Eyes on with Sony's PlayStation 3D Monitor

One of the key directives brought up during Sony's media conference at the Electronics Entertainment Expo this year was the company's desire to drive home their commitment to 3D gaming. They've focused on dismantling one of the biggest roadblocks in the way of mass consumer adoption: the price of the TVs themselves.

Sony's answer: A new PlayStation-branded 24" monitor, which will debut later this year bundled with Resistance 3, an HDMI cable, and a set of active shutter glasses, all for $500.

In addition to functioning as a traditional stereoscopic display, it performs a cool trick, generating two separate images instead of the stereo pair. This allows two players to play split-screen games without, well, splitting the screen. Each player dons a pair of Sony's newly price-dropped active shutter glasses ($69). Every other frame feeds an individual image to one of the viewers. The effect is totally convincing, too.

In addition to being on display at Sony's booth, the new set was shown in a faux dorm-room setup at the company's media event on Monday night. An array of disposable red cups, arranged in a familiar triangle shape on a coffee table, along with a pile of empty pizza boxes made it clear just who this set is being marketed toward.

I only was able to see canned demo material, with footage of Motorstorm: Apocalypse and WipEout HD, but what I saw looked good. Sony's lower-end TVs have never been anything worth talking about, but this didn't have any picture noise that I could see and handled motion incredibly well without noticeable smearing .

The 3D capabilities were shown off using a recent trailer for Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception. The Sony staffer on hand stressed that these were just prototypes I was looking at and that aspects of the display could change before going to market, but I noticed a distracting amount of crosstalk and not much image depth to the picture. However, when I turned my head from side to side I didn't lose the 3D effect and the crosstalk didn't increase, which has been a problem even on 3D LCDs I've seen that cost four times more.

Those problems aside, this is a step in the right direction for Sony. Expanding the 3D market to younger gamers who can't spend $3,000 on a TV - and who, I'm guessing, aren't overly discerning when it comes to picture quality - should bring new eyeballs into the fold of stereoscopic gaming.

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