Now This is Being "Plugged In."
One of the more original and interesting products I have had the privilege of reviewing recently is the i-Vision from 22Moo - an Australian Technology company. The i-Vision is essentially a pair of goggles that plug into your iPod (or other Video capable device) and give the user the illusion of watching on a large screen Television. Now, it doesn't claim to give you HD quality, not should anyone expect that - but what it does give you is a totally new and unique way to watch movies on your iPod.
Is the i-Vision something to invest in? Read on for my thoughts.
We seem to never be happy. We want TVs to keep getting bigger to create an impressive home theatre environment for watching our movies. We also want movies to come to the small screen - onto everything from our PDA's to our iPods. But the small screen is really too small to sit and comfortably watch a movie. So, now we need a way to make the small screen big again.
Luckily, 22Moo was listening and they have a very innovative and fun product for watching movies on the small screen.
Enter the i-Vision - a pair of goggles that take the image of the movie and broadcast it into two lenses/screens inside. To the user, the illusion created is one of watching the movie on a much larger screen. Plug in the included ear buds and you are truly plugged into your multi-media experience.
The i-Vision currently comes in two models:
The i-Vision 230 - Featuring a virtual display size of 35 inches from 2m away with a resolution of 320 x 240 (230,000 pixels) and weighs only 72g.
The i-Vision 922 - Featuring a virtual display size of 48 inches from 2m away with a resolution of 640 x 480 (922,000 pixels) and weighs only 84g.
Here is a little history about this Australian company from their web site:
Who is 22Moo ?
22Moo is a fresh and unique international developer, integrator and distributor of iPod, PSP and Zune accessories and solutions based in Sydney, Australia.
22Moo is also the appointed Australasian distributor for Innovative Sleep Solutions Revolutionary award winning Sleeptracker® watch.
A Bit Of History
In 2005 22Moo had begun by publishing and wholesaling iPod and PSP CD-Rom utilities for the Mac and PC platforms for retail representation.
During 2006, 22Moo had expanded into developing its own multimedia, kiosk and educational software titles.
Later that year, 22Moo approached Innovative Sleep Solutions to seek the approval to become the official Australasian distributor of the Revolutionary award winning Sleeptracker® watch. Innovative Sleep Solutions had approved the request.
Then in mid 2006, 22Moo had begun aggressively seeking and forming multiple partnerships with leading international designers, developers, innovators and manufacturers of iPod, PSP and Microsoft Zune accessories and solutions in a push to become one of the world's most unique and recognized international distributors and integrators of accessories and solutions for the iPod, PSP and Zune.
Our team is made of extremely creative, talented, friendly and skilled freelance artists, programmers and IT gurus so that we can ensure the highest quality of product, service and support is always met.
22Moo actively looks for new opportunities in expanding our product and service range. We are always keen to form new partnerships locally and/or internationally. If you have a product that you believe is of interest to 22Moo or wish to form a partnership with 22Moo, please feel welcome to contact us.
In The Community
22Moo regularly volunteers time in assisting with IT projects and fundraising for hospitals, schools, charities and others organizations who are under staffed and/or funded. We hope to make a positive difference to those who are less fortunate.
About the i-Vision:
| Portable Displays - i-Vision 230
The ultra-light i-Vision 230 video eyewear features a streamlined and prominent design that will surely turn a few heads.
Big screen on the go
The i-Vision 230 produces a virtual display size of 35 inches from 2m away with a resolution of 320 x 240 (230,000 pixels) and weighs only 72g !
The i-Vision 230 video eyewear is compatible with the iPod Video, Zune, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, Sony PlayStation 1, 2 and 3. It also works with many other devices that features an AV output port such as a portable DVD player, PMP, set top box and more.
