Sony PlayStation 3D Display
Update: The Sony PlayStation 3D Display is now available to preorder in the United States.
Sony has demonstrated an interesting 24-inch 3D monitor at E3 (Electronics Entertainment Expo) in the Los Angeles Convention Center. It is interesting from many perspectives (no pun intended) and not just because it looks like a giant Sony PSP. The distinguishing feature of the display (which is yet to be formally given a name or model number) is the ability to display different images to different viewers. This is similar to a concept demonstrated by Microsoft with their 3D Wedge prototype. With the Sony monitor you need to be wearing 3D glasses and you are restricted to 2D viewing for 2 people rather than 3D for 2 people or 2D for 4 – but it’s certainly closer to being a reality than the Microsoft Wedge lens.
You can also use the 3D glasses for individual viewing of stereoscopic 3D content. Sony will kindly bundle a single pair of 3D glasses with the monitor but if you want to make use of this ‘breakthrough’ new feature you will have to shell out an extra £50 or so for another pair. CNET’s Dan Ackerman had a very quick go with this feature and confirmed that it does seem to work as intended.
Other noteworthy aspects of the monitor include a Vertical Alignment (VA) panel type with a claimed 5000:1 contrast ratio, 176/176 degree viewing angles, 4ms stated grey to grey response time and a WLED backlight. Sony will utilise their infamous anti-reflective X-Black screen coating to help bring out the best of the VA panel. Inputs include dual HDMI and outputs include stereo speakers and a subwoofer. This will hopefully be capable of delivering a slightly more immersive audio experience for people who prefer an integrated sound system. On face value this all seems rather impressive but rarely are quoted figures a good indicator of real world performance.
Given the current ‘state of the art’ when it comes to VA panels it is likely that despite the claimed 4ms grey to grey response time the high contrast transitions will produce the usual palpable trailing. Coupled with the restricted bandwidth of HDMI, relatively limited framerate of the PlayStation 3 (which this monitor is primarily designed for) and the slow pixel transitions of the VA panel this is guaranteed to use some form of interpolated frame processing and not a ‘true 120Hz’ refresh rate.
The focus here is clearly on a monitor for PS3 gamers. You have a unique feature designed primarily to allow gamers to sit side by side on a comfy sofa and be immersed in their own version of the game rather than the split screen experience, you have the overall styling which should appeal to Sony fans as it is highly reminiscent of the Sony PSP (not to say that’s unattractive) and you have the same VA panel type that is implemented on many 3D LCD TVs. This panel type gives excellent contrast but is limited in its responsiveness – generally you’re sat far enough away for this to escape too much attention when gaming on a console. Sony are even bundling a copy of the PS3 title ‘Resistance’ in with the display which is nothing but eBay fodder unless you own a PS3.
The potential problem for Sony is that they have limited this display to a 24″ screen size which for many console gamers will be just too small. That is the kind of size many users are comfortable with sitting on their desk as a PC monitor – and it will be very interesting to see how this display works in such a situation. The price for the PlayStation 3D Display (including PS3 game and single pair of 3D glasses) will be $499 with global availability expected at the tail end of the year.
Sony PlayStation 3D Display