Monday, May 31, 2010

First look at Sony's 3D TV

Dropped by Sony's big sale last weekend, and though yes, the TVs were really cheap, what caught my eye was Sony's showcase of their 3D system. I've long been skeptical about 3D, but I have to say that this changed my mind about it. Avatar was great and all that -- the greatest ride I've had in a movie theater in a long time -- but could they recreate that experience on a regular TV in a living room, and more importantly, would we want it?

After the wife bought her new phone (I'll write a post about that later), and after I got suckered into buying some Blu-ray discs I didn't really need (they were on sale!), I saw the 3D TV booth at the far end of the hall, like an oasis of the future… A few seconds later, my wife and I were wearing Sony's fancy new 3D glasses and watching some dude play Motorstorm in 3D.

It really works, and this isn't your daddy's 3D. Whereas old 3D just placed objects in different layers (foreground, middleground and background), new 3D is much more subtle, more like the real world. In Motorstorm, the vehicle you control still looks like it's on a different plane from everything else. It's not unlike watching some dude in an arcade playing a racing game while sitting on a motorcycle in front of you. The rest of the world however is rendered gloriously. Tunnels and ravines on the race course marched towards infinity. And it was all animated smoothly, no stuttering frames, no headache-inducing effects. Your brain isn't being tricked into seeing 3D; you really are in a 3D world.

The dude at the booth said the new 3D-capable TVs will be out in July, and they'll come with one pair of glasses. No pricing yet for either the TV sets or the glasses. Of course, the catch to all this 3D goodness is that even with the TV and the glasses, we'll all have to wait for movies, games, and TV shows that were made for 3D. Sounds like HD all over again…

When it comes to content, gaming is leading the charge. There are precious few movies that are shot in 3D -- Avatar is the only one I can think of actually. CG animated movies are next in line. Because animated movies are made on a computer in 3D, it's fairly simple to turn them into a 3D movie. The same goes for gaming. Early adopters include Motorstorm, and Wipeout HD, with plenty of other titles in the pipeline. There's also been a Gran Turismo demo making the rounds around the world. If they pull that one off, you'll find me in line to buy one of these TVs, put your money on it.


carlos said...

I might've missed something there, but with the new 3D TVs coming, do you think that the PS3 would be adapting to this? Or would you be expecting a PS4 soon?

The Third World Nerd said...

Caloy! They were actually using a PS3 in their setup. So if you have a 3D TV, and the glasses, and a PS3, you won't need to buy a player.