Sony Personal 3D Viewer
I enjoy the work of Sony. I wouldn’t say I’m a fanboy, but I do like to think that the input of a Blu-Ray system in their PS3 was a mix of luck, chance and ingenuity that essentially saved their company. The next thing Sony are working on is a truly personalised home experience and their recently released Personal 3D Viewer is a wobbly step in the right direction. The white head-strapped viewing device is something I tried out earlier this year at Sony Sessions and was not disappointed when I played Gran Turismo 5 behind the wheel of a driving set up. However, we’ll get into some of its faults, as well as what it does well.
The sound for the product are two perfectly placed ear phones that make you look like a low-rent Princess Leia, but I wouldn’t worry about looks when you have that gigantic visor over your head. The sound quality is a perfect 5.1 surround sound as I tested it out with the 3D version of the Narnia sequel, Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and the Ryan Gosling vehicle, Drive.
Whilst you need to adjust the volume on the underside of the headset, which is confusing and a bit awkward at first, it kind of made me wish there was a separate controller or a Bluetooth connection to my PS3 controller that could have helped. At times, due to the size of the product I kind of felt like this was just a beta test model, rather than a fully furnished final product and it made me feel awkward wearing it most of the time. Regardless, the sound is fantastic and really centralises the listening experience, even on a low volume.
When people say a personal 3D viewer, the first thing that comes to mind is virtual reality and I have to tell you that for now, this is the closest thing that it may come to. The closeness of the images and the depth gives you a great viewing experience. However, there is one major flaw in the plan; the 3D does not work on non-3D properties, like the Sony 3D TV’s and apart of the point of 3D is being able to reach out to those invisible images.
I think Sony isn’t wrong with making a personal viewer, but a part of 3D is really being a part of it and when it’s just a visual part, it kind of alters the experience. It’s a great viewer and you can adjust the 3D settings to adjust to your eyes, no matter who you are, but that might take some time.
Setting up the Personal 3D Viewer is fairly simple, as long as you don’t have all your cords in a large non-movable cupboard like I do. Short of moving my large wobbly TV and pulling out some cords and then stringing them around like the world’s strongest spaghetti, I put it altogether within thirty minutes, but was left a bit flabbergasted by the end.
Once you’ve put all the cords in the right place, now you have to put some of the headset together and if you don’t have the right forehead or nose bridge adjustment, as the old South Park adage says; you’re going to have a bad time. I have to say that after viewing the 3D for about half an hour, I did want to take the gigantic cheese wheel off my face and go stare at paint drying just to adjust my peepers. Also trying to put the multi-corded and heavy bit of equipment out of the way of an overly excited white cat and away from family members who think all things I get in the mail are just some new gaming system that you can pick up and play like a Wii. I know it’s a toy, but please treat it with a bit more care.
- Great if you don’t want to show both your mates or loved ones
- Strong 3D and great audio
- Able to be hooked up to any PS3 or Blu-Ray player with HDMI
- Expensive as hell
- Ruins some of the elements of the 3D experience
- Takes a while to adjust and put together
- Fairly heavy and can hurt your face if not put together properly
The technology that’s gone into this is stunning and probably some kind of eventual prototype of something Sony are working on later in 2012, but sadly with the recent announcement of Project Glass by Google, I think Sony is going to have to either get more personal or change to a different market because other than rich guys who like to show off new gadgets, I’m not sure who the 3D viewer will appeal to. The viewing experience is meant to be shared and whilst I am in favour of not pissing off people around me, I think the 3D viewing experience is all about the shared viewing pleasures, which Sony seems to have cornered off with little bits of plastic sheeting.