The Masters in 3D at Sony Style

Mari Silbey —  April 9, 2010 — 7 Comments

With a Sony Style store around the corner, I headed out yesterday for a peek at the Masters Tournament in 3D. It was just me, one avid golf fan, and a Sony Style staffer. In other words, the viewing event clearly wasn’t a big draw for the store. Nonetheless, Sony sucked me in, and I have to say I came away more impressed by the demo than I expected.

Sony was showing off its prototype Bravia LX900 3D TV connected to a Comcast cable feed. (No, the set-top wasn’t one of my employer’s, but I hear tell that Motorola set-tops are supporting other demos around the country.) Sony also had several pairs of 3D glasses on hand, and I was surprised at how comfortable they were. I don’t even like wearing sunglasses, but I could see getting used to these. They felt solid, but not heavy; close-fitting, but not tight. Score one for Sony.

As for the 3D picture itself, it was almost hologram-like. Instead of pictures jumping out from the TV, I had a strong impression of depth, as if I could walk right out on to the green like Picard entering the holodeck. I also had an overwhelming urge to see if I could pluck some of the tiny people right off the golf course. They looked like little animated dolls fit for the palm of my hand.

The golf fan next to me was pleased too. While he said he couldn’t see bothering with 3D for a sitcom, he loved being able to see the texture of the course in Augusta while watching the tournament.

I did find some negatives to the 3D experience. Looking at the screen from far to the side or below was headache-inducing. And when I had to hold my phone between cheek and shoulder to take a call, the tilt of my head made the picture unbearably blurry. Still, as a first-gen commercial 3D TV showing, the quality was a lot higher than I would have guessed. The photos below won’t convey that, but take a gander anyway. I even managed to snap one pic before the video feed was integrated. Check out the side-by-side view, and the complete hardware set-up. Available soon at a Sony store near you.

Click to enlarge:

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7 responses to The Masters in 3D at Sony Style

  1. But is it really first gen? Seems like we’ve been dabbling in 3D for 40 years…

    And thanks for taking one for the team. Given my work out in the hinterlands, it was just too difficult to get into DC for Comcast’s event yesterdy. Plus, golf (3D or otherwise) is the boringest sh*t ever.

  2. I was hoping someone would post on this. I do not have a 3DTV, but I did pull up one of the 3D replays on demand just to see what it would look like. Sure enough, the frame comparable side by side image was right there. I used the cross eyed trick to converge the images to one. Although blurry, I did get a little bit of 3D out of it. I can’t do that for long, and I wouldn’t recommend it (my eyes hurt after doing so). Plus the image is still squished horizontally.

    What’s nice about the frame compatible side by side format, it doesn’t matter what set top box you have (The Pace RNG-110 like shown there, a Motorola DCX, Cisco 8300HD, etc…), or what firmware… as long as the TV is 3D aware and you have glasses, it works.

    I would of loved to see this on a real 3DTV.

  3. Melissa and I just checked out the Samsung demo at Best Buy. They’re displaying The Masters on the C7000 set. Ugh, it was brutal – nausea inducing. Also, something was messed up. The tree line was like 3D and coming onto the greens and in front (but above) of the players who were less 3D, or maybe not 3D at all. Horrible demo. Not sure if it’s the feed or Samsung’s technology. But it was nothing like Avatar.

  4. I watched for a bit in Calgary at Shaw Labs. They were running on Pace boxes there as well. One was connected to a Samsung w/shutter glasses, the other connected to a Hyundai w/polarized glasses. Both looked really, really good. One thing about the Samsung…if you had a light source behind you, you would get a nasty reflection on the inside of your glasses as the lenses are w-i-d-e…or maybe my head is just too small for my body.

  5. I will wait for the 3D TV that does not need glasses ;) Rather be hearing about the flat screen that does not need a set top box but can still do the whole digital cable experience. Yeah – I know tru2way is kind of dead on the vine but I still want the one unit I can hang on the wall and not worry if the set top box has its own ugly cables or is on, etc…

  6. Thanks for the post. Yup, checked out the side-by-side image on my TV as well. I assume a lot of people did, since most of us don’t have 3DTV’s and won’t any time soon.

    I checked out the bandwidth on the Comcast feed and although a lot of people were saying it was using the whole 6MHz channel, it wasn’t. There was another encrypted HD channel and an SD in there too. So not a full boat of 2HD + 2SD like usual, but it doesn’t seem like they bumped up the bandwidth more than a couple of Mbps over a normal HD feed.

    With side-by-side of course you’re getting a 960×1080 image for each eye, so half the horizontal resolution. In theory you don’t have to bump the bit rate up at all, but bumping it up a bit is sure to help with the otherwise obvious reduction in quality vs. a standard HD signal.

    ESPN is apparently planning to charge extra when they turn on their 3D channel this summer, which seems surprising to me. Given how few people have 3DTVs they can’t possibly get much money out of this at first. I’d think they’d be better off supplying it to any cableco with ESPN HD and let more people see it and encourage adoption at first.

    At NAB they had some fabulous 3D shots of booth babes in golf outfits bouncing around like strippers in front of the 3D cameras that you were supposed to be interested in. I think this would sell a lot more 3DTVs than 3D Golf, but hey, that’s probably just me. Might keep Blu-Ray alive for a few more minutes when the 3D Porn disks start shipping out the door.

  7. Glenn- Interesting on the bandwidth front. I recall hearing it should take about half of a 6 MHz channel, but that’s still more than what you found. As I hear it, the bandwidth requirements are likely to go up significantly in the future.

    Re- bouncing babes: Golf’s really the wrong sport. Wait till they get the Dallas cheerleaders out during football season. I foresee a 3D goldmine.

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