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The New Sony HMZ-T3W Head Mounted Display – More of the Same

September 7th, 2013 · 8 Comments · 3D / AR / VR / HMD


If you were expecting Sony to bring something new and innovative rivaling what the Oculus Rift offers already in terms of immersion, then you will most likely be disappointed by the new Sony HMZ-T3W HMD device that the company has just announced. The HMZ-T3 is the third generation of 3D-capable HMD from Sony in their more recent experience that the company has in the HMD device market, as some years ago they have had other HDM devices as well. The new T3 does not add in the visual or immersion factors as it is still equipped with 1280×720 OLED displays for each eye and provides 45 degrees field of view, the same specs as the previous model had. And though not yet officially announced the device supposedly will use HDMI 1.4(a) frame packaging method for stereoscopic 3D support ensuring compatibility with the PlayStation 3 console and possibly the new PlayStation 4. And while the use of HDMI 1.4 interface for 3D makes it compatible for gaming in stereo 3D on PC as well, PC gamers will most likely want to wait a bit more for the consumer version of the Oculus Rift.


Sony HMZ-T3W Head Mounted Display Specifications:

– Display device: OLED panel x2 (1280×720 resolution)
– Virtual image size: 750 inches at 20m distance
– 3D ready: Yes
– Field of view: 45 degrees
– Headphone driver: 16mm
– Headphone frequency response: 4-27000 Hz
– Headphone sensitivity: 106dB/mW
– Picture Modes: Vivid, Standard, Cinema, Game 1/2/3/4, Custom 1/2
– Picture Settings: Clear Black, Picture, Brightness, Colour Temperature, Sharpness
– 24p True Cinema: Yes
– Picture Control for Dark Adaptation: Yes
– Preset Audio Modes: Standard, Cinema, Game, Music, Off
– HDMI/MHL Input(s) and Output(s): Processor Unit: 3 inputs (HDMI) / 1 through-output(HDMI) / Battery Unit: 1 input (MHL/HDMI)
– HMD Output(s): 1 output (HDMI)
– HDMI CEC Control: Play, Pause, Next, Previous, Fast forward, Fast rewind
– Other features: Video through-out, Auto power off, Wearing sensor, Prolonged viewing warning, password function
– Dimensions (WxHxD): Approx.189 x148 x270mm (Head Mounted Unit – with bands) / 80 x26 x119 (Battery Unit) / 150 x 31 x 107mm (Processor Unit)
– Weight: Approx. 320g (Head Mounted Unit – cable not included) / 210g (Battery Unit – cable not included) / 250g (Processor Unit)
– Battery life (with in-built lithium battery): 3h (wireless connection) / 7h(HDMI connection) / 3h (MHL connection)
– Supplied accessories: In-ear headphones, headphones attachments (S/M/L), 2x AC adaptors, AC cable, 1.5m HDMI cable, ambient light shield, carrying case


So what is new in the Sony HMZ-T3W HMD device? Slightly different design, just a bit lighter and a wireless option and a mobile battery. The useful feature here is definitely the support of WirelessHD technology for streaming the video without cables to the HMD device if your hardware is also capable of supporting the WirelessHD technology (supposedly with very low lag). And in order to be able to loose the cables you will also need a battery, so that you will not have to use not only a video cable, but a power cable as well and the HMZ-T3W does provide that as well. The battery should be able to provide you with up to 3h for full wireless connection or up to 7h when using HDMI cable connection for the video, though you probably would want to use the full wireless option.

According to Sony the new HMZ-T3W Head Mounted Display will be available in November 2013 in Europe and the announced price in Germany is 1299 Euro and in the UK is £1299 Pounds, there is no price and release date yet available for the American market.

