Sony has apparently revised their HMZ-T1 Personal 3D Viewer, by making a new lighter version with more comfortable adjustable headband and forehead support as well as providing a set of detachable and adjustable light shields. The new device is called Sony HMZ-T2 Personal 3D Viewer and while it is around 20% lighter with a total weight of 330 grams there is still room for improvement for something that you’ll be wearing on your head. And while making it lighter is certainly good, Sony has apparently not done anything about increasing the 720p resolution or improving the 45 degrees of FOV that the first model of the device also offers. There is still no information regarding the pricing and availability of the new Sony HMZ-T2 Personal 3D Viewer, but hopefully the price of the new model will also be made “lighter”. So Sony’s current Personal 3D Viewer as well as the new revised HMZ-T2 version will most likely remain as a good choice for watching 3D movies, but for gaming in stereo 3D mode we are still expecting a lot from the upcoming Oculus Rift.
August 29th, 2012 · No Comments · 3D / AR / VR / HMD
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.
October 7th, 2011 · 22 Comments · 3D / AR / VR / HMD
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?