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Oculus Rift vs Sony HMZ-T1 vs Silicon MicroDisplay ST1080

August 2nd, 2012 · 13 Comments · 3D / AR / VR / HMD

Among the more recently released Head Mounted Displays there are the Sony HMZ-T1 and Silicon MicroDisplay ST1080 so you can say that these will be the major competitors for the new Oculus Rift project. I’ve put the more important specs of these three HMD devices in the table above so that you can easily make a comparison between them.

As you can see both the HMZ-T1 and the ST1080 use HDMI 1.4 interface for the video (2D and 3D), and that makes them compatible not only with PCs, but all kinds of other consumer electronic devices as well as smartphones and tablets – HDMI 1.4 in an industry standard supporting 3D content. On the other hand the Oculus Rift uses DVI, though with adapter you can get it compatible with HDMI as well, but there is no support for HDMI 1.4 frame packaging available. Furthermore the Oculus Rift not only needs Side by Side input for the 3D, but the image also needs to be processed by the PC adding optical distortion adjustment that produces a correct 3D image on the device. This means that you’d need a compatible game to output in the specific format required by the device, but hopefully we’ll get a software solution that could process the standard input from any game adding the needed image distortion, a hardware implementation doing that on the device itself could be possible, but there you need to be careful with the input lag. Either way if there is no way to provide support for input from games and other content that is not specially optimized for Oculus Rift, then the device may turn out to be a bit of disappointment having to wait a lot for specially optimized games and initially there won’t be that many…

There is a lot of talk going around the lower resolution of the initial development version of Oculus Rift, though that the developers say that for the consumer version the resolution might be increased. Actually the lower resolution as compared to the other two alternatives is not that much of a problem, if you’ve used a lower resolution HMD device you should be aware of that already, but I suppose than not that many people actually have. What is much more of a problem with other HMD devices is the low FOV the offer the user, so instead of getting an immerse experience you get a feeling like you are in a dark tunnel and the image is like the light at the end of the tunnel. Oculus Rift promises more than double the field of view as compared to what Sony and Silicon MicroDisplay currently have in their products, so the immersion factor should be much better and that is more important than to have an insane amount of pixels on the display.

The head tracking option in the Oculus Rift if implemented properly in games and software can really help further the immersion effect as it will allow you to use much bigger virtual display for example by just moving your head around, that however needs to be properly implemented in games and software. And another thing that needs to be addressed seriously is the game controls when wearing the HMD as this could be an issue, though most gamers don’t need to look at their keyboard and mouse while they play anyway. Anyway Oculus Rift is indeed a very promising product and it is already receiving a lot of deserved support from developers and users from all around the world, but all the hype aside we’ll have to wait and see hat the dev kits will look like and what will they support first, before actually starting to talk about the consumer version and its wide availability and adoption…

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13 responses so far ↓

  • 1 quadrophoeniX // Aug 2, 2012 at 18:21

    [quote]Actually the lower resolution is not that much of a problem, if you’ve used a lower resolution HMD device you should be aware of that already, but I suppose than not that many people actually have. [/quote]

    I do, and in fact it is exactly the low res that have put me off the kickstarter project and have me wait for the consumer version, and here is why:

    [quote] double the field of view immersion factor should be much better and that is more important than to have an insane amount of pixels on the display.[/quote]
    The problem with that impressive high FOV is exactly that the low resolution will be much more obvious than on lower FOVs as the low count is stretched over a much larger area. The worst thing is that, while 800lines would be absolutely fine, the limitation affects especially the horizontal pane that makes up for most part of the FOV. Basically, if we (this time for real) asume a visual experience comparable to a cinema screen, this reflects watching NTSC material in a theatre….

  • 2 Eqzitara // Aug 2, 2012 at 18:38

    Part of me really wants one. It would be awesome to play some games, especially 2D ones that I passed on with a high FOV/ head tracking device. I think it can add some of the immersion I would miss from not playing in 3D.
    They keep talking about a “super” version though. So I will wait. I don’t mind paying 3 x as much for a much higher resolution version. The device is definitely a good new direction for HMD’s though.

