The technology company Avegant announced on Tuesday that over 10,000 units of its flagship product, a headset aimed for movie lovers called the Glyph, will start shipping to its Kickstarter backers, followed by customers who preordered the device, starting in Jan. 2016.
The headset is then expected to hit select retail stores in the U.S. and China throughout next year.
Avegant's Glyph previously was introduced as part of a Kickstarter campaign that raised $1.5 million since Jan. 2014. Now, nearly two years after its campaign launch, the device is finally making its way to the hands of consumers.
Glyph looks like a virtual reality headset, featuring both goggle and headphone components, but this is not a VR device. Instead, Glyph is essentially a personal movie theater headset that makes the viewer feel like they are sitting at the best seat in the house in their very own cinema.
"The Glyph is distinctly not VR, yet you can completely enjoy the feeling of an immersive experience without shutting out the rest of the world around you," Avegant CEO Joerg Tewes said in a press release. "Glyph is a personal media device providing users the ability to enjoy long-form content, be it 2D or 3D, in rich detail, with amazing studio-quality sound and support for head tracking and surround sound, which can be experienced using base line video playback apps, or, for a fuller experience, the JauntVR player."
Instead of featuring a screen, the personal movie theater headset has two projectors, called the Virtual Retinal Display (one for each eye), which is made out of two million micromirrors with a resolution of 1280 by 720p per eye and projects images straight to the user's eyes.
Users can watch 2D, 3D movies and 360-degree videos with the eyewear, with a view that is comparable to watching a 65-inch television in the living room. The device has a field of view of about 40 degrees.
However, the headset has spatial awareness by allowing peripheral vision above and below the image, so it is not as immersive an experience in comparison to VR viewers. Still, this prevents those who are not used to these immersive experiences from suffering from motion sickness. Along with being able to comfortably wear the headset for long-term viewing, users will also still be able to reach for the popcorn without having to take the device off while watching a movie.
To use Avegant's Glyph, simply plug the headset into any HDMI device, such as a phone, tablet or laptop, and stream movies from Netflix, YouTube videos and the like. The device has a battery life of about four to five hours.
Users might also see gaming content come to the headset through the company's partnership with Jaunt. Avegant also announced that former Apple executive and Lucasfilm CTO Richard Kerris has joined as the company's CMO, so future Star Wars content for the headset may too be a possibility. While this is just speculation, we expect big things to happen over at Avegant.
Avegant's Glyph headset is available to preorder for $599, with the full retail price of $699. The personal movie theater viewer will be available at the company's website and Amazon in early 2016.