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Archive for September, 2011

Today’s Amazon Gold Gox Deal is Zumba Fitness

For today only, Zumba Fitness is available on the Amazon Gold Box for only $25.00. It comes complete with the game disc and a leg strap. Zumba Fitness 2 is coming out in November, so they may be looking to clear their inventory.

As I wrote in my review of Zumba Fitness 10 months ago, this game is not a bad one if you’re a seasoned Zumba enthusiast and want to reinforce some of the dances in the comfort of your home. On the other hand, don’t expect to learn Zumba from it, as the tutorials are far too fast and furious!

PS3 Move Games and Accessories at a steal at Gamestop

www.gamestop.com

Not sure how long this one will last, but Gamestop has a bunch of Playstation Move games and accessories on sale icon at ridiculous prices.

Some of the intriguing PS3 Fitness Game-related discounts:

  • The Fight-Lights Out – $9.99 new
  • Fit In Six  – $19.99 new
  • Zumba Fitness – $29.99 new

Some of the cooler accessories to go on sale:

  • Playstation Move Controller – $24.99 after discount
  • Playstation Move Sharpshooter – $19.99 after discount
  • Playstation Move Navigation Controller – $14.99 after discount
  • Move Charging Station – $14.99 after discount

In order to see the discounts for the accessories, you’ll need to add them to your cart.

These are the best prices I’ve seen to date anywhere, bar none. See their PS3 Move sale page icon for more information.

The Best 3D Documentary Blu-Rays for showing off your 3D System

Whether you have a 3D system already or are planning on getting the Playstation one, one of the things you’ll want to think about is which 3D Blu-Rays to buy to really show off your system. After all, one of the best things about being an early adopter to technology is having people over and showing off 🙂 And with Blu-Rays costing upwards of $30-50 each, they’re not cheap. You’re going to want to invest wisely.

I’ve been doing a lot of research myself. It’s hard to look at sites like Amazon.com because half the people are setting their star rating based on the quality of the movie, and the other half based on the quality of the Blu Ray and/or the 3D. I’ve scoured a bunch of review site and I’ve listed here what I believe are the best Blu-ray discs based on the combination of both–which titles are the most entertaining AND have the best Blu-ray AND 3D quality.

Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section. I’ll be updating this list periodically as new titles come out.

Best Blu-ray Documentaries

Documentaries are among the best ways to show off your Blu-ray 3D setup. This is because as good as Hollywood special effects people are, it’s hard to compete against the utter beauty and awe you’ll find on God’s green earth. Most of the best documentaries are, of course, transfer from IMAX 3D movies which were originally broadcast in science museums and IMAX theaters nationwide. As a bonus, most Blu-ray 3D titles also come with a standard DVD of the title, meaning you can pass it along to a friend or a school or play it for the kids on an old laptop or in the car.

Based on my own experience, here are the very best Blu-ray 3D documentaries. I’ve put links to purchase them on Amazon, but where I’ve found a cheaper price at another retailer, I’ve put a link there as well.

1. By most accounts, IMAX: Hubble 3D is the current king of the hill as far as 3D Blu-ray documentaries go. It was released on 3/29/11. Note that the title is a little misleading: this is not so much a Blu-ray disc of deep-space images from Hubble, but more so a documentary about the 2009 Space Shuttle Atlantis to repair the Hubble telescope.  The documentary is as educational as it is visually and audibly stunning. You’ll learn about the Hubble telescope, the design flaw that made it unusable, and the mission to essentially place a giant “contact lens” to correct its vision. There are stunningly beautiful images of the Shuttle’s launch, the spacewalks to repair the shuttle, and of course some images from Hubble itself.

Those who say this excellent movie in an IMAX theater have said that it’s the closest thing to being on the shuttle you can experience (and now that the space shuttle program has ended, it’s the only one). The cheapest place to find this Blu-ray is at Best Buy–just click here  to go to their site and search for “Hubble 3D”.

