Welcome to the first issue of the Bigscreen Beyond newsletter. We're going to keep you updated on the development of the Bigscreen Beyond, and provide you with detailed insights into our design philosophy. In this issue, we'll discuss the progress we've made over the past two months.
Since we publicly announced Bigscreen Beyond, we saw a ton of press coverage and YouTube videos. Check out these videos and articles:
We shipped 100 pre-production units!
In the last two months, we've shipped 100 pre-production units – called "DVTs" – to testers and analysts. These pre-production units have come a long way from the 3D printed, hand-assembled prototypes we demoed in 2021-2022. The DVTs feature production-grade plastics, optics, displays, and circuit boards. With the DVTs, we're currently focused on solving bugs, catching manufacturing errors, and listening to customer feedback to ensure that the final production units are excellent when you receive them.
DVTs performing great both in testing internally and in the field, putting us on track to hitting production later this summer. Our factories in Los Angeles and China are set to begin US orders in Q3 2023 and international orders in Q4. The Wave 1 batch for Q3 2023 is almost tapped out, so future US preorders will soon move to Wave 2 in Q4 2023.
Controller Tracking Fixes
Over the past few months, we've tackled a radio frequency interference issue. In certain environments with lots of 2.4Ghz radio interference in their home or PC, controller tracking was performing poorly when standing 2-5 meters away from the PC. This affected roughly 30% of our early testers.
We're thrilled to announce that we've solved this problem! It was a complex engineering solution that required designing incredibly tiny radios and moving radios from the link box into the headset. This has put an end to a long-standing issue and will provide reliable controller tracking for everyone.
Strap Iterations and Audio Strap Development
One of our core philosophies behind the design of Bigscreen Beyond is that one size doesn't fit all. To be comfortable for long-duration usage, VR should be tailored to the unique needs of the user. The same applies for straps.
By default, Bigscreen Beyond includes a soft strap. It has a clip at the back of the strap for cable routing, and is especially comfortable to wear laying down or while wearing headphones.
We also have an Audio Strap. It features improved ergonomics and built-in on-ear headphones that we developed with a well-known speaker company. In 1-2 months, we plan to announce this partnership, and ship early Audio Strap samples to testers and reviewers.
Some people testing pre-production units championed for the addition of a top strap to the soft strap. It's something we had previously considered. Based on this customer feedback, we decided to include an optional, user-customizable top strap for free in the box. This now gives users 3 options: soft strap, soft strap with top strap, or the audio strap.
Additionally, a couple testers reported issues with the strap, which led to a discovery of a simple manufacturing mistake. This was quickly fixed, and we expect the next batch of straps in May to perform properly.
Company Retreat and Customer Demos
Bigscreen is a fully remote company with people living in the US, Canada, Europe, and even New Zealand. Our team gathered at our Los Angeles HQ in February to celebrate the launch of the Beyond, test pre-production units extensively, and plan our 2023 roadmap for Bigscreen (software) and Beyond (hardware).
We've also been busy hosting demos for customers, reviewers, and analysts. It's been incredible to see users clocking in 50 to 100 hours each on the headset in just a few weeks, often replacing their existing headsets. Check out this gallery of photos from our recent demos to get a glimpse of the excitement.
In our next update, we'll dive deeper into our optics and displays, exploring how they're punching above their weight to provide an unparalleled VR experience. Stay tuned for more exciting updates on the Bigscreen Beyond!