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Sony Officially Intros 3D Head Mounted Display

By - Source: Sony | B 29 comments

So much for going out to the movies on Friday night: now everyone can watch theater-quality 3D movies at home by wearing headgear seemingly ripped right out of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Forget the Viewmaster: Wednesday in Tokyo, Sony announced the upcoming launch of the "world's first" head-mounted personal 3D viewer, the HMZ-T1. Looking like head gear ripped straight out of a sci-fi movie (pew pew eyes like Scott "Cyclops" summers), the 3D visor offers both 2D and 3D content up close and personal, spread out across a theater-like virtual screen, or rather, the equivalent of a 62.5-foot (750-inch) screen viewed from about 60 feet away.

That's right: the days of actually going out in public to see a movie are rapidly drawing to a close. "The hardest part for us was to make it as small-sized as possible, while maintaining high definition, but we succeeded," Shigeru Kato, a Sony vice president, told Reuters. "People can enjoy watching a favorite movie or play a videogame on their own without bothering other family members."

Honestly, this is a movie junkie's dream come true. The headset packs a pair of 3D-capable 1280 x 720 OLED panels which receives input from an HDMI source like a Blu-ray player, a PC, Sony’s PlayStation 3 console and other 3D hardware and media. The screens also use Sony's 45-degree optical lens technology to reduce 3D crosstalk to nearly zero.

"'HMZ-T1' adopts the 'Dual Panel 3D method,' which utilizes separate panels for the left and right eyes, each with its own dedicated 3D video," the company explained in a press release Wednesday. "Therefore, it does not generate crosstalk. Furthermore, as the HD quality video is displayed separately on each of the panels, viewers can now enjoy high resolution 3D video that is natural, bright and extremely pure, to an extent that had not been possible until now."

On the audio front, 5.1 multi-channel virtual surround sound completes the full-on immersive package. Users can select four different surround modes including Standard, Cinema for emulating a movie theater experience, Game for reproducing a clear sense of direction, and Music for those who simply want to hear tunes in the 60,000 yen ($784) specs. A control key located behind the front of the device is used to control the volume as well as basic operations such as playback, pause, fast forward, rewind, previous chapter, next chapter.

"Before, watching a movie on a big screen was a pastime for the whole family, but now there is a growing demand from people who want to enjoy videos on large-sized screens alone," Kato added.

The 3D specs comes with an additional processor unit that is equipped with a built-in HDMI output switcher so that users can switch between the Head Mounted Display and an additional connected HDTV. It also charges the headset when it's not in use – Sony says that a wearable sensor automatically turns off the two screens when the viewer isn't donning the futuristic specs.

But while Sony’s upcoming Head Mounted Display sounds just awesomely cool, the company warns that it's not for everyone. "Considering the protection of the growth and development, we ask children (age 15 and younger) to refrain from using this product," the company said. "In any rough or unstable environment with a propensity for travel sickness to occur (such as in a vehicle), we ask our customers to refrain from using the device."

The headset will initially launch in Japan on November 11 for 60,000 yen ($784 USD). So far there's no word on when the device will arrive here in the States, but we're betting it will be in the same timeframe as the launch of Sony's handheld platform, the PlayStation Vita.

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Top Comments
  • 10 Hide
    dalethepcman , August 31, 2011 10:47 PM
    This might be useful for 3d pron, but I think anyone around would still notice when you drop your pants...

    As a side note, cut down on the sensationalism. I know your just copying and pasting what Sony has published, but come on. Its also the equivalent to a 15" screen viewed from 12" away (doesn't sound that big now does it). Or you can say "This is like viewing a screen 25% larger than the SUN* (from a distance of 1au)" if your going to sensationalize things, go big or go home!
Other Comments
  • 3 Hide
    Hellbound , August 31, 2011 9:58 PM
    $800 for a screen only you can enjoy is a bit much to ask for. I would have to see one in action first..
  • 7 Hide
    drapacioli , August 31, 2011 10:13 PM
    I don't know, $800 seems like a bit much...and the idea of not going to the movies with friends or family is kind of a negative in my book. Gaming would bee cool in that though. Maybe in 6 years it'll be cheap enough for me to buy.
  • Display all 29 comments.
  • 7 Hide
    gmp23 , August 31, 2011 10:24 PM
    At least you won't be able to see the people making fun of you for wearing it....
  • 2 Hide
    sunflier , August 31, 2011 10:30 PM
    Curious of its weight. I imagine after watching a movie for an hour your neck will start to ache??
  • -7 Hide
    alchemy69 , August 31, 2011 10:31 PM
    A pair of 3D capable screens, what's the point in that? A pair of regular 2D screens is all you need.
  • 2 Hide
    vittau , August 31, 2011 10:32 PM
    1280x720? $800? I'll boldly pass...
  • 4 Hide
    Anonymous , August 31, 2011 10:33 PM
    il pay that much when its a contact lense that creates a holograph infront of me
  • 0 Hide
    TeKEffect , August 31, 2011 10:38 PM
    a lot of poor people on Toms today. If it was $100 would you think it had a chance of being decent. The price at least makes me curious about the quality of it.
  • 5 Hide
    9th , August 31, 2011 10:39 PM
    Don't know about this being the first 3D glasses. Virtual Products released Virtual i-O glasses for 3-D viewing with head tracking support back in 1995. Though there weren't that many programs/videos available in 3-D back then unlike nowadays so it didn't take off.
  • 4 Hide
    mjello , August 31, 2011 10:39 PM
    Seems a bit big. I want the wrap 1200 sunglasses style :D 

