MyVu Shades 301 Video Glasses Review
Video glasses, or video goggles are nifty devices that allow you to privately view video from almost any video source. In fact, the MyVu’s had cables to connect to the typical RCA connectors (found on most all TV’s and DVD players), as well as the Ipod, Zune, and several phones. However, this review will concentrate on their use as display device to drive or pilot radio control (RC) cars and aircraft from the first person view (FPV), using a video camera and a wireless transmitter. The goal of using video goggles in this manner is to block out the outside world, and provide an immersive experience, where the RC pilot (for example) has the illusion of being in the cockpit while flying the airplane.
Double View Feature
The MyVu Shades had one feature that I could not find in any other personal media viewer, at any price. The Shades had the LCD displays in the lower portion of the glasses frames, and sunglasses like lens along the upper portion of the frames. This gives the viewer the ability to either look down into the LCD displays to drive the RC car, or look up through the sunglasses to see the outside world and find the RC car. However, this feature came at significant inconvenience; you must wear the Shades down on the end of your nose, like a pair of reading glasses. You can not push the glasses up into the normal position (at the top of your nose); the video displays are angled in such a way to prevent this. This makes the glasses difficult to wear and the displays difficult to see.
The Video Display
The Shades have two very small LCD video displays, one in front of each eye. Each display is basically the same as the display in the eyepiece of a camcorder. Although there are two displays, they appear as a single image when wearing the glasses. When I first tried the Shades on, with video streaming, it quickly became apparent that they are a poor display for first person view RC applications. First, they have a screen resolution of 320 X 240 pixels, which is a very low resolution. I knew that this low resolution might be a problem, but the price of about $89.00 (on eBay) enticed me. The video quality is probably adequate to watch a movie, but barely adequate. It is possible that some of the video quality problems are due to the very small interpupillary distance (distance between the centers of the eye’s pupils). Binoculars typically can be adjusted to fit the distance between each individual’s eyes, and this aids in focusing them. This distance is not adjustable on the shades. Of course, if your eyes are close together you may get a significantly better video quality. This may account for some reviews that hate this product and some that love it.
That in the Cockpit Feeling
The primary reason video goggles are popular for FPV applications, is that when most of your field of view is filled up with a video display, and the rest of your surroundings are blocked out; it gives you the illusion of being immersed in the scene where your video camera is mounted. This scene can be the cockpit of an RC aircraft, off road truck, race car, helicopter, boat, train or anything else imaginable. Being immersed in the cockpit of a stunt plane (for example) provides an RC pilot the ability to enjoy an adrenaline pumping aerobatic flight, while sitting in a lawn chair. There is no need to spend a few hundred thousand dollars on a stunt plane, and risk your life. In fact, this can be done for a few hundred dollars, and I have never heard of a pilot being injured in an FPV crash (although flying into yourself, or others can be a risk).
This begs the question: do the Shades fill up enough of your field of view to create this “immersed in the scene” or “virtual reality” sensation? Based on the product literature I read before buying my Shades, I thought they would create the desired sensation. The product literature claimed that wearing the Shades gives you an experience similar to watching a 42” (1.07 meters) big screen TV at a distance of 39” (1 meter). If this were true, I thought, it would give me the illusion of being in the scene. However, the Shades did not even come CLOSE to this promise. Consequently, the Shades do not give you the impression of being in the aircraft or race car cockpit.
What Sensation Do Shades Give the User
It was easy to test this; simply put the shades on, look first at their displays, then look over the top of the glasses at a TV screen of a known size, and back up until the size of the Shades display appears to match the size of the TV screen. I used an old 25” (.64 meter) TV, and backed up until both the TV and Shades displays appeared to be the same size; I was 6 feet (1.83 meters) from the TV at that time. Put simply, standing this distance from a 25” TV does not even come CLOSE to filling up your field of view, nor does it give the sensation of being in the cockpit. A good analogy of the sensation provided is to imagine masking a 4/3 TV sized rectangle (25” measured diagonally) on a cars windshield, and covering the area outside this rectangle with black paint, then sitting in the back seat (approximately 6 feet away) and try to drive the car. You could drive a car like this, but it would be a poor quality experience.
Maybe I am Doing Something Wrong
It is my goal to give realistic and accurate product reviews, which will actually help others, make good equipment decisions, and not repeat my mistakes. However, it can be nearly as detrimental to give a good product a negative review, as it is to give a bad product an unrealistically positive review. Therefore, I will always ATTEMPT to contact the vendor who sold me a poorly performing product, and ask if the results I experienced are typical. If the vendor is willing to send me a known good working product; I will repeat my research, and report the new results along with the old. However, in this case the manufacturer appears to have gone out of business; so this is not possible.
Although the Shades are probably a fine toy for private video viewing; they fail miserably as a FPV display. I will never buy another pair of 320 X 240 glasses; 640 X 480 is the minimum practical resolution for FPV applications. You can probably use the Shades to drive an RC car, but the experience is poor and they are not even worth the $89.00 I paid for them. At least I only paid $89.00; I have recently seen them on Amazon and eBay for $200.00 or more. Yet again, I have spent good money on a piece of FPV equipment, and will have to replace it with a more expensive item that I should have bought in the first place.
Hopefully after reading this article you will not repeat my mistake.