Display Size: 35 inches, 2m away
Pixels: 320 x 240 (220k pixels), full color
View angle : 24 degrees
Video Input: NTSC / PAL format (automatic selection)
Sound function : double channel stereo
Adjustable functions: Volume, Nose Support
Power Input : 5V DC
Power Consumption : 0.6W
Included In The Box:
Control box with built-in lithium battery, AC adapter, USB recharge cable, in-car recharge cable, signal cables
$250 USD Suggest Retail Price
* Fully compatible with 5th generation iPod Video
* Fully compatible with 4th generation iPod with video out
* Fully compatible with Microsoft Zune
* Works with the Sony PlayStation, Microsoft Xbox, Nintendo Wii
* Compatible with devices with AV output such as Portable DVD Players, Set Top Boxes, VCR's, HDD Media Players and more.
1 Year Limited
Let's go on to the review.
2. Design and Operation, Conclusion
The i-Vision is a very light weight plastic set of goggles. There is an adjustable nose bridge to help you find the perfect viewing angle. At first glance, looking into the i-vision was reminiscent of one of those old viewfinders with the little wheels of slides that would go into the machine.
It looks like each lens contains a screen - and when you look through both eyepieces - the large screen illusion is created.
On the sides of the frame of the goggles sits the ear buds - each in a secure holder on the side when not needed for use.
On the bottom of the left Temple of the goggle sits a small mini-USB type jack which is used to connect to the control device for the i-Vision. That control device has volume controls on the top, the connecting jack on the bottom, the DC - in jack (for charging) on the left hand side, the on/off button on the right hand side and a belt clip on the back.
There are a fair amount of cables dangling when using this device, but until you can stream Video over Bluetooth - that is certainly expected and understandable.
When the user is wearing the goggles, the comparison arises to Lavar Burton's Character in Star Trek the Next Generation. You look like a geek - but that's OK, because this is truly a geek product!
Ease of Use:
I used the i-Vision with my 5G iPod Video. It was as easy as charging the unit, plugging it into the headphone/video out jack of the iPod and turning it on. The documentation was not quite as sophisticated as the product, but all the necessary information was detailed.
There were a couple of occasions where I lost the picture - once I needed to unplug and plug in the cable to the side of the goggles and the other time the battery was just wearing down and the charge indicator light had yet to illuminate.
Comfort was a mixed bag with the i-Vision. The nose bridge and the side pieces are adjustable which allows for finding a good fit for various head and face sizes. The i-Vision felt secure, but was never what I would call "comfortable" to wear.
The real issue for me was that I wear glasses and can't see a thing without them. I tried to watch a movie without my glasses and could not see a thing - even though the goggles were two inches from my eyes. So, I had to wear my glasses which was really fine, just not that comfortable.
One comfort issue is eye strain. Watching an entire full length movie can strain your eyes. For shorter movies and TV shows - I really did not have too much of a problem with eye strain.
Picture and Sound Quality
While the literature said that my particular i-Vision was supposed to simulate a 35" TV - it did not seem that big to me. It was certainly much bigger than watching the little screen of the iPod and it was incredibly cool to have the illusion of the screen being far away. Don't get me wrong - this is a very cool product - I just don't know if it was really like a large screen image.
It was wide screen and there was no variation in frame rate from watching on the iPod itself.
The actual image quality was good. It was a bit subdued in color and at time cast a little reflection. Blacks were not real deep black - but again, the resolution is really 320 x 240 - this is not 1080i HDTV.
Sound quality was excellent with the supplied ear buds and there is a separate jack on the remote for your own earphones if you prefer.
22Moo's iVision is really a potentially breakthrough product. While picture quality was not HDTV is quality, it was still pretty darn good. Most importantly, the iVision gives the user a truly immersive experience - it is like being at the movies, but you are the only one there.
I was impressed with the battery life - it certainly outlived the iPod battery for a full length feature film.
- Very cool technology
- good image quality
- great sound quality
- a very immersive experience
- Uncomfortable for some
- tricky if you wear glasses
- screen resolution is not as sharp as one might hope for
The iVision is available in lots of different versions for different devices. Mine came with the plug for the iPod as well as connectors for lots of other video capable devices.
The iVision can be purchased for US$250 and up (depending on the version) at www.22moo.com.au