2. IMAX: The Ultimate Wave – Tahiti is another very highly rated documentary. The good news is, this isn’t an hour of surfer dudes galavanting around the South Pacific looking for waves to surf on. The documentary covers Tahiti’s beautiful landscapes, stunning underwater scenes, local culture and customs, and even some the science behind surfing before concluding with some surfing action. Throughout the 45 minute film you’re treated to stunning visuals that maximize the use of your 3D set.

Reviewers have described this title as “spectacular”, “entertaining and beautiful” and “amazing”, particularly the underwater scenes which provide as good an experience than actually going yourself (some would say even better, since you stay dry :P).
3. There are a couple underwater-related IMAX movies out there. By most accounts, the best of these is IMAX: Deep Sea. It shows the variety and beauty of natural life on the sea floor in stunning clarity and depth. Color fidelity is excellent. The film is narrated by Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet. At 40 minutes, it’s one of the shorter Blu-ray titles out there, but what it’s missing in length it makes up for in picture quality and 3D fidelity.

One reviewed marveled at how well images “popped” out of the screen, what you want good 3D to do. One reviewer did note that this title has “excessive parallax” in a few of the scenes, which may or may not affect you (parallax is when you see two objects “ghosting” each other rather than one solid image, which is different from person to person).

4, Diving back under the water,  our fourth best documentary is IMAX: Under the Sea 3D. Rather than looking at deep-ocean waters, this documentary looks at the coral reefs of Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and the Great Barrier Reef. One reviewer, a scuba diver, commented that the colors were among the most accurate he’s seen.

The documentary is narrated by Jim Carrey, but reviewers are quick to point out that he does the narration in a professional way, with an appropriate amount of humor. The documentary explores many different underwater creatures, and also brings attention to how pollution is harming the coral reefs, but ends with a hopeful note on ways that humans are trying to help.

 

5.  IMAX: Legends of Flight rounds out our list of the top 5. From a content perspective, the documentary walks viewers through the history of aviation, culminating in the development of the Boeing Dreamliner 787 and Airbus A380. While this may sound a bit dry (in fact, most reviewers say that you’ll most appreciate the film most if you’re an aviation enthusiast already), having been on the Boeing Plant Tour recently, you’ll find some of the innovations enlightening if you’ve ever flown in an airplane.

As for the 3D, most reviewers state that it is stunning. There’s a combination of computer generated imagery and actual footage, all of which pop out of your screen.

 

This list is certainly not exhaustive, but there’s clear consensus that you can’t go wrong with these, both to show off your 3D TV setup, as well as to learn a thing or two. As more documentaries come out, I’ll be updating this list.

 

Wii Balance Boards on Sale on eBay

If you’re a Wii owner that still doesn’t have a Balance Board, eBay (through seller Buy.Com) has a great deal on Wii Fit Plus with Balance Board for only $59.99. That’s about $40 less than the retail price.

Wii Fit Plus with Balance Board on eBay

But hurry–as with all of eBay’s deals, this one can go at any time. Nintendo has announced that the Balance Board will continue to be compatible with the next-generation Wii, so this should last you for a long, long time.

Cheap Wii Fitness Games at Amazon

From now until September 10, Amazon is having one of their Buy one get one at 50% off sales.

They’ve got a couple pretty oldie-but-goodie Wii fitness games that are on or have been on our Top 10 list. They are:

ExerBeat

Walk It Out

10 Minute Solution

Punch-Out!

There are also some great traditional games such as Super Paper Mario and Super Mario Galaxy.

Review of Virtua Tennis 4 for Playstation Move

A few weeks ago, I reviewed Top Spin 4 from a fitness perpective. Specifically, I mentioned that as a tennis simulation, it was fantastic and a great game for tennis fans who want to use a Dualshock to play simulated matches. On the other hand, the Move capabilities were not earth-shattering. It just didn’t feel like real tennis.

