Hands On With Sony’s 3D Personal Viewer

When it comes to 3D technology, I tend to be a bit cynical; Primarily because whenever I go to view a 3D movie at the theatres, I am required to partake in the ritualistic popping of a couple of full strength ibuprofen at least an hour before the show, lest I find myself at the mercy of a throbbing migraine no more than 20 minutes into the flick.  I’m one of those “few” individuals whose brains have a problem with viewing a stereoscopic 3D image through those godforsaken glasses that make Lewis Skolnick look fashionable in his specs.  Needless to say, I try to avoid 3D movies and gaming at all costs for the sake of my self-respect and the well-being of my cranium.

However, when I was walking around at the PlayStation Holiday Event this last Wednesday, something far more fashionable caught my eye:  Sony’s 3D Personal Viewer, or for the more technophile-ish, the HMZ-T1 Head Mounted Display.

The 3D Personal Viewer connects to any HDMI-ready device using a processing box that sits on the shelf next to your game console or video unit, and displays 720p HD video on two individual OLED screens mounted inside the headset housing.  The advantage of having one screen for each eye instead of displaying two images simultaneously on a single screen is that it allows your eyes to process information in a manner that’s closer to how the eyes interpret data in the real world.  As you look at the two images, they are combined in your brain instead of on the screen, which causes less strain on the eyes.  Less eye strain, less migraine.

So, how did this all perform?  Considering that I was at a busy event and didn’t have the time to make the fine tuning adjustments to the headset in order to make it the perfect personalized experience, the HMZ-T1 Head Mounted Display performed remarkably well.  I was able to adjust the headset’s configuration to a point where I was viewing the screens comfortably within a minute, and was playing Resistance 3 in no time.  I played through the opening level of Resistance 3, and was able to enjoy it in 3D with remarkable clarity and sound.  While the firefight ensued, I was able to easily identify targets, center in on the sites and take them down with a significant level of accuracy within minutes.  Furthermore, whenever an enemy would run past me and off screen, the visuals became so intense that I found myself following a natural urge to look in the direction of the movement instead of using the analog stick.

For a ten minute demonstration inside of a very loud and active hall, I was impressed at how well the integrated 5.1 audio earphones performed.  While they didn’t seem to block out all of the background noise, the audio from the game was easily in the forefront, with the crowds only being an afterthought unless I was intentionally listening.  However, being in an echoic hall with a significant number of people is hardly a place to make a good determination as to how the unit truly sounds.  We’ll hopefully be able to perform further studies in a controlled environment at a later date.

All things considered, the Sony 3D Personal Viewer looks to be a promising unit that will cater to a myriad of viewers, from the videophile looking for an immersive experience, to the husband who wants to get some time in with Uncharted while the spouse watches Grey’s Anatomy, to the University freshman who just doesn’t have any room in the dorm to enjoy their gaming and movie experience as they would like.  This will be something for everyone to keep their eyes out for when it releases this November.  We’re definitely looking forward to giving it a full review at a later date.


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October 16, 2011 - 8:30 am