Sony HMZ-T1 3D Personal 3D Viewer: An Eye Candy Experience that is Hard to Match
By J.R. Nelson
Remember those video goggles that were a mainstay of science fiction and “the future”, as depicted by 80s TV and movies?
Well, we’ve had video goggles in some fashion or another for quite some time now, and they all share pretty much one thing in common: they’re uniformly terrible. Every year when I go to CES, there are inevitably two or three vendors who have “finally cracked” the code to making a great headset, and every year I am disappointed. Thanks to Sony, however, that’s changed. Their new HMZ-T1 Personal 3D Viewer is hands down the best product of its kind that I’ve ever used.
Sony is known for producing pretty well designed gear, and the HMZ-T1 is no different. It’s sleek and curved, and the white band in front, emblazoned with the Sony logo, helps to set it apart from the rest of the dreams-of-a-black-glass-future market.
Honestly, though, does the design matter all that much? Well, not really. You’re certainly not going to be looking at the thing while you’re watching video, and let’s be honest – no matter how pretty it is, you’re still going to look a bit ridiculous while wearing it. What really matters is what’s on the side – and this has some pretty great insides.
Just a few years ago, Sony made waves by releasing the first television using an OLED panel. It was ultra thin, and ultra gorgeous – and ultra expensive, too, running $2,499 for a 11-inch panel. It wasn’t even full HD, either, as the XEL-1 only managed to deliver 960×540 pixels of resolution.
Since that time, of course, prices have come down substantially on this technology – some of today’s hottest smartphones manage to meet and exceed Sony’s TV, offering 1280×720 pixels in a much smaller OLED display. Well, Sony’s managed to make something special yet again.
Inside of the HMZ-T1 are two separate OLED displays, each running at 1280×720. Sony claims that the result of pushing these screens so close to your eyes means that you’ll “feel” like you’re watching a 120-inch display from 12 feet away. Whether that’s accurate, well, that’ll depend on the viewer. Headphones on the left and right provide virtualized 5.1 surround sound. The picture is sharp and clear, and the 3D effect is frankly outstanding. That’s due in part to the elimination of “crosstalk”, a problem in stereoscopic 3D displays.
So, the real question comes – how much can you expect to pay for a glimpse of the future? Well…you can’t put a price on cutting-edge fun, right? I mean…okay, okay, I’ll ‘fess up. They’re not cheap, coming in at $799; in fact, they might be the most expensive items on our list! But it’s just *so* cool, and that’s worth a lot, too.
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