The HTC Vive is one of the best VR headsets on sale in 2017, and its success looks to continue into 2017. While the HTC Vive was initially extremely hard to come across, the headset is now available to buy in the UK from several retailers, including the likes of GAME and Currys PC World, as well as HTC itself.
But how do you set it up? With a whopping 16 pieces of tech inside the HTC Vive box, it can look a little overwhelming at first – but don’t worry, it’s easier than it looks and we can talk you through the process right here, as well as offering some expert tips from long-time users. And if you're new to the virtual reality, take a look at our guide to VR.
How to set up HTC Vive: Base Stations
1) The first thing you should remember is not to be overwhelmed by the amount of cables and components when you open the HTC Vive box – there’s 16 pieces to it in total. While it may look extremely complicated, the process is a lot easier than you’d expect and shouldn’t take any longer than 15-20 minutes max.
2) Remove all components from the box and organise them – put the base stations together, similar cables together, etc. This makes it easier to manage, and should speed up the overall setup process.
3) Pick a room and a suitable play area. For Room Scale VR you’ll need at least 2m x 1.5m, with the maximum play area measuring in at 5m x 5m, but standing-only VR experiences need much less space. Make sure you clear any furniture and pets beforehand.
4) Place the two Base Stations around the room, making sure that the sensors are well situated so they can ‘see’ the entirety of the play area as well as each other. There are a few different ways you can set up the Base Stations, with Steam providing a few good examples in the image below. The key thing to remember is that the Base Stations need to be high up to capture your movement correctly, with HTC advising tilting them downward at an angle of around 30-45 degrees. The company provides wall mounts for the Base Stations but we’ve a combinations of tripods and bookshelves in our setup.
5) Once you’ve placed your Base Stations, plug in the provided power cords and put each base station into the correct syncing mode. Press the mode button on the back of one base station so that the front reads “b” while the other reads “c” – it doesn’t matter which is which, as long as one says “b” and one says “c”. If the LED on the Base Station doesn’t turn white after 10-15 seconds, refer to Steam’s support page for more info.
Read next: Best HTC Vive games and experiences
How to set up HTC Vive: Headset and controllers
Once you’ve got your Base Stations up and running, it’s time to set up and install the HTC Vive headset itself.
1) Make sure your VR-compatible PC has the latest drivers from Nvidia or AMD, depending on the graphics card your PC features.
2) Connect the Link Box to your PC using the side without the orange ports, using the supplied cables. First use the HDMI cable to connect the Link Box to your PC, before doing the same with the extended USB cable and finally, the power cable. There’s also an additional DisplayPort port on the box if for whatever reason, you can’t use a HDMI cable. Once all cables are plugged into your PC, it’s important that it’s not removed while the Drivers are being installed.
3) Once you’ve connected the Link Box to your PC, it’s time to bring the headset into the mix. Remove the film from the lens, proximity sensor and camera, and plug the three cables running from the headset into the Link Box (on the side with orange ports).
4) To connect the controllers, simply hold the System Button (button beneath the big touch-sensitive button) until you hear a bleep and they should then automatically connect to the headset.
How to set up HTC Vive: SteamVR and Room Setup
The final step is to install SteamVR, the platform of choice for HTC Vive users, and to go through the Room Setup process.
2) Follow the on-screen instructions to install SteamVR.
3) Once installed, open Steam and click VR in the right-hand corner to initialise SteamVR and go through the Room Setup.
4) Follow the instructions on screen to go through the first-time setup, where you’ll choose your Room setup type (Room Scale or Standing) and outline the designated perimeters of your play area.
How to set up HTC Vive: Expert setup tips
While you should now be ready to go, we’ve been using the HTC Vive for quite some time now and have come up with a few handy tips to improve the overall experience.
The first tip is to invest in a couple of cheap light stands – light stands are cheap, easy to move, stand taller than the average tripod and most offer the same type of screw that the Base Stations are compatible with. This means you’ll no longer need to attach them to the wall, or have them sat awkwardly on a bookcase.
As well as light stands, you can also invest in a tall microphone stand that you can use to hold the HTC Vive cable when in VR. The arm will hold the cable above your head and if loosened at the hinge, it should ‘follow’ you when you move – in smaller Room Scale experiences, anyway.
You can also swap out the memory foam cover that sits around the edge of the headset for a leather one, like the one sold by vrcovers.com. While the memory foam is extremely comfortable, VR can get pretty sweaty (especially with faster paced VR games) and nobody wants to don a headset damp with sweat. Leather ones can be wiped away easily, allowing for easy maintenance and cleaning.