Today, I’m reviewing Virtua Tennis 4, which is fitting as the US Open is going on right now as I write this. In many ways, Virtua Tennis 4 is the polar opposite of Top Spin 4. While Top Spin 4 focused on an accurate simulation of tennis and its players and stadiums (right down to the swings and the grunts of the players and paying for licensing of the names of the tournaments), Virtua Tennis doesn’t go into as much detail in that regard. On the other hand, Top Spin 4 (as its predecessors were) is a great “arcade style” tennis game. And its implementation of the Move controller make IT the reigning champion as far as a realistic-feeling tennis game for the PS3.

Using the Move controllers to control your tennis racket is remarkably realistic. Unlike Top Spin 4, you can control most strokes with the controller itself, not by mashing buttons. A slice is a slice, top spin is top spin, and a lob is a lob. To approach the net, you take a step forward. To serve, you swing the controller up and then down.

While Top Spin 4 had a “TV camera perspective” view, Virtua Tennis lets you see the play from the player’s perspective. As in real tennis, you need to hit shots when they’re about waist-high, and you can do so with heavy or light force. I guess it would have been a lot more of a workout if any running had been involved, but the system does all the running for you. Still, at higher difficulty levels, you’re going to be doing a lot of arm movement. After playing through several times, I was actually working up a little sweat.

The biggest problem with this game is that the Move can only be used in a tiny portion of the game, namely the Motion Play Mode. You can’t use Move controllers in the rest of the game, including the main “Tournament Mode” portion. My guess is that the developers didn’t know about the Move until they were already well into development, and so they only had time to fit it into a small part of the game.

This is a demo match I played between Federer and Nadal on “Easy” difficulty (you can download and play the same demo in the Playstation Store).

Overall, I’d rate this game a 3.5 out of 5 stars. Don’t get me wrong–the Move functionality is the best I’ve seen for a Tennis game on any system. But you’ll be disappointed if you pay the retail price of $49.99 for this “Playstation Move compatible” game only to find that you can only use the Move on 10% of the game. I hope for Sega’s sake that they’re working on a fully Move compatible Virtual Tennis 5 right now. As far as this one, if you’re a big tennis fan, I’d say it’s worth it once the price drops below $20.



Move Controller for $34 at Amazon Today

If you’re in the market for an extra move controller, they’re available for $34 at Amazon right now, which is the lowest price I’ve seen yet. It may be that they’re looking to clear some of their inventory.

It’s a good time to get a second Move controller for two-hand or two-player gaming. But hurry, Amazon tends to raise the price without warning.

Toshiba Glasses-Free Laptop (Qosmio F755-S5219) – A unbiased, detailed review (and where to find it cheap)

Update 1/9/2012. Today my “Toshiba Service Station” popped up, and it looks like Toshiba has FINALLY added glasses-free 3D gaming support. They have the following drivers for download:

  • NVIDIA Display Driver V8.17.12.9039 for Qosmio F755 3D Models
  • TOSHIBA Blu-ray Disc Player V1.0.1.299 for Qosmio F755 3D Models
  • BIOS version 2.00 for Qosmio F755 (PQF75U)
  • Super-D IC Driver for Qosmio F755 3D Models

While I’m disappointed that it took over four months for them to deliver something that they’d promised on release date, I’m happy they finally delivered.

In other news, since the release date Amazon has also lowered its price to a more affordable $1200. As always, life sucks for us early adopters 🙂 With the exception of the battery life, this is still one of most advanced laptops you can get, with a lot of power packed in. I’m pretty much using mine as a desktop replacement.
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While this site is dedicated to answering questions about 3D on the Playstation, since the folks visiting this site are 3D aficionados, since my last post I’ve gotten questions about the laptop I mentioned in the post, the Toshiba Qosmio F755-S5219. I’m definitely happy to share my personal experiences with it. I’ll give my initial thoughts but then focus mostly on the glasses-free 3D experience.

