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Sony is Taking Pre-Orders for the HMZ-T1 Personal 3D Viewer

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?

For more information about the upcoming Sony HMZ-T1 Personal 3D Viewer…

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22 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Esslan // Oct 8, 2011 at 00:08

    These seem to god to be true. Decent price and OLED. Does anyone know if you can wear glasses with this thing?

  • 2 Peter // Oct 8, 2011 at 02:05

    No pressure, but your review will play a large factor in the deciding factor of whether or not to pick one of these up.

  • 3 Jason Borne // Oct 8, 2011 at 02:47

    I wonder how his will work with the PS3 MOVE system, seems to me with a moving screen covering your eyes , its hard to get that hand-eye coorination just right, when using motion detection controllers like playstation movie and Xbox Kinect and Wii.. Plus does it come with a Head Tracking system, built in , something like headtracker or TrackIR..

  • 4 woorm // Oct 8, 2011 at 05:54

    I tested one of the T1s at IFA 2011. I was really impressed with what I saw. The contrast was great and the depth perception convincing. I just played GT5 and watched some 3D-trailers but I would rather use it for gaming after all.
    It is a real shame that they did not add some tracker – costs would be marginal for some basic USB device with gyroscope accelerometer etc. but I bet the community (especially PC) will come up with some solutions very fast.

    I will still wait for the second batch (like 1-2 month after release) to benefit from a price drop and probably some basic improvements. The models at IFA had some minor problems with the head-clamp but it might be fixed until release already.

    So far I am sure, I will get one of those fancy devices. As a 3D-lover/enthusiast and gamer it is a MUST buy – speaking as someone with first-hand experience (and having both a 3D beamer and a 3D monitor)!

  • 5 craylon // Oct 8, 2011 at 07:11

    Im really interrested in this device as well.
    As long time follower of your blog Im happy to hear you have your eyes on the hmz-t1
    I would be especially interested on seeing how well it works with the pc, especially as I enjoyed my 3d vision for quite some time now.
    hopefully sony doesnt dropt the ball to do some stupid things to prevent your side by side movies or 3d blurays and games coming from the pc. and hopefully nvidia incorporeates it wit their 3d play (wich I didnt test yet since I own a projector)

    besides all that Im really exited to see this technology develope since it should be a 100% ghosting free with vivid colors.

    The thing tough with the gyroscope is that I imagine the helmet to be to heavy/ bulky at the moment for that.

  • 6 StarKnight // Oct 8, 2011 at 09:37

    I’ve already tested it too at Sony United that took place in Milan last month. The device is amazing and gave me a positive impression but there are also some drawbacks:
    – Weight: Almost all of its weight is on the front which lay on your nose. For short periods it’s ok but after one hour it might become a little problem.
    – Reflections: In light rooms some rays of light tend to reflect on the internal lens. However I have found that wrapping a dark sheet of paper around the holder effectively blocks them.
    – Portability: You can not simply plug an HDMI cable in the visor and power it with batteries. You need to use AC and the external box supplied with the visor. No problem if you intended to use in a room but if you wanted to use it while travelling by car/train/plane (with a portable HDMI device like my LG Optimus 3D) it could by quite problematic.
    – Quality: Quality is superb. Contrast and dark colors are the best I’ve ever seen. Resolution in only 720p but fine for every situation. At SU I’ve tested 4 of them each connected to a different stereoscopic source: a Sony notebook, two PS3 with twho different games and a PS3 playing the 3D BD of “Open Season”. Of course they were all absolutely crosstalk-free. However I’ve noticed a small blur effect at the edges of the screen area (for both eyes). You con regulate the binocular distance according to the size of your face but you con not get rid completely of that defect. The central area of the screen is always on-focus.

    My opinion is that after all it’s a good device but it is far from perfect. I hope that Sony or other producers will improve such devices since they are so far the only crosstalk-free solution for stereoscopic vision.

  • 7 Petri Teittinen // Oct 8, 2011 at 11:23

    I didn’t try this myself, but someone else who did commented that you can’t use prescription glasses simultaneously with the visor. That’s a big drawback for folks like me.

  • 8 Oren // Oct 8, 2011 at 13:27

    Looks awesome to use with 3D Vision gaming.
    The only problem is that I won’t be able to see the keyboard while wearing this…

  • 9 Gavi // Oct 8, 2011 at 14:42

    It makes us very happy to hear that you will get one: we cannot wait for your review.
    OLED 720 is great news and, in my opinion, combined with HDMI 1.4a, it is a product category that can finally establish itself.
    Please let us know:
    – What it is Fielf Of View?
    – How far away do you the producers are from removing the bulky box and making the HMD portable?
    – Why do you think that Sony did not add head-tracking?
    Personally, portability and head-tracking are essential features of an HDM, so I will wait half a year before purchasing an HMD.

