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Are the 3D-Capable HMD Devices Ready For Their Prime Time

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.

For more information about the SiliconMicroDisplay ST1080 HDM device…

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