The Good The PlayStation 3D Display successfully enables two players to see their own individual screens while using SimulView technology, though the display only comes with one pair of 3D glasses. Also included is an HDMI cable and a copy of MotorStorm: Apocalypse.
The Bad The display’s glare is terrible, as the surface reflects nearly everything in sight. The screen’s small 23.5-inch size makes it tough to play at far distances and forces the players to sit nearly shoulder to shoulder to get the right effect. There’s no included remote control, which makes it difficult to change sources and settings; the buttons are hidden around the back. The display only comes with one pair of 3D glasses, preventing gamers from using SimulView right out of the box. Finally, the device’s auto-off feature triggers too quickly.
The Bottom Line The glare of the display is terrible because the surface reflects almost everything you see. The small screen size of 23.5 inches makes it difficult to play long distances and forces players to sit almost shoulder to shoulder to get the right effect. There is no remote control, making it difficult to change sources and settings; buttons hidden around the back. The display is equipped with only one pair of 3D glasses, which prevents players from using SimulView directly outside the box. Finally, the device’s automatic shutdown function starts too quickly.
Editors’ note: The review and score of this product was updated on November 28, 2011, to reflect the fact that the display only ships with one set of 3D glasses instead of two.
Back in June this year, Sony unveiled what was considered one of E3’s top 2011 press conferences. In the middle of the show, the company also announced the PlayStation 3D Display, a monitor that will allow two players to play video games at the same time without breaking any screens. Using the technology called “SimulView” by Sony, the TV allows players to wear 3D glasses to view their own image, although of course this image is not in 3D.
This may sound a bit confusing, but the TV uses basic stereoscopic 3D technology to represent two separate 2D video streams. Looking static with the naked eye, players should wear glasses to make sure they see their own screen. I am happy to report that this technology actually works well, but apart from its main boast, there is a list of impracticalities and questionable real programs that give us great difficulty in truly recommending the PlayStation 3D display to anyone in particular.
When I first saw the 3D PlayStation 3D display at E3 2011, it was positioned as a dorm room solution for 3D gaming. After my month-long test, the dormitory room may be the only place that is dense enough to warrant the purchase of such a tiny TV.
At just 23.5 inches, the display looks small when you’re 6 or more feet away from the screen. At the same time, I can’t imagine anyone wanting to sit more than a distance away from the TV because believe it or not, Sony doesn’t deliver it with a remote control.
You read it right. Instead of using the remote control to enter or change settings, users should blindly fish around the back with a set of six buttons. The only silver lining here is that when you touch one of them, a visual guide pops up on the screen to better help you feel your way to the other. At a retail price of $ 500, the included remote does not require much.
Fishing around these six buttons is no fun at all.
However, not everything is lost on the remote front. You can buy it individually or use a universal one to manage it.
Design and features
Not many bells can be spoken with the Sony PlayStation 3D display. It offers two HDMI ports and one component input. There is no tuner here; it’s a display, not a TV. I really appreciated the headphone jack around the back, though, especially for those intense gaming sessions where I didn’t want to bother my office neighbors.
The entire connection is located in one place on the right edge of the display.
The display also comes with one HDMI cable and a copy of MotorStorm: Apocalypse, one of four games currently supporting SimulView. Other SimulView compatible games include Gran Turismo 5, Killzone 3 and Super Stardust HD. I’m sure most titles that support this feature will see the light of day, but buying a display with this hope is a bit of a $ 500 gamble.
From a design standpoint, the display is actually quite sharp. Its rounded sides are smooth and sharp, and the speaker columns are hidden in arrays that expand the display on both sides. The included stand is a nice touch and is easy to attach to the display.
The speakers are hidden in the rounded edges of the display.
One of the features I was quickly annoyed with was the willingness of the display to turn off when no signal was detected. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for energy conservation, but the Sony display is jumping too fast from the gun. Due to what seems like seconds, the blue LED turns red, indicating standby. This is especially annoying when switching sources and increases the despair of the lack of a remote control.