For more information about the new Sony HMZ-T3W 3D-capable HMD device…

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List of the Available and Up to Date 3D-capable HMD Devices

February 23rd, 2013 · No Comments · 3D / AR / VR / HMD

We’ve had various Head Mounted Display (HMD) consumer oriented devices some with 3D support as well for years already and they still haven’t become a popular and widespread solution for Virtual Reality applications and gaming in particular. Aside from the fact that these devices have been updated in terms of resolution by using newer display technology and getting somewhat more affordable prices nothing much has been improved to making them a more suitable solution for VR applications and making them more attractive to consumers. Or at least that was the situation before the Oculus Rift has been announced and now, just a few more days before the first developer units of the Rift start shipping it is time to take a look at what other alternatives are currently available at the moment and what they offer in terms of basic specifications and features as well as how they differ from the Rift.

Oculus Rift Developer Version:

– Resolution: 1280×800 (640×800 per eye)
– Panel Type: LCD
– Video Input: DVI/HDMI
– 3D Input Type: Side by Side with optical distortion
– Field of View: 110 degrees diagonal (adjustable)
– Horizontal FOV: 90 degrees
– Weight: 220 grams
– Head Tracking: Available
– Price: $300 USD for the dev kit
Official Website


Sony HMZ-T1 / HMZ-T2:

– Resolution: 1280×720 per eye
– Panel Type: OLED
– Video Input: HDMI
– 3D Input Type: HDMI 1.4 frame packaging
– Field of View: 51 degrees diagonal
– Horizontal FOV: 45 degrees
– Weight: 420 grams (330 grams for the T2)
– Head Tracking: Not available
– Price: $799.99 USD
Official Website


Silicon MicroDisplay ST1080:

– Resolution: 1920×1080 per eye
– Panel Type: LCoS
– Video Input: HDMI
– 3D Input Type: HDMI 1.4 frame packaging
– Field of View: 45 degrees diagonal
– Horizontal FOV: ?
– Weight: 180 grams
– Head Tracking: Not available
– Price: $799 USD
Official Website


Carl Zeiss Cinemizer OLED:

– Resolution: 870×500 per eye
– Panel Type: OLED
– Video Input: HDMI
– 3D Input Type: HDMI 1.4 frame packaging
– Field of View: 30(?) degrees diagonal
– Horizontal FOV: 30 degrees
– Weight: 120 grams
– Head Tracking: Available (optional)
– Price: $749 USD
Official Website


Vuzix Wrap 1200VR:

– Resolution: 852×480 per eye
– Panel Type: LCD
– Video Input: VGA
– 3D Input Type: Side by Side
– Field of View: 35 degrees diagonal
– Horizontal FOV: ?
– Weight: 85 grams
– Head Tracking: Available
– Price: $499 USD
Official Website

As you can see there are quite a few different approaches, offering different features and with different specifications. What is common for most of these devices, apart from the Rift is that they all offer much lower FOV and that makes it very hard to achieve a good sense of immersion. With the implementation of the Rift for achieving a much larger FOV we see that what others needed was to change their approach, something that hasn’t been done for years in the segment of HMD devices. The side effect is that you get a device that needs a special kind of input, so you just cannot connect it to a PC and start using, something that you can do with all other devices mentioned here. And while this lack of universal support might be a bit of problem at first it also ensures that getting official support in an application or a game for the Rift can ensure great experiences and immersion, even though the resolution is lower than on some other competitive products. For example Sony HMZ-T1 and HMZ-T2, Silicon MicroDisplay ST1080 and the Carl Zeiss Cinemizer OLED all use HDMI 1.4 and rely on frame packaging for stereo 3D image support and the Vuzix Wrap 1200VR offers Side by Side support. This makes it very easy to use these devices for gaming with the help of already available software solutions such as Nvidia’s 3DTV Play or DDD’s TriDef 3D software, but what you get might not be very immersive as something that you’d expect form such a HMD, in a sense it will be much close to using a normal 3D monitor placed at a larger distance than you normally would use it from. There are other things that can be considered, but in the end it should be all about the experience you are getting, right?

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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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