The Deal

First things first, the laptop retails at a rather hefty $1699.99, and at this price, as of this writing it’s already sold out at Amazon. Personally, I would recommend getting it at Best Buy. There, the price is only $1499.99, and it goes even lower if you join Best Buy’s free Reward Zone loyalty program. I’m not sure if this is a price mistake or intentional, but grab it at this price while you can!

The Review

Now for the review. The laptop itself is a high-end machine with the following features:

Processor: an Intel Core i7-2630M processor, featuring a 6MB L3 cache and 2.0GHz processor (with Turbo Boost up to 2.9 GHz). In other words, this thing is fast. I’m surfing the Web right now at speeds I’ve never seen on a laptop before, and have hardly seen on desktops.

Memory: the laptop comes with 6GB of DDR3 memory, expandable to 8GB. (There are two slots, meaning that the laptop comes shipped with one 2GB and one 4GB SDRAM memory module, and to upgrade you need to purchase another 4GB one)

Blu-Ray Disc Reader and Writer: Yes, this drive does it all–reads and writes Blu-Ray (BD-ROM, BD-R, BD-RE) and DVD (DLD+R, DVD-R, DVD-RAM) discs. It even supports Labelflash which allows you to burn labels directly onto the CD.

15.6″ LED-backlit TFT-LCD screen: The screen has a native resolution of 1920×1080 and a glossy finish. The colors are really brilliant, so gaming or movie watching will be a true pleasure on this thing. I’ve had 15″ laptops before, but for some reason this one looked a lot bigger, perhaps because of the color fidelity. I tried to take a picture with my digital camera, but I don’t think it really does it justice.

Hard Drive: The hard drive is a generous 750GB Serial ATA drive (5400 rpm).

Graphics Card: The built-in video card is an NVIDIA GeForce GT540M card, with 1GB of GDDR3 discrete memory and up to 3826MB total available memory. There is an HDMI connector you can use to connect to a TV, so when your Playstation is available you essentially have another 3D Blu-Ray Player. There’s also a standard monitor connector for a traditional RGB monitor.

Webcam: The built-in Webcam is 1.3 megapixels. But the most interesting thing about the Webcam is that it’s not just there for Web chatting. It’s actively used by the glasses-free 3D system to detect your face and always give you the best 3D experience even if you shift. But we’ll talk more about the 3D below.

Operating System: The system runs on Windows 7 Home Premium Edition. It’s the 64-bit version, which allows you to run both old and new Windows software.

Battery Life: The battery clocks in at only about 3 hours. This was the one thing I was a little disappointed in, although it’s perfectly understandable given the punch that this laptop delivers. I will definitely be purchasing one or two spare batteries on eBay. For your reference, the Toshiba part number you’re going to be looking for is PA3757U-1BRS.

Sound: The sound is provided by built-in harman/kardon stereo speakers. After my last laptop (a horrible Lenovo) which had speaker output that was barely louder than headphones, I was happy to be able to hear music and audio loudly and clearly. 

Other stuff: The other features of the laptop are pretty standard but comprehensive. There’s an SD card slot in the lower left hand corner of the laptop, there’s one USB 3.0 and three USB 2.0 ports (the USB 3.0 port enables you to charge USB devices even with the power off). There’s a built-in 10/100/1000 Ethernet port,  and built-in Wifi (802.11 b/g/n). It comes with 4G WiMAX built-in, which means that you can get always-on 4G WiFi to your laptop with the right plans from CLEAR or Sprint which support that standard.

How it looks and feels: This laptop is the “red Ferrari” of laptops. It’s got a bright and glossy red finish with little stylized indented “dots” providing it texture. It looks extremely stylish. Again, due to the power it packs, it’s a hefty 7.5 pounds.

qosmio u755 bright red glasses free 3d

Okay, this is the part I know you’ve all been waiting for. How does the glasses-free HD work? I’ve split my experiences into three pieces:

The Glasses Free 3D: YouTube 3D videos

My first instinct was to test it on YouTube’s 3D Channel. But when I went there and selected the option for “HTML5 Stereo View (including NVIDIA 3D Vision)”, YouTube tells me that “HTML5 Stereo View is not set up”. When I click the link to set it up, I get sent to a help page, which in turn provides me a link to go to NVIDIA’s site.

