3D Vision Blog

A normal user's look into the world of 3D Stereo Technologies

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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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Sony With New 3D-capable Products at the IFA 2011 Trade Show

August 31st, 2011 · 1 Comment · Other S3D Tech

While Sony will most likely not be showing the just announced 3D Head Mounted Display HMZ-T1 and expected to be available in Japan this November, the company has a lot of other 3D products to announce and demonstrate during the IFA 2011 trade show in Berlin, Germany. These include for example the Sony VAIO L Series all-in-one 3D touchscreen multimedia PC, the 3D-capable Sony SMP-N200 Network Media Player, the Sony VPL-VW95ES 3D projector as well as the new 15.5-inch Sony VAIO S Series laptop with the optional VGP-FL3D15A ‘glasses-free’ 3D panel. All of them interesting products in terms of stereo 3D support that should start appearing on the market soon after the IFA trade show finishes…

I’m starting with the Sony VAIO L Series (VAIO VPCL21S1E/B) all-in-one (AIO) 3D touchscreen multimedia PC that should be available starting October this year. It is basically a 24-inch Full HD 3D-capable LED display with multi-touch support that has built-in PC components making it a full featured multimedia computer. The other hardware of the system includes a 2nd Generation Intel Core processor, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit OS, 8GB DDR3 SDRAM (1333MHz), 1TB HDD, NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M GPU with 1GB VRAM, Blu-ray Disc Drive with DVD SuperMulti, WLAN 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth Ver 3.0 + HS, Hi-Speed USB 2.0 (x3), SuperSpeed USB 3.0 (x2), HDMI Output (x1), HDMI Input (x1), HD Web Camera powered by “Exmor”, S-Force Front Surround 3D, Dolby Home Theater technology, Internal stereo speakers 5.5W + 5.5W as well as wireless keyboard and laser wireless mouse. This AIO PC is intended for multimedia use including for previewing 3D photos and videos and movies, and while it may also provide decent gaming performance it is not being advertised as a gaming solution. Still it probably comes with 3D Vision support using Sony’s active shutter glasses and you may be able to play some not so demanding games in stereo 3D mode on it, although this functionality needs confirmation. This AIO PC from Sony will be able to convert 2D movies and videos to 3D at the touch of a button and also comes with Family Paint 3D software, allowing to to make 3D drawings using the touchscreen with up to 5 depth layers which can be quite fun thing to do with kids. But this is also the first all-in-one PC with a 3D HDMI input, allowing this VAIO to display 3D video from a connected PlayStation 3 console or to use the console to game in stereo 3D mode.

Up next is the 3D-capable Sony SMP-N200 Network Media Player that according to Sony should be able to turn any TV into an Internet TV, that is if your HDTV is not already offering Internet connectivity with a bunch of features associated with it. It is still not very clear what kind of video formats will the device support, also including the 3D formats, but it will apparently support the “3D Experience” service offering free of charge on-demand streaming of 3D content (only available in some countries) as well as other online features. Other non-3D features announced from Sony include the availability of a web browser for example, although browsing from a TV-like remote control has never been the most comfortable things to do. The device will feature USB, WiFi and Ethernet connectivity for accessing media from other devices and also supports DLNA. It will have HDMI, component video output and composite video output, but only the HDMI will be usable for 3D content since it should be HDMI 1.4-capable.

Moving to the Sony VPL-VW95ES 3D projector, a high-end device intended for home cinema enthusiasts also interested in 3D support. Sony’s VPL-VW95ES projector is a successor to the VPL-VW90ES, which was announced last September, and was the company’s first 3D home cinema projector, so the new model builds on top of the successful previous one. It is a Full HD 3D-capable projector that uses HDMI 1.4 interface and is intended mostly for 3D movie lovers, although it can be used for stereoscopic 3D gaming as well with a game console such as the PS3 or any other compatible solution. The projector is equipped with Sony’s Advanced Iris 3 technology which includes a contrast enhancer to maximize the dynamic contrast ratio to up to 150,000:1, brightness of over 1,100 ANSI lumens and also supports 2D to 3D autoconversion. it is also expected to be available in October when probably we are also going to have more specifications about the device.

Lastly there is also the new 15.5-inch Sony VAIO S Series laptop which is interesting because of the the optional VGP-FL3D15A ‘glasses-free’ 3D panel. This extra accessory is available as an option for VAIO S Series models configured with Blu-ray Disc drive, that you can apparently attache to the laptop’s LCD display and make it into an autostereoscopic 3D one (no glasses required to see the 3D effect). Not much details go about the accessory yet, but apparently when used you can also use the laptop web camera face face tracking to optimize the 3D experience you are getting. Of course since the laptop is intended as a light and portable solution, stereo 3D gaming is not recommended here with the present AMD Radeon HD 6630M discrete graphics apart from the integrated Intel one. The stereo 3D capabilities the laptop gets with the optional accessory are more like for multimedia use such as 3D video and movie watching and for previewing 3D photos. Especially considering the fact that the 2D resolution of the laptop’s screen is Full HD, although in stereo 3D mode it will be reduced, the added extra performance need for rendering two frames for the 3D output will be quite demanding. Again, just like all other products mentioned above, this one should also be available on the market in October.

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Digital Cameras With 3D Photo Mode Coming, But Not 3D Cameras

August 26th, 2011 · 1 Comment · Shooting in 3D

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but lately there are a lot of new digital cameras that are getting their 3D treatment in the form of a 3D photo mode that works much the same mode as Sony’s 3D Sweep Panorama mode. Sony is the first company to add to a lot of its digital cameras this features that allows you to take 3D photos even though the camera has just one lens and sensor, by just moving the camera horizontally and taking multiple pictures out of which the camera software automatically makes a 3D photo. And now they are even bringing that feature to the latest Sony Ericsson Xperia smartphones, but that is to be expected when they already have the software developed and working quite well, so why not integrate it into more devices and say that they also have 3D features. But that is not the problem, the problem is that there are no new real 3D digital cameras coming out on the market, so it is pretty much still up to Fujifilm and their W3 camera to hold the position of the real 3D digital camera for a while more.

If you’ve been looking in the news in the last few days you’ve probably noticed that there are some new digital cameras being introduced from different companies that all have the 3D Photo mode, although they are normal 2D cameras. And I’m not talking about products from some unknown companies, but about pretty much all big names that already have or will soon have this software 3D Photo mode that should be able to automatically make 3D photos out of multiple 2D pictures taken with the camera. Aside from Sony who already have their 3D photo mode in multiple digital cameras, there is also Panasonic with a few models already on the market such as the Lumix ZS10/TZ20/FX78/FX77 and others or the latest Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150. Then there is also Nikon that recently announced their Nikon S100 digital camera with 3D Photo mode as well as Olympus with their SZ-10 or the upcoming PEN E-PM1 Mini that also gets a 3D Mode. Now, the only one missing here from the top names is Canon, so is it a matter of time before they also start adding such a 3D Photo mode to their compact digital cameras or maybe they are late, because they want to have a real 3D camera on the market. So if you are looking or a real 3D digital camera at the moment, then you better go for Fujifilm Real 3D W3 instead of considering getting any of these that only have a software 3D Photo mode to make 3D photographs. Just have in mind that these 3D Photo modes are more limited and are not usable for shooting moving objects and you are not able of course to take 3D videos as you can with a real 3D digital camera that has two lenses and sensors.

You can get the Fujifilm FinePix Real 3D W3 Digital Camera for about $300 USD…

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