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Are the 3D-Capable HMD Devices Ready For Their Prime Time

November 10th, 2011 · 15 Comments · 3D / AR / VR / HMD


It seems that Head Mounted Displays (HMD) are going to be a big thing by the end of this year and in 2012 as well, after a few years of silence in the HMD front (it happens every few years since the 90s), they seem to be yet again ready for a prime time with 3D support being the key focus this time (mostly for video, not for gaming). I’m talking about devices such as the more affordable Vuzix Wrap series of HMD devices available for a while, the new Sony HMZ-T1 Personal 3D Viewer that appeared briefly on the US market and is currently Backorderable, as well as the upcoming Epson Moverio BT-100 and SiliconMicroDisplay ST1080. So you can say that there will be a good choice of different type of 3D-capable HMD devices, more affordable with lesser specs and more expensive solutions with higher resolution and more extras. One important question however still remains and it is if this type of devices will finally be here to stay, or they will yet again remain dubbed as not good enough, not comfortable enough and not usable enough as it has happened with such products before. Is it finally time for the HMDs to come out of the niche market and become mainstream product, only time will tell, but there is already a lot of interest from consumers in this type of products and apparently big companies are also interested…



Epson’s Moverio BT-100 offers a resolution of 960×540 pixels with 2D and 3D support (for video playback), built-in headphones with Dolby Mobile technology, and uses an Android-based control unit. What is different with this device is that it is intended to be used as a standalone entertainment package and not together with a PC or another external multimedia player. Another interesting thing about the device is the fact that it does not have the two small LCD screens in the front, but instead projects the image on the front transparent part and this means that you can also partly see the real world around you while using this device. But the only drawback is that Moverio BT-100 looks quite big and lets say a bit strange when worn on your head, but if this does not bother you, then you should still be Ok with this personal entertainment device. Epson’s Moverio BT-100 is expected to be available on the Japanese market on November 25th with a price of around $800 USD.



SiliconMicroDisplay ST1080 is another type of 3D-capable HMD device that uses LCoS microdisplays and is expected to offer a native resolution of 1920×1080 pixels in both 2D and 3D mode. ST1080 is a see-through type HMD that will allow you to also see your surroundings while using it. It also has an external controller like Sony’s device and also comes with a 5 hour mobile battery pack when you want to use it on the go and don’t have where to plug it in. The controller unit apparently uses only HDMI input and the stereo 3D support should be based on the frame packaging method defined in HDMI 1.4. This of course would mean 1080p 3D mode with 24Hz, so suitable only for movies and for games 720p 3D mode with 50/60Hz should be used, so not that much of an advantage offer the HMZ-T1 from Sony if it will only be used fro gaming. SiliconMicroDisplay ST1080 is expected to be available in December this year and a price has not been disclosed yet, but still it is an interesting product you should keep your eyes on if you are interested in HMDs.

For more information about the SiliconMicroDisplay ST1080 HDM device…


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15 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Bear // Nov 10, 2011 at 21:18

    I am very excited about the SiliconMicroDisplay ST1080 and the Sony HMZ. I think I am ready to take the leap into the HMD pond this year. I hope the ST1080 is priced competitively and does not turn out to be vaporware. Even though the HMZ is only 720p, I cant help but wonder if it will still have better picture quality compared to the ST1080 because of the OLEDs it uses. I hope we see both of these within in the next month in America and I hope they are both extremely successful. I also hope to see amazing in-depth reviews on both on 3d vision blog. :)

  • 2 steve // Nov 10, 2011 at 21:27

    I have my sony hmz-t1 on its way, should get it in a week. Still, it will be really interesting to see how it stacks up against the 1080p HMD. I know the my 3d projector is unreal. I hope the HMD conveys they same sense of immersion I get from the PJ. Then its a question of which is better.

  • 3 josh // Nov 11, 2011 at 01:41

    i did a search for the words “3D Vision” and nothing was found in this posting. meaning I probably do not care about these headgear products. however just to confirm do any of the “3D-Capable HMD Devices” currently on the market work with nvidia 3d Vision? and how do they compare to something like a 1080p 3d vision monitior?

  • 4 badelhas // Nov 11, 2011 at 03:48

    good question! Do you know the answer, bloody?

  • 5 Doc // Nov 11, 2011 at 10:33

    Josh, Andrew over on the Nvidia forums said they will have a HMD profile in the next couple days for the HMZ-T1 I hope that helps

  • 6 Doc // Nov 11, 2011 at 10:34

    I meant 3DTV Play profile

  • 7 Bloody // Nov 11, 2011 at 11:06

    Yes, Sony’s HMZ-T1 should soon be supported by the 3DTV Play software.

    The SiliconMicroDisplay ST1080 could also be supported when it becomes available as it will also use HDMI, but for gaming in stereo 3D mode with it you would have to use 720p resolution.

  • 8 SETH // Nov 11, 2011 at 14:21

    The SiliconMicroDisplay’s futures model will have a better support for 3D games with HDMI 300MHz, i guess
    May be 60° of Fov and head tracking, who knows…
    but before that, this first model allow us to play in 3D 720p, but is it possible to play 1080p 3D with only the poor rate of 24/30hz?
    May be it’s a stupid question, but as i can play with game with only 30fps sometimes, higher refreshment, is it necessarily usefull?

  • 9 vesper8 // Nov 11, 2011 at 23:02

    Any chance to have some kind of chart that compares the specs of the upcoming and current HMDs that support 3D?

  • 10 Joe // Nov 19, 2011 at 17:00

    I have tried the Sony HMZ in the sony store for half an hour and i left disappointed it is in my opinion not a convincing product.Picture quality is excellent, FOV is good and it is the first out with HD panel, but everything else feels like a rushed prototype.
    So my next bet is on Cinemizer Oled, ST1080 or MOVERIO BT-100

  • 11 steve // Nov 21, 2011 at 19:22

    How can you make the design see through for the SiliconMicroDisplay ST1080? If you have to focus on a screen that is right in front of your eyes, then you use a lens to change you ability to focus. What good is seeing through it going to be if everything is massively blurry. Unless they mean, see around it maybe, but sure not see through it. That would certainly just be a blurry world out there. Also, non adjustable eye spacing will probably mean that you wont see anything right unless your eyes happen to be the spacing that they fixed into the glasses.

  • 12 James // Dec 2, 2011 at 01:10

    The Sony HMZ-T1 is great, good picture and amazing 3D. But very uncomfortable to wear. However, at http://www.blazin3D.com they have cushion pads forsale which make it feel much better.

  • 13 jeffpk // Dec 11, 2011 at 19:38

    The big advantages of the St1080 over the HMZt1 are:
    (1) Resolution
    (2) Weight and size. The hmzt1 is fine for just lying still and watching but all the weight shifting around will make head-tracked applications difficult to impossible.
    (3) See through. Which is an advantage or a disadvantage depending on how you are using it, but it should be great in darkened room with a backlit keyboard. Look down, see the kb, look up, be immersed

    The advantages of the sony are:
    (1) Wider FOV (51′ as opposed to 45′)
    (2) Its from a known company hat wont vanish in a year
    (3) Its available (backorder) right now.

  • 14 jeffpk // Dec 11, 2011 at 19:41

    In re Nvidia 3Dvision.

    3DVision is HDMi1.4 Anything that supports 3D HDMI should work fine with it.

  • 15 Jim // Oct 19, 2012 at 03:59

    It seems cool, But when I see the 3D movies for a long time, I will be tired.

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