Hands-on with Sony Bravia 3D TV - Continued
The demonstrated 3D gaming content included non-playable footage of PlayStation 3D exclusives including "Super StarDust HD", "Wipeout HD", "Motorstorm: Pacific Rift" and "Little Big Planet". Of these, only the latter two featured real, in-game footage (the former appeared to be 3D converted release trailers). From these, I found the demonstration of "Little Big Planet" the most impressive. The game lends itself to a 3D display so spectacularly and it appears that this feature will improve the actual gameplay tenfold.
For readers familiar with it, the objective is to control the main character on a scrolling platform and intermingle between objects placed in the background and the foreground, searching for hidden items and finding ways to traverse obstacles in your way. The 3D version of the game looks to not only make playing the game more immersive and enjoyable, but more intuitive.
Interestingly, I snuck an 'unofficial' peek at the PlayStation 3 on demonstration and in particular the version of firmware it was running. The version; 3.01, is not the most recent firmware. In fact, it's rather old, being released in September 2009 and certainly not the latest firmware 3.30 released last month which touted the introduction of 3D capabilities.
Notably, this firmware only featured 'system stability' in the release notes and in no way referred to any 3D features. Additionally, the demo disc was encoded as a game, not a properly authored Blu-ray disc that will work in a traditional Blu-ray player. This may have been done to protect Sonys content from being played on rival manufacturer 3D Blu-ray players, but strange nonetheless.
In short, I found the 3D feature of Sony's first 3D TV to be a winner. However, as I noted in my recent article "3D: The Home Theater Revolution", the technology will ultimately live or die by the content. However, my biggest complaint is not likely to be rectified soon, as it can't be without changing the way we watch television and most viewers will be unable to do so.
In a cinema, the sheer size of the screen and the placement of the viewer are done so as to block out peripheral vision and immerse the viewer. Most TV watchers at home have a 40 inch screen (101cm) measured diagonally. Additionally, most also sit four to seven metres back from the TV, as to facilitate lounge chairs and to enable conversation between family members.
Remember, most people watch TV in a far different way than they do at the cinema, with tiered, rowed seating right in front of the screen. As such, our peripheral vision is taken up with much more than just the TV screen. This diminishes, if not destroys the immersive 3D effect which looks so fabulous on a cinema screen. Whilst it is true that screen sizes are exponentially increasing to sizes of 46 and 52 inches and above, I can't foresee a time that we will ever watch TV in the same manner as we do at the cinema and as such, its long term viability will remain in question for some time yet.
But you, dear reader, can make up your own mind when the unit is available in Australia this July, for an as yet undetermined price. I sincerely hope you enjoyed TweakTowns first look at Sony 3D TV; we will be sure to look further at the technology at its launch and review the first 3D Blu-rays as they hit the Australian market.