Cinera is one of those crowdfunding projects that seems absurd on first glance, but increasingly looks like a good idea the longer you think about it. Billed as an immersive personal theater headset, it's basically like sitting really close to a tiny HDTV while wearing headphones to give the effect of sitting in front of a cinema-sized screen.
The device is a stereoscopic headset with dual displays each packing a resolution of 2560 x 1140 pixels, which is admittedly pretty impressive. The view is calibrated to imitate a screen with a field of vision of 66 degrees so it essentially resembles the scope of a cinema screen if you were to sit in the front third of a large theater.
Although Cinera can come with an optional head mount, the makers recommend using the supplied "burden free arm" that holds the unit in front of your face without weighing down your head. Anyone who has spent more than 10 or 20 minutes wearing a modern VR headset will immediately recognize the benefits of this design detail.
HDMI, USB and Micro USB inputs allow content to be sourced from a variety of devices, from a gaming console to a Blu-Ray player. The system also runs on Android and is Wi-Fi-enabled, meaning you can watch Netflix and other streaming services directly through the headset.
The dual-screen device also means you can watch 3D media without suffering from the frustrating dimming effect of plastic glasses – a plus for anyone still waving the 3D flag. The head mount is also recommended for FPV drone operators, and a battery means the system can run unplugged for up for four hours for such applications.
Ultimately, it is hard to really gauge the worthiness of Cinera without actually trying it ourselves, but we are certainly pretty fascinated by the idea. It's inarguably an anti-social way to watch TV, but it's also a great option for people who either can't afford a giant HDTV or just don't have the space.
If you're wondering whether the idea would actually catch on, well, it has smashed its initial Kickstarter goal and still has over two weeks to run. The current early bird price is US$449, or $498 including the head mount. As with any crowdfunding campaign, there is a degree of risk involved, but the company seems to have executed some well-realized prototypes and ambitiously propose to ship the first units by December.
The unit is undeniably weird-looking, and certainly not the future of home entertainment, but it could be a fun, immersive way to watch your favorite movie at home without spending thousands on a giant home entertainment system.
Check out the Cinera campaign video below.