Hands-on with Sony Bravia 3D TV
Last night I had the pleasure of a hands-on experience with the first complete 3D Sony Bravia LCD TV, said to be the only one of its kind currently in Australia. Whilst other '3D ready' pre-production Sony units such as the KDL-HX900 have been previously demonstrated, this Sony roadshow represents the first time that a complete 3D packaged KDL-LX900 model has been unveiled. Unlike '3D ready' units that require a connected synchronization dongle (similar to the sensor bar on the Nintendo Wii console), the LX900 has this unit built in, minimizing clutter.
First up; the 3D glasses. They feel slightly weightier than I expected, but more sturdy in construction. They wrap around the head more completely than a standard pair of sunglasses, working to block out peripheral light, fully adjustable for viewers who wear prescription glasses. Each pair of glasses is powered by one disposable CR2032 button cell battery, which lasts approximately 100 hours. At this point, simply screw off the battery compartment and users can insert a replacement.
The LX900 will come with four sets of 3D glasses, with additional units available separately at a cost to be determined. There is no limit as to how many can be synchronized with the screen at any given time. Unlike the Samsung LCD 3D TV currently on the market right now, the polarisation is done on the LCD screen itself, rather than the glasses. This is said to present viewers with a brighter image than competitors. I have not seen the Samsung unit, so as yet I cannot compare the two.
Now to the unit itself. With non-3D content, the LCD looks as unassuming as any other LCD TV from the Sony range. Despite the screen featuring a polarisation film, it appeared to be no darker on standard content than a traditional LCD screen. Of course, we are all here to hear how it performs with 3D content, so I'll deliberate no longer.
In short, it's fairly impressive stuff. Sony had on hand a PlayStation 3 with a Blu-ray disc of movie content, documentary footage and PlayStation 3 game footage. There was a curiosity with the disc of footage, but more on that shortly. I found the 3D effect to be very similar to the RealD cinema experience. That is, it takes the human eye a few minutes to adjust to the image; until that point I felt a little eye strain, more pronounced than I find in the cinema.
The best of the footage from the demonstration reel was some seemingly custom shot footage of wildlife. There were three distinct fields in view. But rather than just a simple background and foreground effect, I found sloping fields very impressive; animals grazing on a green rolling hill made for a great example. Other shots of sea life swimming into camera moved into the foreground very effectively, until they took up the entire frame and seemed to lose context. I found a little bit of ghosting in this footage, a little more than I see during a RealD cinema experience, but not enough to be distracting.
Due to the limited amount of content available, I don't have a complete assurance, but I do suspect that the level of ghosting was more inherent in the different content and how it was produced. Sony was keen to darken the viewing environment, as brightness does in fact minimise the 3D effect, of which I verified. It doesn't destroy it, but it does adversely alter the immersion factor.
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