When you're at work, a standard 17-inch monitor is all that's needed to look at spreadsheets or try to untangle that hairball of computer code. But when you get home, you want to enjoy your Sony Playstation in front of a monster TV, right? But what if your crib (or your budget) isn't big enough for a giant 54-inch home theater?
Several companies have addressed this dilemma with Personal Display Systems (PDS), glasses with LCD color monitors for lenses that create the illusion of a big screen TV for your eyes only. Sony offers the Glasstron (www.sony.com) and Olympus has the Eye-Trek (www.eye-trek.com). One of the first companies to make a consumer priced PDS was i-glasses (www.i-glasses.com), and they still offer the best technology at the lowest price.
The basic i-glasses LC model ($399) has 255 x 266 lines of resolution with a 30-degree field of view for each eye -- similar to watching a 52-inch TV from a distance of about six feet. I-glasses also have stereo left and right earphones that create the illusion of 3D spatial sound. The glasses weigh only eight ounces and fold so you can carry them in your briefcase or laptop bag.
I-glasses offer complete immersion for your PC or console gaming system. A pair of these glasses hooked up to the new Sony PS2 makes a killer game station, though it's hard to show off your gaming moves to your friends. I-glasses' inputs (for any standard video source) can also be hooked to a portable DVD player, camcorder, or even a laptop for use as a monitor replacement on plane trips. You might look like a dork, but you'll be able to watch the in-flight movie of your choice on a virtual 54-inch screen while everyone else is watching "Patch Adams" for the millionth time on tiny overhead monitors.
Watching movies and playing video games are typically done more frequently with other folks. But that's what people said about listening to music when Sony introduced the Walkman. As PDS get smaller and cheaper, perhaps they'll become as ubiquitous as personal stereos, and everyone on the subway will watch their Anonova (www.anonova.com) webcasts or The Matrix IV in complete privacy.
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Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.
March 19, 2014