looking for the next big thing. If this were 1915 I’d say invest in steel, rubber, and asphalt stocks, stay away from car companies until we see how things shake out. The Henry Ford has some funny ideas, but he can crank out cars…
Ultimately the VR market is continuing to evolve, and I’m really leery about investing in companies whose success rests on monetizing the space. I smell way more money in supplying the gear.
Full Disclosure: I do not own any stock in the companies mentioned above, but I own a PSVR.