What is Sony 3d glasses? It’s a freaking breakthrough!
No, seriously, through lifelong friendship with computer graphics I could remember only three milestones. The first one was back in 1995, when I switched from monochrome CGA display which was able to show only 4 shades of grey, to a full-coloured VGA with a whole lot of 256 colours! I still remember how deliberately cartoonishly colourful the game picture was back in the day.
The next revelation dates back to 1998 when I got a 3dfx. And the last is this 3D HMD.
The idea of a headmounted display is anything but new. In 1994, when I was dreaming about a VGA, VFX-1 helmet hit the market. Aside wonderful AKG headphones, it had two displays built-in. Those were TFT, a cutting edge technology back then and sported 180 thousand pixels resolution, which was somewhat standard. Just for comparison, modern 720p HD-Ready (not FullHD) displays have a resolution of 921 thousand pixels. The funny thing is VFX was closer to virtual reality then the Sony product, and head tracking is the reason. It registered head movements on the wearer and, with a noticeable but tolerable lag, adjusted the image accordingly. Sony’s helmet doesn’t have a gyro, but as it glows, maybe they could utilize the same camera technology used in Move controller to track the glasses position. Anyway, you could imagine that a couple dozen years back even the mere fantasy of getting a VFX caused massive wet emissions in shooter and simulator lovers.
However, the helmet was ahead of it’s time, and after 3rd revision the company ceased production. This is quite common in the IT world. For instance, in the early 1980 the home videogame giant Atari released CX-42 – the worlds first commercially available wireless joystick, and failed. As well as Nintendo which released the notorious PowerGlove in 1989. Or the early tablet GridPAD
released in the same year, from which Apple, which is treated as an inventor of the tablet PC for reason unknown, took many ideas for their Newton, released 4 years later, and also failed. The market was just not ready for such innovations. In that sense Sony is in a far better position, as there is plenty of 3d content now as well as customers desire to view it. But there’s a definite lack of technology to deliver it. Apart from shaky attempts to create a 3d screen which doesn’t need special glasses to view it, two main technologies are readily available for the consumers. The first one works best in cinema and home projectors and requires specially polarized glasses that separate images for left and right eye from a joint on-screen. Another one is for displays and requires special shutter-glasses to operate. The TV screen alternates between images for left and right eye, showing only one at a time, and the glasses shut the right or left eye accordingly, so that only the correct one will get the required picture. This technology is also a couple dozen years old. In the late nineties some NVidia videocards came bundled with very similar shutter-glasses, and the biggest concern was to find a CRT-monitor capable of producing 120Hz output at a decent resolution. The thing is the glasses cut the refresh rate in half, meaning each eye receives only 60Hz of the 120, and if this value is below 60 the screen starts to flicker noticeably causing severe headaches after minutes of use. It’s fair to say that the headaches are also a problem with todays top-of-the-line 3D TV and most impressive 3d cinemas, because the technology is rotten.
Sony’s 3d-glasses has none of these issues for the very simple reason: each eye has a separate display and receives a very own, uninterrupted feed. In this sense it doesn’t differ from prescription glasses, binoculars or those devices you used to view stereo photographs when you were a kid. Nevertheless, Sony’s 3d glasses are a product for enthusiasts. Unlike a 3d
cinema, where you just snap on the glasses and enjoy your popcorn, these glasses require rigorous calibration exactly for the user, or the 3d won’t be so immersive. Rigorous doesn’t mean hard, you just stick to certain rules. The lower belt must be on hindhead, not on top of the head, and the front pad must be on you forehead. All the weight is supposed to be on this pad, not on your nose, this is extremely important! By playing with pads of different size and their position, adjust the distance between the displays and your eyes, and by moving the lenses adjust the distance between left and right eye.
When you’re done, you’re free to go! Of cause this is more like jerking-off, since others won’t be able to share the pleasure with you. And in general this is more of a personal, single-owner device, as it must be readjusted for a new user which is not exactly convenient. As for the headaches there are none, but at first you may feel a little sea sick as your vestibular needs some time to adjust. You’ll be good after a couple days of usage.
So, if you have a strong desire to get one, you’ll have to pick a model.Of course, many other products are available, but most of them and ill-designed and poorly made. There’s really no alternative to a Sony as for now.
Sony offers two products – HMZ-T1 and the new HMZ-T2. Which one should you get? The choice is not that easy. There’s a price point. The first model is pricey, but the second costs twice as much. So, what benefits are in store for you if you pay double?
Well, the official site markets the new model to provide “full high definition images”. For any sane person, full high definition is FullHD, 1080p or 1920×1080. It’s not! The actual resolution is 720p exactly the same as in the first model. You don’t have to read the rest, but we’ll finish anyway. The main difference from the first model is that the second weights 20 percent less. How exactly did it lose weight? By sacrificing quite decent open headphones. The second model has earphones! Apart from the obvious hygiene issue when used by whole family, the sound will be very unimpressive, since while the first model offers 1000 mWt of power, the second is 10 times weaker with only 100 mWt of power. That reads “say good by to massive explosions and realistic gunfire”.
So for twice the money, you basically get the same product with downgraded features.