LOS ANGELES--At Sony's E3 press conference, the company doubled down on 3D video game content, handing out passive 3D glasses to the audience for use in several demos, and revealing a new 3D display bundle. The $499 bundle includes a pair of active 3D glasses, a copy of Uncharted 3, an HDMI cable, and a 24-inch Sony display. We got a chance to get hands-on with the display and test one of its notable features.
The still-unnamed display has a native resolution of 1,920x1,080, and a pair of HDMI inputs, along with one set each of component and composite inputs. The thin chassis was reminiscent of Sony's recent all-in-one desktop PCs.
The demo available at the Sony press conference was not of the display being used for 3D gaming, but of a two-player mode, where two gamers can each wear a pair of the Sony glasses (which sell for $69 separately), and each sees a unique image on the screen. Vizio showed off a similar technology at CES 2011 -- essentially, one pair of glasses reads half the images on the screen, and the second pair reads the other half. If you're not wearing the glasses, you see both images ghosted against each other.
Unfortunately, in this two-image view, you'll be playing in 2D, not 3D (as a 3D image already requires two sets of images to be merged). We tried the two-player mode and found it worked fine, with no visible ghosting between the two distinct sets of images, but we weren't able to test the display with a single-player 3D game.
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The glasses themselves were typical plastic active-shutter 3D glasses, a product market Sony has been in for some time. A small power button on the top of the frame switches between the player one and player two images when pressed.
On a smaller display like this, it may be less of a dealbreaker to limit the set to two eyeglass-wearing players. On a larger TV, you may want to have more participants, at least to watch if not play.
Sony's goal is to help 3D gaming make inroads into the mainstream by offering a low-cost entry to the third dimension. If you take out the $69 glasses and $60 game (we'll just toss in the HDMI cable), the display itself comes out to around $370. The package should be available later this year.