On the NVIDIA page it says “You have an outdated NVIDIA driver version. Please update your driver to Beta Release 275.27 or above”. The problem is, when I try to do that, the system then tells me this:

GeForce GT 540M Has been detected in your system. Compal%2FToshiba requires that you download the driver for your GPU from their support site.

At this point I’m getting a little miffed. I paid a lot for this laptop, mainly for the 3D experience, and I expected Toshiba would have done a lot better a job at quality control before releasing it (who in the world is going to buy this laptop and not visit YouTube?).

I called Toshiba tech support. The tech support specialist “Carla” was obviously someone in an Indian call center and very obviously had no clue how to troubleshoot this. I don’t blame her, it’s the product folks who built this laptop who really, really need to arm their customer service personnel with the right information. Without this information, poor “Carla” was left to try to troubleshoot on her own with obviously zero knowledge of how 3D works (much less glasses-free 3D).

I first told Carla that my glasses-free 3D was not working on YouTube. The first thing she said was to visit another site to try it there. She sent me to 3dvideoclips.net. Here’s the problem. 3dvideoclips.net is just a site that aggregates–you guessed it–3d YouTube videos. Worse, 3dvideoclips.net shows the default videos in anaglyph format, which is irrelevant for anyone with a 3D video card (glasses or not).

I tried to give her “hints”. I told her that on the NVIDIA site, I got the message above. But she plowed through and had me uninstall and reinstall the video driver. As I expected, it did nothing. The driver that was installed was still the same outdated 8.17.12.6807 driver dated 4/4/2011.

She had me go back to YouTube, and as I expected it still gave me the same error message. She told me to try different viewing modes, and I had to explain to her that side-by-side and anaglyph modes were irrelevant.

Finally, she told me that my laptop was broken and that I should take it back to Best Buy for a replacement. At this point, I had enough, thanked her, and hung up.

Long story short, as much hype as the Qosmio F755-S5219 got for being the “first glasses free 3D laptop”, it doesn’t look like Toshiba is thinking very much about its customers–nor its customer support–as far as viewing 3D videos online. I expected much better.

The Glasses Free 3D: 3D Blu-Ray Disc

Here, my experience was much better, although it took a little trial and error.

The first thing you’ll want to do is go to Toshiba’s support site and download a copy of the unfortunately named X-Tune (instead of being cute, why didn’t they just called it “3D adjustment utility”).  This is a utility from Toshiba that lets you configure your system for optimal viewing. I’m not sure why Toshiba didn’t mention this at all–I had to discover it on my own in the “Downloads” section. If you don’t use this first, you’re probably going to get unpredictable results.

When you run the program, you’ll be asked to verify that the laptop’s face-tracking technology is working (it’ll show your face with yellow lines superimposed over it identifying where your eyes are). Then, you’ll be shown a simple 3D image (the letters “3D” in the middle of the screen popping out, with four smaller “3Ds” on the corners sinking in). You use the arrow keys to reduce the amount of parallax (ghosted duplicate images) until you get a fairly crisp image. Then, you press Enter.

The only 3D Blu-ray I already had was The Universe: 7 Wonders of the Solar System, which I only had because it was on sale at Amazon one day (I’ll write another post to talk about the best Blu-ray documentaries you can buy to test your system). As poor as the reviews of the disc are, it gave me a good taste of what this laptop could do. Images really “popped” out of the screen at me, and unlike with 3D system that require glasses, there was nothing inhibiting my viewing of the full brightness nor color depth (something that happens a lot when I watch 3D with glasses, made worse by my own glasses).

