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HTC unveils deluxe Vive strap with in-built audio

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The Vive’s weakest component gets an overhaul

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HTC at CES in Las Vegas today showed off a new replacement strap for its HTC Vive virtual reality head-mounted display which adds headphones to the headset and improves the feel.

The Vive Deluxe Audio Strap hasn’t been priced yet, but will begin shipping to retailers in the second quarter of the year. It will also be available to order directly on Vive.com.

The strap, which replaces the sort of floppy, velcro strap the Vive came with, is designed with adjustable headphones that deliver 360-degree “VR audio.” The strap also now has a customizable sizing dial on the back, making it easier to adjust the fit of the headset and, in theory, more comfortable once done.

Featuring interior padding, a new 3-in-1 cable path and an easy-to-adjust sizing dial, the Vive Deluxe Audio Strap makes it easier to put on and take off the headset by effortlessly adapting to any wearer. Integrated on-ear headphones provide superior sound with height and angle adjustments for maximum comfort and convenience.

The design appears to have taken some of the better elements from the Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR headsets and to address one of the Vive’s biggest shortcomings. We singled out the strap as a “particular annoyance” in the very first paragraph of our Vive review last year.

The Oculus Rift includes built-in, adjustable headphones and the PlayStation VR has an adjustment dial which, among other innovations, makes it “the most comfortable VR headset ever made.”

HTC also showed off a new VR tracking device meant to allow users to bring a variety of different real world objects into the virtual one. You can read more about the tracker right here.

Finally, Vive discussed the coming of wireless VR adapters for its headsets and a new subscription service it plans to roll out for VR apps.