I’ve seen many TVs, but few have the simplicity, style, and dazzling high-quality picture as…a Playstation branded TV? Yes, you read that right. Not only is Sony’s first “for-gaming” TV crazy good, it’s an HD 3DTV for $500. I can’t remember the last time I played console games on a display that looked this good. The clarity, the accuracy in colors, the excellent backlight that only brightens the picture and not the screen…color me impressed. For Xbox console lovers, check out the leaked Microsoft Durango Xbox 720 specs.

It’s sad then that the only reason I can’t recommend it to everyone today is the tiny size and first-gen design quirks. Almost nothing else limits this brilliant TV.

Inside the Box

The Sony Playstation 3D Display a TV that doesn’t follow typical television nomenclature (Vizio VX32L, Sony Bravia XBR HX929, other terrible names that mean nothing to users.). Whoever started naming TV sets must have hated marketers, and this TV bucks that trend. Instead, the full name is too long. “Sony Playstation 3D Display” is too long. PSTV, or Playstation 3DTV would be far simpler and better. For the purposes of this review I’ll keep the name PSTV.

Out of the box, two realities immediately hit home: it’s a small TV and the TV is all you get. The PSTV is a 24” TV, as small as home TVs get. For comparison, most 24″ HDTVs are 720p and under $300. The PSTV is strange for it’s screen size; it’s a small TV but a large computer monitor. The integrated speakers are like elephant ears, and take up a lot of horizontal space. More importantly, the display itself is awfully small for a TV set, whether it’s for games or TV viewing. But more on screen size later.

When opening the box, users will find only three things: the PSTV, a set of 3D glasses, and the power cable. It really is as bare-bones as TVs go, which is good because Sony keeps things simple, but how about a remote? No remote is included and Sony currently doesn’t have one available (media controls are available through the Playstation 3 using a Bluetooth remote or controller). The PSTV does have an IR sensor, so universal remotes do work with the set.

Build and Design

The PSTV is slim, and surprisingly so. For a 1080p display, it crams all of the essentials while maintaining excellent picture quality. With a completely black coat remeniscient of the Playstation 2 design (the older finish, not the newer PS3 original glossy decal or updated gunmetal matte), and it looks great. Product shots provided by companies of their own products generally make those products look better than they actually do. In this case, Sony is dead on. The PSTV looks great, and on the whole it is really well designed.

But piece-by-piece, there are three major snags. The first is the lack of ports, or rather, the lack of a coaxial port. The PSTV includes two HDMI ports and Component ports, and that’s it. For a TV, this is a surprise. The only way to watch cable through the PSTV is to have an HD-ready cable box (which most of us still don’t have), or through your game console. My office cable box is SD-only, but I was able to watch streaming TV through my Xbox 360 (thanks to the Verizon IPTV app). Unfortunately TV streaming for the PS3 is still in its fledgling stages in the US.

The controls are also very oddly placed on the back right of the PSTV, and they are hell to reach. With no included remote this is especially tiresome. The menu system is designed with those poorly placed buttons in mind. It points to which button to press for what action, and the menu navigation is very fluid and easy to use, the best I’ve ever seen on a TV.

Picture and Audio Quality

As I said above, the picture quality is excellent. When I met with Sony representatives a few months back, they said the PSTV was completely a Playstation-branded initiative. Sony Electronics, which builds Bravia TVs (among many other things) didn’t make it. The focus was clearly on perfect picture quality, and they did a damn fine job. The only thing that really matters with any display is great visuals, and the PSTV nailed it. I’ve never seen a TV that looked this good for under $1,500.

The only problem I’ve found is the very glossy display, which because of the screen’s small size and how close I regularly sat in front of the TV to see it, compounded glare and reflections. The closer you are to a reflective surface the more reflections and glare you’ll see, and the PSTV is oh so guilty of the crime of reflection.

I am also very impressed with the backlight, which produces no lightbleed or oversaturation at any brightness. This is uncanny among both TVs and monitors, and damn amazing for an LCD panel. Colors are very accurate, and the framerate is consistently excellent. This is because of the 240Hz refresh rate, which seems incredible but is designed for two people simultaneously playing in 3D (more on that in ‘3D Quality’).

The built-in speakers produce adequate sound for a display of this size. I wouldn’t recommend them for serious gaming though. I regularly had trouble placing directional audio, and the sound in general was light and at higher pitches tinny. At higher volumes the sound cracks. For regular TV viewing or light gaming the built-in speakers are good, but more serious gaming or for watching movies I recommend using a dedicated 2.1 speaker set.

3D Quality

3D is unique on the PSTV because it uses Sony’s own developed technology called SimulView. SimulView displays two different images on the same screen for two different people to watch simultaneously, and each will only see the picture intended for them. It works by using the included (1) shutter glasses to only show half of the picture. That’s why the PSTV has a 240Hz refresh rate: 60Hz for each eye, for two players.

Today there are only games that support SimulView, including Motorstorm Apocolypse, Gran Turismo 5, Killzone 3, and Super Stardust HD. I tested all of the games, and SimulView works great. It greatly improves playing coop on a single display. I never found a lack of clarity, and there shouldn’t be. The human eye sees at 24/25Hz, so 60Hz per eye is more than enough.

General 3D image quality is also excellent, though it really depends more on the game than the display. The screen produces crisp 3D picture, and there is very little movement from bobbing heads (moving your head side to side produces a slight movement of the image on the screen). It isn’t the best 3D I’ve tested, but the combination of excellent picture quality and very good 3D quality makes it the best 3D display to date.

