A Sony-Centric 3D Setup
I’ve been keeping my eye on deals for 3D televisions for a while (via one of my favorites sites, SlickDeals) and reading reviews and information about 3D for the last several months. I’ve also been checking them out in stores, trying on the glasses, seeing the differences, and generally learning about 3D technology.
Finally, a few weeks ago, I decided to take the plunge – and really try out 3D to it’s fullest. After significant reading and a little bit of soul-searching (the Sony PS3 competes with the Microsoft Xbox 360 – which we own and love) I decided to go with Sony for the bulk of our 3D environment. Sony has taken an aggressive approach towards 3D – as an electronics company they’ve had an opportunity to build 3D into many product lines, and there are several interop scenarios between their products that I wanted to experiment with.
Including past and recent purchases, here’s what we now have in our 3D entertainment center:
- A Sony Bravia KDL-55NX810 3D-capable television.
- A Playstation3, with system software update 3.5 installed. This enables the PS3 Blu-ray player to play 3D Blu-ray, and I believe 3D gaming was available in a previous firmware update. (The PS3 was included free with a slick deal on this TV from US-Appliance.)
- The Alice in Wonderland 3D Kit with 2 Glasses, Transmitter, and high speed HDMI cable. (This 3D Kit was included free with the same deal.) Sony and most all 3D TV companies use the Active Shutter Glasses approach to 3D.
- Two extra 3D Active Glasses for the kids. (I found a deal for them on eBay – they are still expensive, retailing for $150 each.)
- A Sony α55 DSLR camera and lens (SLT-A55VL). Several Sony cameras including this one offer a feature called 3D Sweep Panorama – which can take a 3D photo (in the MPO file format) by assembling left and right eye images from multiple photos in a panorama.
- An HP Windows 7 Desktop, with an NVIDIA 3D-capable graphics card (GeForce 9800 GT) and two DVI outputs.
- One output is connected by DVI/HDMI (audio+video) to a Syntax Olevia 232 – not a 3D capable TV.
- One output is connected by DVI/HDMI (audio+video) to the Sony Bravia TV
The Sony 3D package also included:
- Four free 3D PS3 games – WipEout HD, Super Startdust HD, PAIN, and MotorStorm Pacific Rift (Demo). This was provided through a scratch and reveal rebate code that you enter in the Playstation Network.
- Two free 3D Movies online rebate (PDF details link) (registration link) – Bolt and Michael Jackson’s This Is It.
Also in our living room we have an Xbox 360 with Kinect (which is awesome – we all love it!), and the kids have a Wii. I haven’t seen any real 3D games for the Xbox 360 or Wii yet, other than those that use the cardboard red-blue glasses or similar complementary color anaglyphs. If you have – let me know!
Incidentally, everyone in the house agrees that Kinect + 3D gaming would be an amazing combination. Come on Microsoft – let’s go!
Many Types of 3D Content to Enjoy
Here are the types of 3D content we’ve been able to enjoy so far:
- 3D Blu-Ray Movies. 3D Blu-Ray works out of the box with the PS3 (after upgrading the firmware to 3.5 – which took a while). There’s not much available yet – we’ve watched Alice in Wonderland and Monster House so far. We’re waiting for more movies to be available – here’s a list of several coming to Amazon.com.
- 3D Playstation Games. We’ve tried all four of the PS3 3D games and they are really fun – extra fun in 3D. I’m excited about the new TRON Evolution game coming out with support for 3D on the PS3.
- 3D Photos. Using the Sony 3D Sweep Panorama feature and the free Playstation PlayMemories download for PS3. (You can also use the NVIDIA 3D Vision Photo Viewer – but I didn’t like this software as much – didn’t work well through the PC->TV connection in full screen mode.) You can also take better 3D photos with dual lens digital cameras – but I haven’t seen one with great reviews yet. I’m hopeful that several 3D digital camcorders will be on the market soon for a reasonable price. I might make one myself…
- 3D YouTube Videos. This is easy to do by connecting the PC to the TV, setting the YouTube 3D player to Parallel in full screen, and setting the TV to Side-by-Side 3D. It would be really cool if the Sony Bravia YouTube video widget supported 3D out of the box. (FYI – How to Create 3D YouTube Videos in 3D.)
- 3D NVIDIA Videos. Done with their 3D Video Vision Player while the PC is connected to the TV – several video samples are available. This also requires configuring the player and TV to side-by-side 3D and watching in full screen.
- 3D NVIDIA Videos Live. This cool site has about a dozen videos and a embedded player that can also be configured to full screen, side-by-side 3D – with the TV configured to match.
In the near future, I’m hopeful we’ll be able to play hundreds of PC games in 3D – with NVIDIA’s soon to be released 3DTV Play software and the PC connected to the 3D TV.
We could play PC games in 3D sooner – but I’m not looking into setting up NVIDIA’s own Active Glasses technology. I’d much rather have only one type of active glasses in the house – and playing PC games with an Xbox 360 Wireless Controller for Windows on the large Sony TV is really cool – adding 3D to this experience will be awesome.
We enjoy Dish Network – upgraded from DirecTV a long while back, and have loved the better service and prices. Unfortunately, they aren’t talking about any 3D channels just yet. It’s got me thinking about switching back to DirecTV for their 3D channels.
If you have any questions about how I’ve managed to do any of this, or comments on other 3D capabilities we should be looking in to – let me know.