I will say the experience is not perfect. When in 3D mode the image is decidedly “grainy” versus the 2D image. My guess is that in order to serve up the 3D image, resolution had to be sacrificed. This is something I’m sure will get better in future iterations of this technology as processors get more powerful.

One other gripe I have is that the “eye tracking” technology really left something to be desired. I’d have a pretty good experience when I moved my head to a point where parallax was minimized and then kept my head there. But when I moved my face slightly, the entire picture would shift, which after time became extremely disconcerting.

Despite the negatives it was overall a very cool experience, especially for first-generation technology. Some images were breathtakingly gorgeous, while others gave me a bit of a headache. I’m not sure if this is due to the laptops technology, the quality of the Blu-ray I was looking at, or both. I’ll update this post as I try different Blu-rays.

Even more amazing, I could play the Blu-ray in one window in 3D and keep my other Windows programs open in other windows in 2D. The eye-tracking was hit-or-miss. The way it’s supposed to work, the 3D image is supposed to be automatically adjusted based on the position of my face. I actually found it to be a bit distracting, as there’s be a noticeable lag as the computer tried to adjust the picture whenever my head moved. I think they probably have to work on that feature a bit more, but bottom line, as long as I kept my head relatively still, I could enjoy the 3D Blu-ray immensely.

The Glasses Free 3D: Conversion of 2D to 3D

Another feature which Toshiba touts is the ability to “convert” 2D DVDs (not Blu-rays) to 3D images on the fly. I was skeptical about this at first; after all, “true” 3D requires the original image to be shot with two lenses (mimicking our two eyes). If a movie was originally shot with one lens, even if they tell you it’s “3D”, it’s not really–they either manually or automatically separate “layers” of images in the 2D image to make it look like 3D. But as with the “colorization of black and white movies” fad that happened years ago, such conversion is done after-the-fact and doesn’t really do a good job of capturing the nuances of a true 3D environment, especially when the film was originally created for 2D. In other words, don’t trust a movie that says it’s in “3D” unless it was origially filmed that way.

That said, I popped in an old DVD. The Toshiba DVD player played it. On top of the window, there’s a little button that says “3D”. When I pressed it, I saw the screen split, and then lo and behold, I saw a grainy 3D-like picture. I have to say, the effect was a lot better than I thought it’d be. The images really seemed to pop out at you. That said, the resulting image is so grainy and the 3D effect is hardly clean, so I got a bit of a headache after a few minutes of trying to watch a DVD this way.

Bottom line, I think this feature is more of a gimmick than anything else–the Toshiba marketing department probably figured that people with large DVD collections and no 3D Blu-rays would still buy the laptop so they could see the DVDs that way. I can honestly say that it’s not worth buying the laptop for that reason–your old DVDs are meant to be seen in 2D, so keep it that way. That said, it’s a nice little trick to show off what your laptop can do.

In summary, overall I was impressed by the Toshiba Qosmio F755-S5219. It’s been years since I paid this much for a laptop, but it was worth the wait. As with all first generation products, over time you’ll see other laptops with better 3D and cheaper prices. That said, there’s something to be said about being the first one on the block with this great new technology, and the specs of the laptop are impressive enough that this machine should last you for years to come. Highly recommended.

 

Move Fitness from Sony Announced

Well, it took them long enough, but it looks like Sony is officially throwing its hat into the fitness gaming arena with “Move Fitness”. They announced it at the recent GamesCon conference. Here’s the official trailer.

Right now, it looks like the game is going to be largely derivative of previous games available on the Wii. From the video, it looks like everything from using basketball simulations to encourage squat jumps, jumping jacks, sparring, heavy bag punching, and sword fighting will be included (things we’ve seen already in EA Sports Active 2, UFC Fitness Trainer, Gold’s Gym Cardio Workout, Wii Fit, and Wii Sports Resort). It looks like there are a few things that will be original (the exercise with the lady breaking the glass windows looks promising).