My only concern regarding 3D is the small display size. Over the years my biggest complaint for 3D gaming is that the screen needs to be large for the 3D effect to be meaningful. Computer monitors max out at 27″ for 3D, and 3DTVs can get very large but often come with their own 3D glasses and technology. Even with larger screens 3DTVs are relatively smaller because of the greater distance from the TV than a computer monitor. PC gaming has so far provided the best home 3D setup, though that will likely change with better 3D projectors.

At 24”, the PSTV is small for both a TV and a 3D display. This minimizes the 3D effect unless you’re sitting very close to the screen. Because 3D today goes into the TV (deep) instead of outside the TV (in your face), closeness to the screen is only a problem your grandmother will complain about (“if you sit that close to the TV you are going to go blind!). The overall 3D experience, unless you’re very close to the TV, is lacking. For two players this poses a unique problem of being very physically close to one another while playing, though relatively speaking a single 24″ display provides more picture than a 50″ TV going split-screen.


The Playstation 3D Display has the best video quality of any TV three times its price. It may be one of the best gaming products ever built, and I hope to see more in the future. As the first Playstation TV it has a few design mistakes (no remote, poorly placed buttons), but the exceptional build of this TV is undeniable.

The biggest problem, both for everyday users and 3D gamers, is the size. 24” is small for a TV. It fits on a computer desk, though it doesn’t make the best monitor. Text isn’t very clear, and it doesn’t make for the best computer monitor. But for anyone with one display interested in getting a second, the PSTV is a great option for viewing media, playing games, and even for applications such as picture and video editing.

As a standalone TV, the PSTV lacks a coaxial input but works well with today’s game consoles. If you’ve forsaken cable TV for internet TV and videos or have an HD cable box, the PSTV will fit right in. College students and anyone on a budget can’t find a better deal than this. Assuming it meets your needs, I highly recommend the Playstation 3D Display. If it doesn’t, wait until Sony puts out a model twice the size. With this kind of quality, the company would be crazy not to.

Editor’s Rating:

[Rating: 4]


Bottom Line: The best TV you can buy for $500. Excellent video, perfect for gaming, but it needs to match your conditions. A perfect display as a secondary PC monitor/game console TV at a workstation. There’s a reason why it fit in multiple gift guides.


  • Excellent video quality
  • Solid 3D reproduction
  • Minimalist hardware and software design
  • Few add-ons, no included remote control
  • Button placement
  • Too small for comfortable gaming as a traditional TV

James Pikover

Spawned in the horrendous heat of a Los Angeles winter, James was born with an incessant need to press buttons. Whether it was the car radio, doorbells on Halloween or lights, James pushed, pressed and prodded every button. No elevator was left unscathed, no building intercom was left un-rung, and no person he’s known has been left un-annoyed.

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  1. We do not “see at 24Hz.” Whoever told you that was perpetuating a blatantly false idea. If you can’t see the difference between videos or games at 60 FPS and 24 then it’s just your eyes. You would be the exception. An normal person can see a large difference in smoothness.

  2. I don’t know why people keep calling it a TV when it is a monitor. I’m not sure that a standard PC monitor would have more connection ports than the Playstation display. If you look at it as a TV or compare it to aTV you would wonder why it doesn’t have a tuner, more connection ports or a remote and take away from it’s review score. If you see it for what it is you can truly appreciate it’s technology. It is a monitor designed with the playstation in mind offering crisp picture quality, 3D and simulview so gamers can play 2 player games without having to split the screen.

  3. I’m an owner of one of these displays and I want to warn you guys it does have some serious over heating problems. I’m having to use a fan for the TV in order to keep it from over heating and completely blacking out. I know some people have had to completely return their unit due to actual damage from the heating. Mine hasn’t crapped out yet but I’m sure it would have if I had not been keeping it cool.

  4. You’re welcome.

    By the way 3D works fine with my PC as well (nVidia GTX 680), no hacks required, at least the games I’ve tried including Crysis 2.

  5. This is something i am considering using with my computer. i hope the 3d works as good on the computer with this monitor as it does with the PS3.

  6. Thank you 3D display user for giving that tip on the monitor sharpness! I have to say I love the screen. It works phenomenal in my office, but it was lacking that sharpness for text. I’m in and out spreadsheets and text files all day, it was driving me nuts! With your help I just turned down the sharpness all the way and it voila, the rest is history!

  7. I often see the complaint about text not being clear on this display when used as a PC monitor, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.  

    Go into the settings of this display, turn the SHARPNESS to 0.  Text on your PC is clear as the best “monitors” out there.  The sharpness image processing of this set does something funny that makes Cleartype/Font rendering look out of wack – it isn’t a fault of the panel at all.

    Please try this, and revise the article as needed.  I use this thing 90% for PC, in fact, it is my primary monitor for software development now.  I actually  moved my PS3 from my 46″ 120hz set to this thing on my desk because it’s so convenient to just switch to it and play a few quick games and enjoy the 3D titles and blu-rays.  It isn’t much of a social display, but for a desk display it’s great.

    Not to say this thing doesn’t have issues, mostly with quality control.  I am on my second display after the backlight on the first one died after only 2 weeks.  My second one has some stuck subpixels.  Many others report on the playstation forums of various issues with quality control – but once you get a good one they are excellent displays especially at the recent sale prices of $299.  I am even considering getting a second.

    I just wish Sony would have some response to the common quality issues.  So far it seems they have not made (or at least not distributed) any sets after the first batches made in August and September of 2011.  I would love to get my hands on one made later that perhaps had a bit more care placed in the construction and testing before being sent out of the factory.

    1. Thank you for this info on the text. Just picked up one this week on a cheap deal and almost unhooked it immediately until I found your comment. Sharpness to 0 fixed it immediately.

      Speakers are horrible – but I assumed they’d only be mediocre since they are built-ins.

      I MIGHT keep this… haha, we’ll see.

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