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CES: 3D from Panasonic and Samsung

by David Mercer | Jan 10, 2009

I saw Panasonic's demonstration of Blu-ray-based 3D system this morning. Demos are running in two small theatres on the Panasonic booth. They consist of 10 minutes of various movie, sports and games clips. Viewers are required to wear glasses. The material runs from a BD disc in a modified Blu-ray player. I’ve heard many positive reactions to 3D Blu-ray here at the show. It certainly seems to have a wow factor for some viewers. While the demos are certainly impressive, I have two general concerns. The first, which I highlighted yesterday (http://www.strategyanalytics.com/blogs/343/), concerns headwear. The second concerns the impact of the quality of the material. It was quite noticeable during the Panasonic demonstration that some material is considerably more effective in 3D than others. Perhaps it’s just my eyes, but some of the early sports clips involving many rapid and complex movements lacked clarity and could become quite difficult to watch for any length of time. By contrast, the brief clips from this year’s Beijing Olympics were immensely impressive. Apparently these were captured with special dual-camera systems from Panasonic, and the investment clearly paid off. But that is the point: before 3D begins to penetrate the sports and other broadcast sectors producers will need to make significant investment in upgrading cameras and other studio equipment. No doubt that is something Panasonic, one of the leading vendors in this market, is looking forward to. Likewise with movie content, fast action scenes still clearly present a challenge. Most of the other movie clips were impressive, and this is encouraging for the 3DBD opportunity which will clearly depend primarily on movie content. Panasonic is hoping for a 2010 launch, but much will depend on whether it can persuade other CE players and partners to unite around a single standard. That will be absolutely vital if 3DBD is to become successful because content providers will not want to adapt their productions to incompatible technology platforms. It also looks like something I wrote yesterday may have to be revised slightly. Samsung is demonstrating technology that turns any HD content into 3D, again with the user having to wear glasses – these link to a TV emitter via infra-red, similar to Nvidia’s system. The demo includes Xbox games, so it looks like 3D console gaming could be closer than we thought. The technology depends on processing chips within the TV, so it will be some time before it becomes widespread. In the meantime I’m sure Microsoft will be looking at alternative approaches to upgrading its Xbox platform for 3D. Client Reading: Digital Media Devices Global Market Report Add to Technorati Favorites
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