Taking 3-D to the TV set at CES


At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, companies such as Panasonic, Samsung and Texas Instruments will show off TV technology capable of displaying 3-D-like pictures. The industry is billing it as the next big leap in TV technology.

In December, the National Football League dipped its toe in the water by broadcasting a 3-D game between the Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Chargers to select theaters, and the NBA is doing the same with some events during next month’s All-Star game weekend.

What’s more, a slate of nearly two dozen movies that can be shown in 3-D is scheduled for release over the next two years, including "Toy Story 3," "A Christmas Carol" and "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs."

Now, those same forces are lining up to find a way to bring 3-D into the living room.

"In many ways you have the perfect storm brewing," David Wertheimer, executive director of the Entertainment Technology Center at USC told The LA Times. "Content makers, electronics vendors and consumers are aligned in their interest in bringing 3-D from the theater to the home."

Said the story: “Who will want to don 3-D glasses? The current generation is essentially miniature LCD screens that flicker at high speeds, filtering different images to the left and right eye to produce an image that appears three-dimensional.

"Early pairs looked like welders’ goggles," said Dan Schinasi, senior manager of product planning at Samsung’s consumer electronics division. "They functioned well but they weren’t very stylish. Now, they’re pretty lightweight and they look just like sunglasses. Of course, in a perfect world, we wouldn’t need glasses. But at this point, we believe glasses produce the best optical experience."

Glasses or not, it will be several years before 3-D TVs become mainstream. That’s because the consumer electronics industry, movie studios and broadcasters have yet to agree on standards for recording, transmitting, receiving and interpreting 3-D signals. Many are hoping those technical details can be ironed out this year, Hunt said. Only then can the work of creating discs, players and TV sets to display 3-D video begin in earnest, he told the paper.

That hasn’t stopped companies such as Philips, Samsung, Mitsubishi and Panasonic from introducing "3-D-ready" sets. Philips last fall demonstrated a 3-D display that didn’t require glasses. Panasonic is expected to make announcements about its 3-D plasma technology at CES.