Sony Personal 3D Viewer: the future of 3D cinema? [Video]
We first tried the Sony HMZ-T1 out at the IFA technology show in Berlin this year. It’s now gone on pre-order, for a whopping £800, so we thought we’d better take another, more prolonged look at this unusual gadget.
Sony Personal 3D Viewer video
What is it?
The Sony HMZ-T1 Personal 3D Viewer is, and it will come as no surprise, a personal 3D viewer. It’s rather like a cross between a pair of 3D glasses and a crash helmet.
Inside there are two 0.7-inch OLED displays, which can be moved together or apart for a more comfortable fit. The straps that pass behind and over your head can also be adjusted, as can the headphones, which provide a virtual 5.1 surround sound experience.
A common complaint with 3D TV is cross-talk, where one eye sees what the other should be seeing. As there are two screens on the HMX-T1, cross-talk is eliminated.
What is it like?
When I first sat down to watch 3D content through the Sony Personal 3D Viewer I was taken aback at how similar to watching a 3D film at the cinema it was. In fact, you’re really not aware that the screens are so close to your eyes.
After a few moments, however, the unit began to feel quite heavy on my head, with some discomfort across the bridge of my nose. This was eased by some strap readjustment, but the issue still remained.
When wearing the 3D Viewer it’s still possible to see the room around you in your peripheral vision, which was quite comforting. Accessories are available to help block out more light from around the headset, but I preferred knowing where I was and what was going on in the real world.
The 3D Viewer works with 3D games on the Sony PlayStation too, though I didn’t have enough time to try it extensively.
What do I get for my £800?
The Sony Personal 3D viewer is available to pre-order for £800, and you’ll need either a PS3 or a 3D Blu-ray player for it to play 3D content. It’s only available in white and it comes supplied with a extra box, which is required for bridging the gap between the 3D compatible Blu-ray player or PlayStation and the 3D Viewer.
The box delivers audio, video and power to the 3D Viewer, but can only be used with one unit at a time, so multiplayer gaming isn’t possible.
The box has an HDMI in and an HDMI out, so the Blu-ray Player or PlayStation can be relayed to the TV without having to meddle with wires when you want to bypass the 3D Personal Viewer.
Our initial verdict
The Personal 3D Viewer is an interesting concept but unlikely to feature in many Christmas stockings this year even at half the price.
I was initially surprised by the 3D quality, but discomfort got the better of me after fifteen minutes or so. It wasn’t the proximity of the screens that caused me much discomfort, but the weight of the device on my nose itself.
And in answer to the question many people have asked: Yes, it worked just as well when wearing glasses.
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