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Will Sony’s 3D TV innovations lure more than just gamers?

Sony's PlayStation 3D Display

Although there are a few things holding us back from investing in 3D TV, one of the elephants in the room is especially hefty – price. Sony seeks to slash the cost with its new PlayStation-branded 3D TV. Will it tempt you?

We’ve tried to gauge your appetite for 3D TV a number of times on Which? Conversation. There’s been harmony so far – most of you aren’t interested.

In the words of our TV expert Mike Briggs, 3D’s ‘expensive, the content is rubbish, it feels gimmicky and is just a pain to actually watch’.

During its E3 conference in Los Angeles, Sony announced that it hopes to drop the cost barrier. As you may or may not know, the PlayStation 3 can play 3D games and Blu-rays, but most gamers probably don’t feel up to splashing out a grand on a new piece of kit.

Sony’s budget 3D telly

That’s why Sony has unveiled the ‘PlayStation 3D Display’ – a 24-inch 3D TV that’ll cost just $500 in the US (around 300 quid in the UK). Bargain right?

Yes, I know – 24-inch isn’t terribly big. Our screen-size tool says you’ll have to sit between four and five feet from the screen – any further and you’ll want a bigger set. Still, £300 will also get you a pair of 3D glasses (worth £40) a copy of the game Resistance 3 (3D capable and around £40) and an HDMI cable (handy).

This TV can’t be any good then, can it? Well, actually it’s an edge-lit LED display with a 5000:1 contrast ratio, 240Hz refresh rate and a 176 degree viewing angle. In other words, it’s a decent telly with the ability to broadcast bleeding edge 3D footage into your sockets.

How can Sony afford to sell it so cheaply? I won’t go into the details, but you can buy a decent 24-inch HD TV for under £200 and making it 3D capable isn’t a big stretch for manufacturers.

Video games at forefront of 3D

So, does this new price point tempt you? Maybe you’re thinking that it’s ok for gamers, but not too compelling for everyone else. Apart from mentioning that both Wimbledon and the Isle of White festival will be broadcast in 3D this summer, I’d have to agree

Games are certainly, to me, the most persuasive argument for embracing 3D. And Sony knows this, investing in over 100 3D video games this year.

One of these games, Uncharted 3, has been described as being able to ‘do for 3D gaming what Avatar did for 3D movies’. Its sequel won countless awards in 2009, and it’s by far my favourite PS3 game – Uncharted 3 is likely to be the only game to coax me into splashing out on a 3D telly. Watch the trailer if you don’t believe me.

Split-screen gaming in full-screen

But there is a compelling feature of Sony’s budget 3D telly that’s twisting my arm further. Playing split-screen multiplayer on a 24-inch TV with a friend would be a pain – it’s already small enough without chopping it in half. Sony’s solution is ingenious – use 3D tech to let each player see something different on the full-screen, at the same time.

The game will flick between both scenes, with each pair of 3D glasses just one to each player. Split-screen without having to divide the screen in two. Nifty, aye? Who knows, this could be used to let one person watch Eastenders while the other watches Come Dine With Me on the same screen – what’s not to love about that?

Apparently 78% of PS3 owners have an HD TV, and Sony hopes the next step for these gamers is 3D. Maybe this lower price point will entice them – the question is, if you’re not a gamer, are you tempted too?

DanielCake says:
9 June 2011

What will make me buy a 3D-TV? Exactly what Sony have done, a good size screen for a brilliant price! Sold!

Fabien says:
9 June 2011

If it were up to me, I think Sony should have included this as part of their “Welcome Back” program for PSN. But since they chose to not reward us with expensive gifts, I’m still not comfortable getting a 3DTV. They advantages are just not there, especially not for the price, and I’m perfectly happy with having a simple HDTV.

For those that are looking to get a new TV for a small room, this is definitely a great deal though. I think it would be interesting if they could release similar packages, only with bigger screened TVs.