Sony Debuts Virtual Reality Video Headset

A virtual-reality headset from Sony almost puts you inside a video by allowing you to widen your view when you turn your head up, down or side to side.

Sony's $1,000 "Wearable HDTV" worked as intended in a demo. But a few quirks made me believe it'll still be a while before we can really step into a recorded video scene and look around for ourselves.

The HMZ-T3W fits snugly on your head, even while wearing glasses, but you need someone's help strapping it in. A big soft pad rests on your forehead, while straps around the back of your skull give you a snug fit.

At 11.3 ounces (320 grams), the device is fairly light. Because it doesn't sit on your nose, I can imagine sitting through a full-length movie with it on. A set of headphones is required.

A hooded viewer contains two screens measuring 0.7 inches (17. 8 millimeters) diagonally. Each screen delivers high-definition images in 720p resolution to each eye. Little slider knobs under each screen help you focus.

In a demo at the International CES gadget show, you are put on a motorcycle racing down the English countryside. Looking down shows the pavement speeding by, looking up shows the clouds. When swiveling to the right or left, I felt like waving to the crowds alongside the road -- although I would have looked like a dork to anyone in the real world looking on.

The footage was shot using an action camera with a 170-degree field of view. Sony says the screen is equivalent to viewing a 750-inch (1.9 meter) screen from 65 feet (20 meters) away, though it's almost the same as saying you're watching a 60-inch (152-centimeter) screen from five 5 feet (1.5 meters) away.

A sensor that captures motion was clipped to the back straps in the...

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