Techwatch: The IFA show took place over the last week in Berlin, as you’ve probably noticed from the flurry of TechWatch news stories relating to the event.
But for those of you who’ve missed some (or all) of our coverage, or indeed the articles splashed liberally around other tech sites, here’s a quick round-up of the hot topics at this year’s IFA. (more…)
Gizmodo: After polling the U.S. a few months ago, Nielsen conducted a worldwide poll to gauge interest in 3DTV displays. SPOILER ALERT: less than 10 percent of those asked said they’ll buy a 3D television in the next year.
Another 15 percent polled said they might buy a 3DTV, but that’s not so promising when over 60 percent said they they definitely won’t buy a 3DTV. And when only narrowed down to North America, just 3 percent of North Americans say they plan to buy a 3D set in the next year. As far as 3D in the home goes, GigaOm is all doom and gloom, declaring 3DTV to be dead on arrival, and it’s tough to disagree. I sure as hell don’t want to deal with the glasses, especially when more than one person is in the room. Someday, when glasses-less displays arrive, maybe we can try this grand 3D experiment again, yeah? [Nielsen via GigaOm]
Gizmodo: Panasonic isn’t taking no for an answer on this 3DTV business. To make the prospect of switching over a little more appealing, they’re rolling out the SC-ZT2: a fully wireless home theater audio system designed specifically for Full HD 3D.
The SC-ZT2 promises 7.1-channel sound from just two speakers, each of which houses four tweeters and a long-stroke woofer. More important, though: 3DTV owners have a wireless sound system of their very own now. That is, if you’re willing to cough up an extra $1000 after you already sprang for that fancy television and glasses.
Techwatch: The rise of 3D television has been dramatic over the past year or so. In fact if it were not for the science fiction film Avatar, we would have to ask would 3D TV be around as it is today.
With BSkyB launching a dedicated 3D channel and others on the way, an entire industry has been created on the back of a film. So far, Samsung, Sony and Panasonic have dipped their toes into the uncharted waters of the 3D market. However, it is the Korean based company LG that has jumped in feet first and taken up the 3D TV challenge. Read more…
BBC: Sky is kicking off the UK’s first 3D channel with a live Premier League football match to be broadcast in nine pubs around the UK this weekend.
The match between Arsenal and Manchester United will be viewable in 3D in pubs in London, Manchester, Cardiff and Edinburgh.
In April Sky will roll out its 3D channel to hundreds of other pubs. Later in the year, Sky 3D will be made available to all Sky+HD customers with a range of content on offer. This will include movies, sport, documentaries and entertainment. Sky 3D will initially be available as a free add-on for those with Sky+HD boxes. Viewers need to wear a special pair of glasses to watch the content.
There has been a great deal of hype around the technology since cinemas began showing films in 3D. Avatar, shot in 3D, has become the highest grossing film of all time. It is expected that 3D-ready TVs will hit the consumer market later this year.
“People have already embraced 3D cinema and because Sky’s 3D service uses the same kind of technology, we’re confident there will be demand for sport, movies, concerts and drama in 3D,” said Gerry O’Sullivan, Sky’s director of strategic product development. In February, two rugby matches in the Six Nations championship will be filmed in 3D and shown at cinemas around the UK.
The 2010 World Cup will also be filmed in the format. The BBC was the first to show a 3D sports event, broadcasting a Scotland v England rugby match at the Six Nations championship in 2008.
HotHardware: DLP-based 3D HDTVs have been around for years now, but those weren’t these fancy new advanced sets that were showcased at the Consumer Electronics Show.
Now, Samsung is claiming to be the first to mass product 3D TV panels, ones that use “3D Active Glasses” technology.
The move marks a bold new step in the march towards making 3D a household mainstay, and it shows that even TV makers are on the bandwagon.
The company began producing LED and LCD compatible panels for 40-inch, 46-inch and 55-inch full-HD 3D TVs using ‘3D Active Glasses’ this month, employing Samsung’s exclusive true 240Hz technology.
The displays are able to showcase 3D and 2D content in Full HD, and the company has reduced the response time of its LCD and LED panels by 20 percent to less than four milliseconds, eliminating any interference between left and right eye images.
There’s no exact plan for release (at least not yet), but we’d guess that some of these sets will be on the market as early as this year.
JCNNetwork: Sony Corp. will start selling 3-D televisions and Blu-ray disc players this summer, part of a plan by Chief Executive Officer Howard Stringer to go “all out” to seize control of the market.
The company will sell nine 3-D models of Bravia televisions and a Blu-ray player in mid-2010. Stringer is betting that 3-D products will generate more than 1 trillion yen (US$11 billion) in the year ending March 2013, not counting content.
Samsung will sell similar products this year. Samsung will begin selling 3-D TVs and Blu-ray players starting this year.
DigiTimes: Shipments of 3D-ready TV are expected to grow to 64 million units in 2018, from 200,000 units in 2009, according to DisplaySearch.
Closing out on a year in which average selling prices for TVs are expected to fall for the first time since the flat panel TV transition began, TV manufacturers are building new combinations to re-value their products and retain consumer interest.
LED backlighting and 240Hz LCDs will serve as enabling technologies for new feature developments in TVs in 2010, specifically for 3D TVs, an area of intense interest to TV manufacturers.
