Dig­i­tal TV in 3D the next big thing on radar

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THIS year, Chan­nel 7 chief ex­ec­u­tive David Leckie has pre­dicted, will bring the big­gest changes he’s seen in his 30-year TV ca­reer.

At the end of last year, Leckie was tip­ping the TV ad­ver­tis­ing mar­ket would im­prove, that free-to-air dig­i­tal chan­nels would make a big­ger im­pact, and that changes to the rat­ings col­lec­tion sys­tem would show that more peo­ple were watch­ing free-to-air TV than pre­vi­ously thought.

Though view­ers are start­ing to show Leckie’s pre­dic­tions about dig­i­tal chan­nels have merit, they are more likely to get ex­cited about the enor­mous changes hap­pen­ing in TV tech­nol­ogy.

The re­cent suc­cess of 3D films has prompted the TV in­dus­try to race ahead with its push into dig­i­tal TV in 3D.

Only a hand­ful of TV sets on the mar­ket in Aus­tralia are ca­pa­ble of re­ceiv­ing high-qual­ity 3D trans­mis­sions, but all the lead­ing brands are de­vel­op­ing mod­els.

US net­work ESPN plans a ded­i­cated 3D chan­nel for broad­cast­ing live sports events in time for the FIFA World Cup in June.

Lo­cally, Fox­tel has been test­ing 3D pro­gram­ming through its IQ set-top-box tech­nol­ogy.

Curtin Uni­ver­sity of Tech­nol­ogy re­search en­gi­neer An­drew Woods says only specif­i­cally la­belled ‘‘3D-Ready’’ HDTVs, which en­tered the lo­cal mar­ket in 2008, are able to show high-qual­ity 3D.

He says the cur­rent avail­able mod­els have ba­sic spec­i­fi­ca­tions but bet­ter dis­plays are ex­pected ‘‘very soon’’.

An­dre Ian­nuzzi, head of mar­ket­ing at Hisense Aus­tralia, says a re­cent elec­tron­ics show in Ve­gas has cre­ated enor­mous ex­pec­ta­tion as to what view­ers will get from rapid ad­vances in tech­nol­ogy.

‘‘I think there were 20,000 new re­leases from 2500 sup­pli­ers (at the show),’’ Ian­nuzzi says. ‘‘LCD TV is mov­ing to back of house and be­com­ing a bit of a sta­ple tech­nol­ogy and LED is be­com­ing front and cen­tre. And 3D is the new hero in the TV land­scape. Via DVDs and gam­ing is how I be­lieve 3D is go­ing to be in­tro­duced on a mass scale.’’

In­ter­net-ready TVs, to en­ter the mar­ket in big num­bers this year, are set to have a grow­ing im­pact on view­ing habits. This was ap­par­ent in Google’s an­nounce­ment that it in­tends com­pet­ing with ma­jor broad­cast­ers for the rights to sports and en­ter­tain­ment events.

The com­pany has signed a two-year deal to of­fer live ac­cess on YouTube to all 60 matches in the Twenty20 In­dian Premier League, start­ing in March. It will also show on-de­mand con­tent on mo­bile phones.

The eyes have it:

3D TV is boom­ing.

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