The 5G iPod is great for video on the go, but the small screen leaves a lot to be desired. If you want to watch a movie on the train or plane, squinting into your hand can get old quickly. Why not look it in the eye?
EyeTheatre is a pair of video-enabled glasses that simulate a big-screen picture on the bridge of your nose. To test it, we watched music videos on an iPod and connected the glasses to a DVD player using the supplied connectors. How did they do? Let’s just say the result were eye-watering.
The EyeTheatre glasses are light and come with three nosepieces to help you find the right fit and placement for your face. The earpieces are a bit stiff, and the hard plastic temples can be irritating, but they’re not uncomfortable to wear. Situational awareness – your ability to discern what is going on around you – is understandably pretty poor. But then, they’re not made for walking down the street with.
While the video quality won’t fool you into thinking you’re watching the latest LCD TV, it’s reasonably viewable and an improvement over staring at the iPod screen. When watching a DVD the picture quality was crisp and clear, though the low-quality iPod video hardly presents the best experience when viewed up close. The visual experience takes a while to get used to, but didn’t cause us any headaches.
Sadly, the EyeTheatre sounds like it’s playing through a puddle. The sound on DVDs was shrill and the music tracks sounded as though we were standing across the street from a school disco with a pair of earmuffs on.
To view videos from your iPod on the EyeTheatre, you must plug a cable on the glasses into an external adaptor, which also acts as a power supply (this can be charged from a USB port on your Mac). Next, you plug a small cable from the adaptor into your iPod’s AV port. Since the cable is so short, it requires that the adaptor remain close to the iPod at all times, making it awkward to hold both in your hand.
This isn’t a dreadful product, and the price makes it certainly a tempting way to pass a long-haul flight, but it’s not ready for prime time just yet. It’s still a bit too bulky, the design has plenty of shortcomings and it’s a shame the audio quality isn’t better. You also run the risk of people pointing and laughing at you – mind you, at least you won’t be able to see or hear them. Having said all that, it will interest early-adopter types.