PlayStation-Branded 3D Display: A Step In The Right Direction?

At this year’s E3, Sony Computer Entertainment introduced a new PlayStation-branded 3D display that leverages its inner 3D technology to deliver a special functionality possibly worth wearing the glasses for.

Scheduled to go on sale this fall worldwide, the PlayStation 3D display houses a Full HD 24″ LCD LED panel (an industry first for its size, apparently) which promises to deliver stunning 2D and 3D visuals courtesy of a crosstalk-minimizing “quad speed frame sequential technology”, high contrast (5000:1) and high response time (4ms Grey-to-Grey).

The most interesting feature of this new 3D set tho is its “two-player mode”. Based on a proprietary technology, this mode allows two players to enjoy individual full screen view of the action when playing local multiplayer games which would otherwise adopt a split-screen solution. Basically, with compatible content, the PlayStation 3D display can act as two different displays in one.

The technological principle that powers this features is more or less the same that allows for stereoscopic 3D, the difference being that instead of sending two different images of the same scene (for the left and the right eye) to a single viewer, it sends two identical images of a scene to both eyes of one viewer, while another viewer gets two identical images of a different scene altogether.

In a normal active stereoscopic 3D environment, the LCD lenses of the active shutter glasses alternately darken over the eyes at the same frequency the display alternates the two images that compose the stereoscopic picture. In the case of this special display tho, both lenses darken simultaneously over one user’s eyes, alternately to the lenses of another user, while the display alternately shows each player’s point of view, hence allowing for the “two-player mode” to happen (with the stereoscopic 3D effect of course lost in the process).

Now, while you might have heard (or seen) of similar modes running on currently available 3D displays with the aid of custom made polarized glasses, it’s worth mentioning that in those cases not only is the image per viewer half the actual screen resolution, but the field of view each user gets is the very same they would see through in a traditional top-down split-screen mode, just stretched vertically to fill the whole screen (with obvious distortions).

With this PlayStation display, instead, the resolution is not lost and each user enjoys the very same field of view he would if playing solo. And you don’t have to hack the shutter glasses either (those included with the PlayStation 3D display come with a dedicated button that switches between shutting modes). This is why Sony calls it a proprietary technology. Because it is. The idea tho is not really new. But that’s beyond point.

What’s interesting to note about this whole two-player mode magic is how well its seems to resonate within the gaming population, with little to none glasses-hate being spread around. Perhaps people are more willing to wear a pair of glasses if what they get from it is more than “just 3D”? That’s probably what Sony is betting on in its ongoing effort to push 3D to the masses. 

Actually, the glasses coming with the PlayStation 3D display do benefit from some extra value on their own right. They are apparently compatible with “numerous” other 3D TVs (not necessarily Sony ones) and are powered via rechargeable batteries. Doesn’t this sound familiar?

And I haven’t told you the best part yet: the price. In North America, the PlayStation display will ship bundled with a pair of the just mentioned cross-compatible and rechargeable glasses (which are PS branded by the way), an HDMI cable, a USB cable (for recharging the glasses) and a copy of the 3D-supporting Resistance 3 shooter for as little as 499$.

Tempting uh?