Sony shows wearable 3-D personal theater

August 31, 2011 By YURI KAGEYAMA , AP Business Writer
Sony shows wearable 3-D personal theater (AP)
A model wears a 60,000 yen ($800) HMZ personal 3-D viewer during a news conference at Sony headquarters in Tokyo Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2011. Sony Corp. says it will start selling a head mounted display that provides a 3-D theater of music videos, movies and games, targeting people who prefer solitary entertainment rather than sitting in front of a TV with family or friends. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)

Sony says it will start selling a head mounted display that provides a 3-D theater of music videos, movies and games, targeting people who prefer solitary entertainment rather than sitting in front of a TV with family or friends.

Sony Corp. said Wednesday that the 60,000 yen ($800) "HMZ personal 3-D viewer" is set to go on sale Nov. 11 in Japan, and is planned for the U.S. and Europe, perhaps in time for Christmas, although dates have not yet been set.

Resembling a futuristic visor, HMZ, which stands for "head mounted display," is worn like chunky goggles-and-earphones in one.

The footage before the viewer - a music video of a Japanese singer in the demonstration for reporters in Tokyo - is crystal-clear and feels like peering into a dolls house in which a real-life tiny singer is moving.

It seems unlikely that most people - or even technology enthusiasts - will want to buy a product that involves sitting alone and wearing a little helmet. The HMZ might not be Sony's long awaited answer to Apple's iPod or iPad but just another quirky device packed with cutting-edge technology that is headed for a limited niche following.

A 3-D wearable Virtual Boy from Nintendo Co., which went on sale in the 1990s, bombed, partly because of the bulky headgear required as well as the image being all red.

A model displays the new Sony 3D head mount display (HMD) "HMZ-T1" during an unveiling ceremony in Tokyo. Sony unveiled what it calls the world's first three-dimensional head mounted display, a device that enables its wearer to experience cinema-like virtual screen viewing.

Sony's latest product is far more sophisticated. Sony officials said the gadget delivers the immersive experience of a home-theater, or the equivalent of sitting in one of the best seats of a movie theater.

The machine, which hooks up to Blu-ray disc players and , is targeting people who want to enjoy movies or games alone.

It is not recommended for people 15 years old and younger because some experts believe overly stimulating imagery is not good for teenagers whose brains are still developing, according to Shigeru Kato, a Sony vice president.

On the plus side, consumers are growing more accustomed to 3-D these days, with the arrival of 3-D TVs and game machines. Kato noted the most popular movies last year, including "Avatar" and "Toy Story 3," were 3-D.

HMZ uses Sony's own OLED screen, a relatively new kind of display that relays superb image quality and color, compared to the more prevalent liquid crystal and plasma displays used in laptops and flat-panel TVs.

Kato said the major challenge had been making a very small display without compromising image quality.

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9 comments

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ShotmanMaslo
4.8 / 5 (4) Aug 31, 2011
Nice, this is something I would definately buy, and I am not sure why such 3D head-mounted displays are not sold routinely by now as an alternative to bulky monitors.
Egnite
5 / 5 (3) Aug 31, 2011
Its more appealling than a 3d tv but it could do with some upgrades before I'd purchase one - make it wireless and add motion sensors. That way the next CoD could be legendary!!
jselin
5 / 5 (1) Aug 31, 2011
This would be nice for CAD work
Valentiinro
3 / 5 (1) Aug 31, 2011
Nice, this is something I would definately buy, and I am not sure why such 3D head-mounted displays are not sold routinely by now as an alternative to bulky monitors.


Well, not being able to show someone what is on your screen simply by pointing and saying "look at this" would be annoying. That's one reason.
Not that I don't think this is awesome.
dirk_bruere
3 / 5 (2) Aug 31, 2011
Just give me a 1080p monocle at $100
CHollman82
2.5 / 5 (2) Sep 02, 2011
"targeting people who prefer solitary entertainment rather than sitting in front of a TV with family or friends."

That's sad... I don't think that's the best target audience, or at least the best one to state to the press... public transit commuters and frequent fliers maybe.
Royale
not rated yet Sep 02, 2011
If you were on public transit would you really want to cover your eyes? Although I would on a plane, I sure wouldn't on public transit... Maybe that's just me though...
Vendicar_Decarian
1.5 / 5 (2) Sep 04, 2011
Insufficient resolution to replace a computer monitor.

1920 x 1280 is the minimum resolution applicable.

Get there and you have a big win.
Eoprime
not rated yet Sep 12, 2011
Insufficient resolution to replace a computer monitor.

1920 x 1280 is the minimum resolution applicable.


Its more about dpi when watching screens 5cm infront of your eyes

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