    http://www.vuzix.com/consumer/products_wrap_1200.html

    But even worse resolution. I want to try before I buy. If they are a "half immersive" flickering experience like the last one I tried then the wait is not over for me.

    I wonder why they can put a 1080p panel the size of a coin in a projector, But somehow they can't make that work in a 3d head mounted display ?? Anyone know the technical realities that limits the resolution?.
  • 10 Hide
    dalethepcman , August 31, 2011 10:47 PM
    This might be useful for 3d pron, but I think anyone around would still notice when you drop your pants...

    As a side note, cut down on the sensationalism. I know your just copying and pasting what Sony has published, but come on. Its also the equivalent to a 15" screen viewed from 12" away (doesn't sound that big now does it). Or you can say "This is like viewing a screen 25% larger than the SUN* (from a distance of 1au)" if your going to sensationalize things, go big or go home!
  • 1 Hide
    leadpoop , August 31, 2011 10:48 PM
    How long before they remove the headset feature?
  • 6 Hide
    Specter0420 , August 31, 2011 10:57 PM
    When combined with TrackIR, you would get a virtual reality setup that would be pretty sweet. It would be perfect for those flight simulators with full range of movement and clickable cockpits, like DCS A-10 and DCS Black Shark. Really any TrackIr game would be awesome! Go to YouTube and search for TrackIR if you don’t know what it is and you will see what I am talking about.
  • 2 Hide
    mjello , August 31, 2011 11:30 PM
    ->Dalethepcman While I agree with you on the sensationalism sillyness. The screen description is accurate. Its made this way because the appearance of the screen, when you look at it, will actually be 60 feet away and probably gives the roomy feel of being in a theater.

    It can't really be compared to a 15" screen 12" away. Its the focal point that decides the distance and screen size. Even if its an illusion it still appears that way.

    As an example the vuzix solution has a focal point that is a lot closer. 10 feet and 75 inch.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , August 31, 2011 11:34 PM
    the future come closer where the online game "the world" from [dot]hack games become reality .. it's gonna be fun !
  • 0 Hide
    vittau , August 31, 2011 11:43 PM
    TeKEffecta lot of poor people on Toms today. If it was $100 would you think it had a chance of being decent. The price at least makes me curious about the quality of it.

    Buy the Razer Blade while you're at it.
  • 0 Hide
    LORD_ORION , September 1, 2011 12:46 AM
    OK seriously, Virtual IO has had this for like 15+ years.

    I remember playing Magic Carpet in 3D with the headset also doing motion tracking in the 486 days, and then afterwords watching 3D jaws from a VCR.

    "world's first" head-mounted personal 3D viewer" is pretty much an all around BS claim.
  • 1 Hide
    Kileak , September 1, 2011 1:07 AM
    I wouldn't be surprised that many people using these will get nausea the same way people get seasick / carsick etc.

    On the bright side; Yay! You can watch 3D on the toilet!
  • 2 Hide
    drumsrule786 , September 1, 2011 1:14 AM
    So a giant screen with only 720p? The tech sounds really cool but that would be pretty low res. This will become a lot better when they go 1080p or even 1440p, if they ever do...
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , September 1, 2011 3:24 AM
    its not a giant screen. its a tiny screen simulating the effect of a giant screen. being as small as the display actually is, even 720p is more pixels than it needs. you wouldn't be able to physically see any more pixels than that. those would be prrrreeetttyyy small pixels to cram 1920x1080 into a screen that can't be more than an inch or two big. the reason why a projector is actually 1080p is because a projector is actually producing an extremely large image on a wall or white screen and because of that screens actual size, you would indeed be able to tell the difference between 720p and 1080p.
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