The display only comes with one pair of PlayStation 3D glasses, as well as one incredibly short Micro-USB charging cable. I’m a little confused as to why only one pair is included, especially since Sony sent me two for testing. This is contrary to the basic function of the display: the ability to give two players their own screen for SimulView games. An additional pair of glasses costs $ 70, meaning you need to spend a minimum of $ 570 to get a SimulView gaming experience.
Perhaps my biggest admiration for the display is the very reflective glass cover that really extinguishes gaming and viewing. The glare is just awful. It’s so bad that when I pause the game, I can use the display as a mirror.
Setting up the display is not too difficult, but you may experience a bit of trial and error when trying to run SimulView correctly. A flashing red light indicates which player is assigned each set of points; you may need to hold down or quickly press the power button on the glasses until you properly discard it.
When testing with glasses, I found that after initial synchronization, they remembered their players’ tasks.
Full charging for each pair of glasses took me tens of hours of playing time, though it is reasonable to make sure that each pair shuts off when not in use.
3D and SimulView performance
The healthy choice of PS3 games now supports 3D, and the PS 3D display handles them quite well. Of course, each game has a different 3D effect, so the Gran Turismo 5 illusion was more noticeable than in Uncharted 3.
There is also the usual dimming of the image that occurs in 3D, but the bright image quality helps to balance it.
The biggest point of praise on the display should be SimulView, and when turned on it makes for some exciting two-player moments. But since the effect is so delicate and the glare is so widespread, I have found that I almost need a shoulder to shoulder with an opponent that just creates awkward gaming experiences. The seat further helps to widen the viewing angle, but then the small screen size becomes a factor. In short, there is really no perfect distance or position to play.
It is unfortunate, however, because there is a lot of potential here. How many times have you called a friend to spy on a game call or use a split screen to favor something like a first-person shooter? SimulView has the ability to eliminate all these game obstacles, but the way it is presented on the PS 3D display is not convincing in practical terms.
However, SimulView does not need to live and die with this product. It may be a bit demanding, but the technology is up and running. If Sony can do this on a larger screen with less flare, there will be some seriously cool programs in the future.
Use a non-mane source
I do not view image quality at any length, especially when it comes to a source other than video games. To do this, I called the latest CNET television editor, Ty Pendlebury. Here’s what he thought about the unit’s misunderstanding:
Obviously, it’s a gaming monitor, but since it’s designed to go along with the PlayStation motto, “it does everything”, it makes sense to have talents that go beyond Uncharted 3. Fortunately, this is hiding: hiding in a PSP-like form is a full-fledged Sony TV with all the useful imaging capabilities.
In terms of presentation, this is a Sony TV with excellent handling of all sources, which makes it great for watching movies or cable. The TV handles the natural frame rate of Blu-ray (24 GHz) perfectly, making HD movies look super smooth. The screen itself is capable of creating a high quality picture, with superb shadow detail and high contrast that make movies “pop”. “Special” mode is best for watching movies, and although the colors look a bit red, they can be easily remedied by quickly adjusting the color controls.
Unless you’re sitting dead on TV, in the dark room the answer is off-axis, but the killers here are lighted rooms. If you sit too far from the axis, you only see reflections.
TV is great if you only connect the PS3, but if you try to connect more devices, you may have problems with handshake via HDMI. The display hated our distribution amplifier and easily lost the scene change signal, resulting in unusable flashing images. This is just the second device to do so in recent memory, which indicates that it is using some kind of unusual HDMI standard. This can be a problem if you are connecting a non-PS3 device or receiver.
Sound quality is average for a small TV, with very little bang for the bang or flicker when the glass breaks. The dialogue also sounded a little muffled.
Although it has the amazing ability to send two video sources at the same time, the Sony 3D PlayStation Shared 3D Display is an expensive and small device that doesn’t really fit into any practical environment. I mentioned earlier that this would be enough in a hostel, but for $ 500 or so, two roommates can buy their big HDTVs and not have to sit shoulder to shoulder during games.
If the price went down, the size went up, and the glare went down, I might definitely recommend the device to someone, since it will solve some of my display problems. But as it stands in its present form, it is difficult to find a situation that is perfect for her.
CNET editor Ty Pendlebury participated in this review.