While such obviously derivative games are usually not destined to do well, I think Move Fitness will have a few things going for it. First, it’ll use the resources of Sony to ensure that the Move Controller accuracy is spot-on (as much as I enjoy EA Sports Active 2 for the PS3, at the end it feels like a direct port of the Wii version, rather than something that really uses the Move to take it to new heights). For example, using brightly lit “targets” to hit when doing jumping jacks and jump squats looks like a promising way to discourage “cheating” (which is easy to do on both the Wii and Xbox). Second, since the title is by Sony, it’s going to have a very high quality standard to meet.

Anyway, I’ll post more here when the release date is set, and when it’s ready for pre-order.

Everything you need to know about the Playstation 3D Display

Since the whole premise of this blog is to reach out to people who are interested in 3D on the Playstation, I thought I’d post answers to a few frequently about the Playstation 3D Display that’ll be released in the Fall. Note that I am NOT affiliated with Sony, so this is not an official FAQ, just answers based on my own research.

Which games will be included with the Playstation 3D Bundle?

This is an interesting one. When the bundle was announced at the E3 conference earlier this year, they said the game would be Resistance 3 (sequel to the best-selling Resistance: Fall of Man and Resistance 2. In July, Sony reversed its decision and said they’d bundle Motorstorm Apocalypse instead (a racing game that’s supposed to have some of the best 3D available). Sony has not been doing so great in the overtime department lately, as this sudden change caused a lot of anger in the Playstation community. Gamestop was the first retailer to say that they would still include Resistance 3 for free in addition to Motorstorm. Amazon.com soon reciprocated. Long story short, Sony has since announced that they would include BOTH games officially in all bundles at all retailers–if you pre-order before September 30. Personally, I believe your best bet would still be Gamestop or Amazon, as my guess is they will continue to honor their promise to bundle Resistance 3 with all pre-orders until the release date, even if that’s after September 30.

What is the actual value of the Playstation 3D Bundle? 

By my calcuations, here’s the full retail value:

  • Motorstorm Apocalypse: $59.99
  • Resistance 3 (for pre-orders): $59.99
  • HDMI cable: $10
  • Pair of 3D Glasses: $69.99
  • 24 inch 3D TV: $400-500 (based on current prices for 32″ 3D TVs)

In short, you’re getting between a $100-200 bargain by purchasing the bundle? Why is Sony doing this? My guess is that because 3D has been out for a year now and isn’t getting very many bites, they’re hoping this will bring 3D more into the mainstream.

What is the release date? 

Sony first gave a rather amorphous “Fall 2011”, and has since adjusted it to “November 2011”. Sony probably wisely is not setting an exact date yet, seeing how most electronics manufacturers miss the date anyway. But to not release it this Fall would be a major, major black eye to them, so you can bet they’re going to meet it no matter what it takes. As soon as I hear a specific date I’ll post it here.

Will I be able to watch 3D Blu-Ray movies on this TV?

By all means. Not only that, since firmware release 3.5 your Playstation 3 has been a 3D Blu-Ray player waiting to be used.  Most of your favorite movies that you enjoyed in the theater, from Toy Story 3 to Avatar, are or will soon be available on Blu-Ray 3D. Check Amazon for the latest list of bestselling 3D Blu-Rays.

Will I be able to watch 3D Cable TV on this TV?

Yes, assuming that your cable box and cable plan have 3D channels. Major sports from the NFL to Nascar to MLB to golf are all being broadcast in 3D now on ESPN 3D, and many regional sports networks like MSG and YES here in New York are putting up 3D channels. Most major cable companies offer 3D movies on demand as well. DIRECTV is getting into 3D in the biggest way, offering three full 24 hour 3D channels.

Can I connect a PC to it?

There will be two HDMI jacks and a Component jack, so as long as your system has the proper output jacks and cables, you will be able to use this display as a PC monitor. As long as your PC or laptop can output 3D through an HDMI-CEC connection, you should be able to output 3D content as well.