  • 3 Bloody // Aug 2, 2012 at 18:40

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against having higher resolution, but at this price point and with the features that the Oculus Rift has things are looking good for the dev kit and even better for a higher resolution version for consumer release hopefully sometime next year. However somebody has to be producing suitable higher resolution panels in order for the cost to be reasonable, after all one of the goals of the project is to make the device affordable…

  • 4 quadrophoeniX // Aug 2, 2012 at 18:59

    Don’t get me wrong either. I am absolutely excited and positive about what Palmer has achieved so far and even more about his future vision (literally ;)… And, yes, the price is in fact a bargain. Still, with limited software support [i]and[/i] resolution I have decided to save the 300,- and just stack that up on my budget once he manages to supply a higher res variant as announced on MTBS….
    2 commnets more:
    IMHO, with LCD the pixel grid will be more prominent on the Rift compared to the OLED and LCoS.

    lastly, with sbs Occulus Rift is (atm) a gamer product only, while the other 2 apparently mainly focus on s3D video playback (alitlle bit of PS3 and 3DTVplay gaming on the side dish)

  • 5 Merigoldsass // Aug 2, 2012 at 19:38

    The Kickstarter page mentions that the Oculus Rift should have a higher resolution (higher than 1280 X 800) when the consumer version is released. Here is the quote from a question about resolution.

    “While it’s true that the developer kit uses a relatively low-resolution screen (1280×800), we promise it delivers a compelling, immersive 3D experience. And to be clear, we plan on improving the resolution of the screen for the consumer version. Stay tuned for more details!”

  • 6 Eqzitara // Aug 3, 2012 at 00:58

    I totally missed that merigold(i tried reading your name and couldnt at first, then started laughing).
    Im pretty hyped about a higher res version. 720P 3d gaming on a projecter is very underrated so resolution isnt that a huge deal to me but the current resolution version is still a bit low. If they get a 1080P equivalent in SBS Id totally be on board.

    My only other concern is the “Distortion”. I am curious if it requires developer support. There is a projector software that does something similiar called warpalizer, its used with multiple projector setups. If it requires dev. support I don’t know how that will work out. Its hard enough to get dev’s to support 3D.

  • 7 Merigoldsass // Aug 3, 2012 at 11:59

    @Eqzitara glad my name made you laugh. I tried to pick something that I like. I just received a Panasonic ST30 50 inch 3d tv in the mail, so I guess I am about to find out about 3D Vision gaming with 720p. I did try it on my computer and it looked kind of crappy. Luckily I can always go back to my 3D monitor to play games at 1080p in 3d. I still have no clue why 3DTVs do not have a DVI-D port to enable 1080p 3d gaming.

  • 8 williamepps // Aug 6, 2012 at 13:22

    Abrash just downplayed stereoscopics versus Parallax, relating to the rift I suppose, but below is one neuroscientists medial account of how Sterescopics is far more important, now I am confused. Which is more important, parallax or stereoscopy? Can anyone point me to more info? Thanks.

    M.Abrash:”Stereoscopy is not that important. Parallax is more important: we need good head tracking”


  • 9 Bloody // Aug 6, 2012 at 13:31

    Both are important, however you should be aware that they are talking about different types of medium for visualizing the content on. Michael Abrash is apparently talking about the Oculus Rift which is a VR headset and Barry Sandrew is talking about 3D movies in movie theaters…

  • 10 williamepps // Aug 6, 2012 at 17:06

    True Bloody, but can you direct me to any medical info that substantiates this claim from the article? Even the neuroscientist himself said he was teaching faulty info before he was corrected. Specifically the part about finer grain and lower thresholds, I want to find that exact data, can you please help Bloody?

    “Entering awe-inspiring European cathedrals I always had to keep moving, sometimes to the annoyance of my companions, to appreciate the dimensionality of the space from parallax alone; I suspect that I could now experience them even better from stereo disparity alone. A year ago Dr. Suzanne McKee gave a masterful talk on stereopsis at our department; I objected that parallax could provide the same information, but she informed me that stereopsis provides finer-grained stereoscopic information than motion parallax, at lower thresholds. That took me aback, as I had thought and taught for years that the two sources of 3D information should be equivalent, one successive and the other simultaneous.

  • 11 Zerofool // Aug 7, 2012 at 00:25

    All you resolution junkies should probably wait for the consumer version, currently referred to as “Oculus Rift 2.0” which should come with 1080p+ display (in 2013), for under 1000$.


    I myself will wait for broader support for the device before buying it (through 3rd party driver or something). After all, playing just Doom3 will get boring eventually, as immersive as it may be ;).

  • 12 Eqzitara // Aug 7, 2012 at 07:40

    WOW. Thats what I want. I hope nvidia supports side by side then.

  • 13 Benjamin "Reticuli" Goulart // Aug 25, 2012 at 22:08

    You need to list the various FPS in the various modes for the models listed.

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