One of the biggest buzzwords in digital entertainment for the last couple of years has been "3D. " Whether you're hearing about 3D in movie theaters, at home or on the go, there are countless hardware manufactures placing bets that the third dimension is going to pay off big… and soon. One of the companies at the forefront of bringing the technology home is Sony; who packs a combo punch like only an international multimedia conglomerate can. With movies, TVs, and video games in their pocket, Sony is charging full steam ahead to bring 3D tech to consumers. Their latest product that plays in this space is a hybrid between two of their most lucrative hardware departments: the PlayStation 3D Display mixes together Sony's tried and true PlayStation brand, and their top of the line display business to produce a screen tailored to suit cutting edge gamers' evolving needs.
Coming in at 24 inches, Sony's PlayStation 3D Display isn't exactly what you would expect from a high def monitor these days. It may look like a giant PSP, but the 3D Display covers all the HD basics (Edge LED technology for a gorgeous 1080p picture) and then some. With one component and two HDMI inputs, the screen is ready to tackle everything from games to Blu-Rays, both in 2D and in 3D. The screen comes bundled with "Motorstorm Apocalypse," so that you can take advantage of its new SimulView capabilities, as well as one set of glasses, an HDMI cable, and the necessary power cord.
Right out of the box, this display does exactly what you want to do: look amazing, and that's before you even turn on the 3D. The LED screen really showcases the full spectrum of colors, and makes them pop, so much so that just scrolling through the PlayStation XrossMediaBar is a treat, and that's just a menu screen in 2D. Testing out the 3D capabilities of the display with "Motorstorm Apocalypse," "Super Stardust HD," and "Uncharted 3" only reinforced that Sony has put together a powerhouse piece of hardware, as there was no noticeable loss of quality in the picture, everything ran smoothly, and looked amazing.
SimulView – Two Players, One Screen
The 3D Display's most unique selling point is the debut of Sony's SimulView technology. Taking advantage of the stereoscopic nature of the display, SimulView allows for two people to play the same game, at the same time, and see two completely different full screen images (second set of glasses required). What could be misconstrued as a parlor trick is actually a giant step forward for both co-op and competitive multiplayer, making split-screen gaming a thing of the past. While there was a very small bit of ghosting, if there's a lot of action happening on the screen, it's almost impossible to notice. Unfortunately, only a small handful of games ("Motorstorm Apocalyspe," "Killzone 3," and "Gran Turismo 5") are currently compatible with the feature, but there are more in the works. One downside of SimulView worth noting is that in order to take advantage of the screen sharing, you have to sacrifice 3D, since the stereoscopic image is being used to display the two separate screens.
Big On Quality, Small On Space
While some gamers might think that a 24 inch monitor is miniscule compared to their 55 or 60 inch behemoths, but other, more practical consumers might think differently. For example, take your average dorm room gamer; someone who is dedicated enough to forgo the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of college life to level up his "Modern Warfare 3" character. He has to share a small room, with at least one other person, but possibly more. The compact nature of the 3D Display is perfect in this scenario, especially if dorm room gamer has a friend next door that wants to play some co-op "Killzone 3" using SimulView. There's no need to lug around a second screen to play together anymore.
The setup for the 3D Display is a breeze, however, there's a point in the process that might baffle some consumers, getting the screen turned on. There's one glaring omission in this bundle; the ever-important remote control. If the technology were to allow for screen controls from the PS3 via the HDMI cable that would be something different, but in 2011, the lack of a controller seems like a blatant oversight. However, for those looking for a remote option, the latest PS3 remote is compatible with the display.
Sony has a long-established reputation for making things look good, and with just one glance at the 3D Display it's pretty obvious that the industrial design is top notch. Unfortunately, with the screen Sony has fallen into the same trap that Apple seems to find themselves in all too often: shiny screens. In a low light setting, the Display looks amazing, but once light (natural or otherwise) is introduced the reflection that comes off the screen is staggering. While it won't keep you from being able to play, especially if you're already accustomed to dealing with this kind of glare from an iMac or iPad, but it will allow you to see just how dorky you look with those 3D glasses on.
No matter what the quality of the device is, $500 is still a lot of money for a 24 inch display. However, when you look at that in comparison to other 3D, LED TVs, Sony's 3D display is right about on target. Whether or not this is the right screen for you really comes down to your particular situation. For someone in a small space (apartment, dorm, bedroom, etc.), that's looking to get the most out of the latest technology on the market, you might want to give it a shot. One thing is for sure about the 3D Display, if you're still on the fence about whether or not 3D is the next big thing, just spend two minutes watching "Uncharted 3" on this screen, and you'll walk away convinced that the hype isn't just hype, it's real.