For example, I just purchased the Qosmio F755-S5219 15.6-Inch 3D Gaming Laptop (Fusion X2 Finish in Brilliant Red), which I am writing this on (if Amazon is out of stock, you can also get it at Best Buy). This laptop allows for 3D viewing without glasses. So far I am THRILLED with it, but it’s really good for one-person viewing. When I get the Playstation 3D Display, I’ll be able to hook it up and have 2-3 people watching together using glasses.

Why would I want a 24 inch TV? 

A couple reasons.

  • Chances are you spent thousands of dollars on a plasma or LCD TV, and as much aren’t really eager to throw it out so you can replace it with a 3D model.
  • Large-screen 3D TVs are going to continue to plummet in price. This is a good way to experience 3D now while you wait.
  • The technology for 3D TVs is going to continue to change. Most manufacturers can’t agree on standards, while others are working on brand new technologies such as glasses-less 3D. So as with HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, some early adopters may end up with a very expensive brick. Again, by purchasing a cheaper model you can experience 3D now.
  • You want to watch shows other than what others in your family want to watch. By putting a second TV in the den or family room, you can enjoy that football game or baseball game while the wife and kids are enjoying CSI or Wizards of Waverly Place.

playstation 3d displayWill the Playstation TV be a good quality TV or just a cheap one?

I did a little research and it seems clear (no pun intended) that this will be a high end TV in all respects except for the size. Here are some of the specs, which I’ve translated into layman’s speak:

  • Panel type: LED. Arguably clearer and crisper than either LCD or Plasma.
  • 23.5 inch screen size. This means it’ll be perfect to put on a desk or table for two people to view.
  • Optimal resolution of 1920×1080 with 16.7 colors. This is pretty much standard these days for high-end 1080p LED screens.
  • Sound output: full range 2 channel stereo output (3W) with subwoofer (5W). This means the stereo sound on PS3 games will be very powerful, with deep bass. There’s also a headphone output.
  • Viewing angle 176°/176°. This means that two people can sit (or stand with a Move controller) comfortably about 2-8 feet from the unit and see perfect 3D from practically any angle.
  • Inputs: 2 HDMI inputs, 1 component (yPbPr) input
  • Contrast Ratio: 5000:1. Pretty standard for a set of this type, it means your blacks will be black and your whites will be white.
  • Support for IR remote control with BD remote control. I assume this means that the BD remote control you and I bought for your Playstation 3 years ago will finally get some use!
  • 240 Hz refresh rate. With 3D displays, the effective refresh rate is halved, because each eye needs a separate picture. For this reason, the minimum recommended refresh rate is generally 120 Hz, but 200 Hz is optimal. The Playstation Display’s 240 hZ display blows this number away.
  • Active, not passive, 3D. With Active 3D, you get full HD 1080p 3D playback, unlike Passive 3D which gives you half the resolution (for example, if playback is 1080p, you will see only 540 lines of resolution).

Is it bad for your eyes to watch 3D TV?

Most ophthalmologists agree that unless you’re talking about very, very young children, there is no risk at all in watching 3D. The worst problem some face will be a sense of disorientation or dizziness on certain 3D platforms. In many cases, those affected can acclimate yourself to the TV and get used to it. But if not, again, $499 is a smaller price to pay than $3000 to find out (plus, you can continue to use the TV as a regular 2D  LED TV).

What does “SimulView” mean? 

This is a rather exciting feature that’s going to be available exclusively on this TV set.  For certain PS3 games that have two-player mode, instead of having the screen split in half as most 2-player games currently do, each player wearing the glasses will see their own content, but not the other player’s content, on the full width of the HD screen. The output will be in 2D, not 3D, of course.  The games which will support this still haven’t been announced, but imagine playing MLB12 on a full screen with you seeing the pitcher’s view (and the location of your pitches) and your opponent seeing the batter’s view. Or imagine playing a FPS with both players being able to roam the world freely without seeing each other’s location.

Do you have other questions? Post them in the comments field below and I’ll make sure I get them answered for you!