“We have passed the first hurdle,” said Paul Gray, DisplaySearch director of TV electronics research. “The critical Blu-ray 3D specification is written, but now comes the hard work of securing interoperability. Consumers will want reassurance that such things as 3D glasses will interoperate between brands. Retailers will also have the same demand to allow a thriving accessory market to develop. The next stage is less glamorous but vital to secure 3D’s long-term value. We have seen 3D crazes before, and sustained attention to detail is important to prevent disillusionment from starting.”
DisplaySearch forecasts that over 70 million connected TVs will be shipped in 2012 – up from around 15 million units in 2009. “The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) demonstrated that Internet-connected TVs have finally come of age,” Gray added. “While in the past connected TV sets have seemed to be a solution in search of a problem, compelling new capabilities such as family video calling not only reinforce the TV’s central position in the home, but also represent a bold move to reclaim some of the tasks swallowed by the PC.”
DigiTimes: LCD TV development in 2010 is expected to focus on 3D displays, connectivity to the Internet, 480Hz frame rate and frameless design, according to Taiwan LCD TV makers.
In terms of 3D TVs, vendors including Samsung Electronics, Sony, Sharp and LG Electronics will launch 3D models in 2010. For LED-backlit models, Displaybank expects them to reach 32 million units in 2010, accounting for 20% of total LCD TV shipments worldwide.
LED-backlit LCD TV shipments in 2009 are estimated at 3.6 million units, with Samsung sharing 68%, Displaybank added.
CNet: 3D television is the future. We know it’s the future because at every CES we’ve ever been to, manufacturers bang on about it like it’s the cure for cancer. This year Panasonic has turned the hyperbole into reality with its first 3D high definition Viera television, 3D Blu-ray player and 3D video camera, as well as offering the first 3D television channels.
It’s also gone and made an enormous 152-inch 3D telly. Blimey. The 152-inch plasma panel, rather prosaically named the Full HD 3D PDP, gives eye-watering 4Kx2K resolution. It won’t be in shops anytime soon, but that’s OK with us because it wouldn’t fit in our house.
The Viera Plasma V series 3D telly will be on sale this year. It offers a 1080p picture for each eye, flicking between the two high definition images 120 times per second, so fast that our brains build a three-dimensional image.
It comes in 50-inch, 54-inch, 58-inch and 65-inch flavors, and includes Infinite Black Panel Pro technology for deeper blacks, with a whopping 5,000,000:1 contrast ratio. Each 3D Viera comes with funky-looking Eyewear glasses. But what will you watch? Get yourself a PP-BDT350 Blu-ray player with HDMI 1.4 and Wi-Fi. and you’ll be watching films like Avatar in three dimensions.
The press conference even wheeled out Avatar producer Jon Landau, who compared uptake of 3D to our embracing of stereo sound, and even predicted 3D on mobile devices, the big nutter.
Panasonic has also partnered with DirecTV and will launch two 3D, HD channels and a third, on-demand 3D HD channel. A firmware upgrade to existing DirecTV settop boxes will allow consumers to plug in their new 3D tellies and start watching. US consumers, that is, as these things won’t be in Europe any time soon.
You’ll even be able to make your own 3D movies with the Full HD 3D camcorder. It boasts lenses in one unit and records to SD or SDC card. It’s smaller than professional camera units, and frankly we can’t wait until autumn when it’ll go on sale. We suspect some saving up may be required, however, as it’s made to order and will cost about $21,000 (€14,615).
Panasonic also announced the Plasma G series television and DMP-BD85 Blu-ray player in boring old two-dimensions. The 3D V series and 2D Plasma G series boast Wi-Fi and Panasonic’s IPTV system, Viera Cast. Panny has partnered up with VoIP giants Skype to offer Skype video calling on all Viera televisions, including the 3D V series. Forget 3D, making free video calls on your telly, that’s the future.
BBC: If 2009 was dominated by touch technology then 2010 looks set to be the year of 3D.
3D has been one of the biggest hits of the cinemas this year and it is likely to continue its stride into other mediums during 2010, experts agree.
TV manufacturer LG wants to sell nearly half a million 3D-ready TV sets next year as the World Cup kicks off in the format.
Meanwhile laptops and games consoles are also getting a 3D makeover.
Acer has already released what it is claiming is the world’s first 3D-capable laptop, and most agree it will be the first of many.
One critic likened the screen of the Acer Inspire 5738DZG to that of a 1960′s cinema “but in laptop form”.
Others have dismissed the 3D capability as a gimmick, but most agree that it will be the start of a glut of similar machines.
Acer has created its 3D effect by putting a polarising filter over the screen which splits images into separate streams. When combined with a pair of polarising glasses (and the laptop comes with a free pair) it allows users to view content in 3D.
Some movie trailers come preloaded on the laptop, while software called TriDef 3D can add a third dimension to PC games, DVDs and video footage with varying degrees of success.
Microsoft is watching developments in the field with interest. Julie Larson-Green, Microsoft’s vice president of user experience believes the technology will play a major role over the next decade.
“A 3D spatial camera inside a computer will offer a new way to interact with content. It will allow people to spatially organise things with older things farther away,” she said.