Sony HMZ-T1 3D head mounted display
Strap-on movies for your pleasure
Review Watching a movie with Sony’s strap-on Personal 3D Head Mounted Display is one of the more extraordinary cinematic experiences you can have. Imagine the intensity of large screen IMAX somehow ciphered through display panels more befitting a digital camera. It’s like watching TV in a sensory deprivation tank: weird, uncomfortable and yet strangely addictive.
Viewing spectacle: Sony's HMZ-T1 Personal 3D Head Mounted Display
Not that I’ve worked out who would actually want to buy a HMZ-T1 headset and I suspect Sony hasn’t either. Only a limited number are shipping into the UK (an unofficial source – actually a salesman working in the Harrods Sony Centre - told me it could be as low as 250 units, which may or may not be true); at £800 Sony clearly doesn’t consider it a mass market proposition. But that doesn’t make it any the less fascinating.
Sony has dabbled with video headsets before – congratulations if you have a Glasstron in your loft, circa 1997, it’s probably worth a mint by now – but this is radically different. The HMZ-T1 is a two-part system comprising a 3D Head Mounted Display and HDMI tethered Dual Output Switcher. The latter feeds the former sound, vision and power from a single cable feed.
If only Sony designed cars...
The headset has no batteries, so you can forget about wandering the corridors of your council house starship pretending to be Geordi La Forge. This is a sit-down and keep still gadget. The 3D HMD comes with an adjustable noggin-strap, plus a padded forehead rest to secure the contraption in position. It looks geeky cool but is, in truth, a little cumbersome.
The stylised design, which sees the visor protruding from the face, isn’t an homage to Star Trek. It’s actually required to conceal a complicated optical block that incorporates two eye-ball facing 0.7inch OLED panels.
There’s no remote control (obviously) although there are volume, menu and settings controls on the underside of the visor. Of course, if one of the sources you’re watching is Blu-ray, you can still navigate your deck in the traditional way, provided you know where to point the remote control.
Next page: Immersion therapy
DROP THE HEADSET AND COME OUT....
THIS IS THE SONY POLICE! DROP THE HEADSET AND COME OUT WITH YOUR HANDS UP.
What? What did I do?
YOU HAVE CONTEMPLATED MODIFYING OUR HARDWARE IN A MANNER NOT SUPPORTED BY OUR EULA.
But I bought and paid for....
YOU BOUGHT NOTHING. YOU PAID FOR A LIMITED LICENSE TO USE OUR HARDWARE TO VIEW OUR CONTENT IN MANNERS WE APPROVE - A LICENSE WHICH IS NOW VOIDED.
But I was only
<he's resisting boys - GET HIM>
"720p for £800 ... I'm still laughing!" That's 720P per eye on 0.7 inch monitors. Your just too stupid to be impressed by that right ??
Push the button...
"I thought that the HMZ-T1 would also be ideal for gamers – until I tried it and quickly realised that wearing the headset meant I couldn’t see the controller in my hands."
So, presumably, you can't touch type either?
"Because OLED panels refresh around 100x faster than LED panels (response time is quoted at just 0.01 milliseconds), left/right screens don’t overlap and double imaging is avoided."
Surely the lack of crosstalk has sod all to do with the refresh rate, and more to do with the fact that instead of a single screen rapidly flicking between left/right eye images, there's a separate physical screen for each eye? Don't get me wrong, a high refresh rate is a Good Thing, but it has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of 3D images in this instance. I also nearly face-palmed when I read the bit about not being able to look at a controller whilst wearing them, as per several other commenters. Please can we have this sort of kit reviewed by someone who actually knows what they're on about in future?
No TV and No Licence
If you lived alone and got rid of your TV set you could dump this thing in a drawer when the TV licence man coes around. It would effectively pay for itself in a few years :P