Sony has demonstrated the prototype of their HMZ-T1 personal 3D viewer at the beginning of this year and later on has announced that the product will soon be available on the larger markets due to the huge consumer interest in the product (no availability is still announced for quite a lot of countries though). This is about to happen and the company has started to take pre-orders for the device and the expected release date of the product is October 26th (in USA) and that is in less than three weeks. Currently the price of the device is set to $799.99 USD and that is making it the most affordable 720p Head Mounted Display on the market and probably the best one specifications wise for consumers. So no wonder that a lot of people are interested in the product and are eagerly awaiting for the HMZ-T1 personal 3D viewer to become available. The fact that the device supports displaying not only 2D images, but stereoscopic 3D as well and the interface being used is the industry-wide HDMI 1.4a standard further increases the user interest…
What most of you probably don’t know or remember is the fact that HMD devices are not something new for Sony, the company actually had a similar product line available commercially back from 1996 (the PLM-50 model – to see the original press release auto-translated from Japanese to English). The device was called Sony Glasstron and was available in multiple models with slightly different specs, but the production and distribution of these products was halted in the year 2000, either due to lower than expected volume of sales or reevaluation of company priorities. Nevertheless during its existence the Sony Glasstron line of head-mounted displays was considered to be one of the best such products on the market by many. There were actually quite a lot of other companies besides Sony that were trying to get into the market for HMD devices in the end of 20th century and the beginning of the 21st and while there was a significant user interest in such products, the high prices and technological limitations were the most likely reason they’ve remained a niche product used only by some enthusiasts and organizations with specific needs and requirements. Some of the more recent interesting products of this type that are still available on the market (and supporting stereo 3D) are Vuzix’s VR920 and 1200 VR and eMagin’s Z800 HMD. It seems however that now Sony considers it is finally the right time for 3D-capable head-mounted displays to finally take their rightful place in our lives and not just be part of sci-fi movies anymore.
But let me get back to the Sony HMZ-T1 personal 3D viewer. Originally it seems that Sony considers this device to be mostly used as an alternative of a 3D HDTV for playing games on the company’s 3D-capable PlayStation 3 console and/or for watching Blu-ray 3D movies with it and a dedicated Blu-ray 3D-capable video player. But as 3D content expands there will be much more possible uses for this device for watching not only stereoscopic 3D content, but for 2D as well and one of these is PC gaming of course, including in stereo 3D as well. Thanks to the use of an industry wide standard such as HDMI 1.4a you should be able to easily connect the device to your computer and use it for 2D or 3D gaming as both AMD and Nvidia do offer stereoscopic 3D support for gaming in stereo 3D with HDMI 1.4a device. I have no information yet if AMD will support the device for sure in stereo 3D mode, but they should, and as far as Nvidia goes, it should get supported in the 3DTV Play software soon after the device becomes available on the market. So good news for PC gamers into stereo 3D gaming, and apart form games you should also be able to watch 3D videos and browse through 3D photos, maybe even watch TV in 3D and so on.
I don’t know about you, but I’ll be getting one Sony HMZ-T1 personal 3D viewer as soon as it becomes available (will probably have to import it from somewhere else), not only in order to do a review of the device, but also because I do plan to use it. What about you?