  • 10 Bloody // Oct 8, 2011 at 15:26

    If the final product is not designed to work well for people wearing prescription glasses, then that would be a serious design flaw. Due to the fact that HMDs use focusing lenses if you have eye trouble requiring you to wear glasses, you will not be able to get a clear and well focused image without the glasses, practically making the device useless for you…

    According to Sony the FOV is 45 degrees.

    The answer for the question why no head-tracking is present lies in what types of uses Sony has had in mind for the device while designing it. If it was indeed intended mostly for PS3 and Blu-ray 3D movies as I’m presuming it is normal that a head tracker is not present (no need to add head-tracking support for the PS3 when you have the Move controller). Head-tracking can be very useful for PC and the PC was apparently not the priority market for the HMZ-T1, it is as simple as that.

  • 11 Pierreye // Oct 8, 2011 at 16:19

    I’m getting this for 360 degree gaming for PC. I manage to build my hybrid wii sharpshooter for this purpose. The tracking will be done on the wiimote + motionplus on top of the sharpshooter to provide the gyro info that is feed into GlovePIE. The demo below is a bit outdated as my previous bluetooth dongle doesn’t support PS Navigator. The new version I had remove the nunchuk and use PS Navigator that does provide more buttons.


  • 12 steve // Oct 8, 2011 at 20:43

    Cant wait to get one. I miss the total immersion feel of my old 35mm 3d slide viewer. I shot twin 35mm 3d slides for a long time and nothing really compares to holding that thing up to the light and its like you are there. Of all the 3d stuff I have done, nothing has impressed people more than that. Its just too inconvenient in many ways. I hope the quality is ok. It sounds a little hard to believe that these tiny little displays will put out a good 720p image.

  • 13 woorm // Oct 8, 2011 at 21:39

    For those wearing glasses – there are sliders for tweaking dioptric correction on the bottom side of the device.
    So if you do not need massive lens correction you should be more or less fine by manually adjusting it to your needs.

  • 14 eqzitara // Oct 9, 2011 at 07:03

    Problem is it seems sony store is the only provider on release date. I am hoping it will change and amazon will be available.

  • 15 StarKnight // Oct 9, 2011 at 08:55

    At Sony United an employee told me that Sony is going to start massive sales of this device only at the beginning of next year so you just need to wait a few months…

  • 16 blackrat // Oct 10, 2011 at 22:43

    For me, the main question (besides dioptric correction: e.g. I can read a paper 10 cm in front of my eyes without my correction glasses) is, how it will work with game-controller and mouse.

    Maybe there is a small space below the device so you can look down, esp. for using the keyboard. On the other hand, you should find many buttons blind on you game-controller, wheel, joystick or mouse, but i’s diffucult to judge this without practical tests, I’m eager to read!

  • 17 C3 // Oct 12, 2011 at 15:16

    Very interested in getting one of these. I’ve got a TrackIR, so for virtual reality gaming it should be ready out of the box with something like Arma 2 or iRacing.

  • 18 C3 // Oct 12, 2011 at 15:26

    One question: Would it work with the output from my Nvidia GTX 570? Would new drivers be required?

  • 19 Jeff Parker // Oct 16, 2011 at 01:22

    They should work with the GTX570, you might need to do the 3dtvplay unsupported display hack to get them going though.

  • 20 Damien // Oct 21, 2011 at 08:32

    I tried this unit today and was disappointed with the FOV. Looks like a 50″ inch screen from 1.5 meters away. My VR hopes are dashed but it will only get better from here on. still getting one tho

  • 21 Rohan // Oct 21, 2011 at 09:48

    Nice breakdown.

    I also plan on getting this when it comes out. I checked it out in the Tokyo Sony Store and was impressed. We are one step closer to a Tron-like world!

  • 22 Nathan // Oct 22, 2011 at 13:14

    Will these work with side by side vision sent over hdmi? I ask because I would like to use them with a stereoscoipc camera I am building- which displays footage on the PC with a fullscreen side by side window- this display could be routed to the headset over HDMI and tadaa! full 3D monitoring of my cameras… But only if the headset supports side by side… anyone able to give some information regarding this?

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