Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Goggles gadget aims to beat TV

Sony's news personal 3-D viewer displayed by a model(AP)
Sony's news personal 3-D viewer displayed by a model(AP)

A head-mounted gadget intended to show 3-D films and games as an alternative to watching them on TV has been unveiled by electronics giant Sony.

The company said the £490 "HMZ personal 3-D viewer" is set to go on sale in November in Japan, and is planned for the US 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 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 gaming machine Virtual Boy from Nintendo, which went on sale in the 1990s, bombed, partly because of the bulky headgear required as well as the image being all red.

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

The machine, which connects to a Blu-ray disc player or game machine, is targeting people who want to enjoy movies or games alone.

It is not recommended for people younger than 15 because some experts believe overly stimulating imagery is not good for teenagers whose brains are still developing, the company said.

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

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