A report from the McLaughlin Consulting Group (MCG) predicts that the “Personal Viewer” market could reach $1 billion in sales by 2010, just four years from now. A Personal Viewer is a small, head-mounted display that creates a virtual image of a screen many feet wide. The same technology that is making low-cost high definition rear projection displays possible can also be use used to create lightweight goggles and other devices that give an individual an outstanding and immersive viewing experience. The report cites at least one device — the Cyberman GVD310A — that sells for about $200 and works with the the Apple iPod. This particular unit is only SVGA resolution, which is not enough for HD images, but it will be easy to use higher resolution imagers as their costs come down.
I have frequently written about pent-up demand for personal viewing experiences. The tiny screens of iPods and cell phones are less than satisfying for long periods of viewing, but these headmounted designs could catch on in a big way. As we have more opportunities to take our video content with us as we move about, Personal Viewers indeed could experience explosive growth in sales.