On the go with multimedia 3-D glasses
February 08, 2008
I love my HD and surround sound at home, but when I’m traveling, there is no way I’ll be packing my TV along with my whole entertainment system. The next best thing is multimedia 3D glasses. Today’s 3D media viewing glasses are not new, but have come far from the old days of cardboard red-and-blue cellophane glasses you’d wear at the movie theater (if you’re old enough to remember).
I saw a few media viewers at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this year that I think are worth mentioning: Vuzix’s iWear VR920 and Myvu’s Crystal 701 and Shades 301. I’ve seen many 3D glasses over the past few years, but these are decent glasses I would actually use.
Using the Vuzix iWear VR920 is equivalent to wearing a 62-inch TV on your head. Well, sort of. It’s claimed to be the same as watching a 62-inch TV from 9 feet away. Hey, I’ll take that. It was recognized as an honoree for the 2008 CES Innovations Design and Engineering Showcase Awards.
The VR920 has a 1024x768 resolution. Not the best, but it’s compatible with multiple games, including the ever-popular World of Warcraft and Quake 4/Quake Wars. It promises to give you a fully immersive virtual reality experience, particularly with gaming. It’s powered with a USB cable you can plug into your computer and weighs in at 3.2 ounces. You’ll have a 32-degree field of view with 24-bit true color (16 million colors), a built-in noise-canceling microphone and removable headphones (so you can plug in your own if you choose). Vuzix’s iWear VR920 is a bit pricey at $399.95. To purchase or for more information, visit www.vuzix.com.
Myvu’s Crystal 701 ($299.95) and Shades 301 ($199.95) are similar to the VR920, but a little cheaper. The 701 gives you a VGA resolution with USB rechargeable battery (up to four hours per charge) and Ultimate Ears earbuds. The 301 does the same without the higher resolution, and its battery will last you 10 hours per charge. The Myvu line features Kopin’s CyberDisplay technology, offering high pixel density and sharp resolution for its small size.“As portable media players like the iPod nano get smaller and flat-screen TVs only get bigger, consumers are faced with a dilemma: the desire for portability mixed with the need for a comfortable viewing experience,” said Kip Kokinakis, president and CEO of Myvu Corporation. “Myvu shades and crystal solve this small-screen dilemma by giving consumers on-the-go access to their favorite content in a lightweight portable media player on Myvu’s vivid virtual screen.”
Both will be available soon this spring at www.myvu.com, or you can pre-order at www.amazon.com/shades. Between the two brands, I thought Vuzix’s VR920 was significantly better than Myvu’s Crystal 701. It’s $100 more, but could be worth it. I didn’t get the dizzy feeling that I had wearing the VR920. I don’t know about the whole virtual reality experience with these viewers in general, but it’s a breath of fresh air. I was only able to play with these on the show floor, but I could see how using any of these for hours at a time might give you a headache. In any case, if you’re stuck on a plane or a small area for a long time with no big TV or multimedia options, these would be nice to travel with.
Verizon Wireless Offers Manga
So if there’s a way to plug one of those media viewers into a phone, the Japanese anime-loving Verizon Wireless customers will be happy to know that a TOKYOPOP video channel is now available on V CAST.
TOKYOPOP on V CAST offers about 20 four- to six-minute videos each week from its collection.
The video selection includes Bizenghast, based on the original manga by M. Alice LeGrow; Rave Master, a popular series that aired on Cartoon Network directed by Takashi Watanabe; PiNMeN, a cult classic direct from Japan; and FMW, live-action reality-based sports.
I’m a Japanese anime fan, but I don’t have Verizon Wireless to experience this. If you do have a V CAST-enabled phone, the service costs you $3 for one 24-hour use or $15 per month for a monthly VPak subscription. It includes unlimited basic video (with TOKYOPOP on V CAST), Mobile Web 2.0 services, ESPN MVP and Get It Now. For more information, visit your nearest Verizon Wireless store or www.verizonwireless.com.
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