As 3D tele­vi­sion comes of age, Jen­nifer DudleyNicholson finds there’s more than one di­men­sion to buy­ing a new set

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page -

New for­mats and more con­tent are in the wind.

WE RE­ALLY see this as the year 3D comes of age. First there was tube ver­sus flatscreen. Then LCD ver­sus plasma. Then stan­dard ver­sus high def­i­ni­tion. Now a new TV war has erupted over 3D.

One ma­jor TV maker, LG, has slammed 3D TV of­fer­ings as ex­pen­sive and hard to use and is in­stead push­ing a new 3D tele­vi­sion sys­tem sim­i­lar to the one seen in the cin­ema.

The new 3D for­mat will ditch $ 200 3D glasses for $ 10 mod­els and will of­fer greater view­ing an­gles, even if you’re sitting far from the screen.

But com­pet­ing TV mak­ers have slammed LG’s Cin­ema 3D of­fer­ing, say­ing the cur­rent gen­er­a­tion of 3D TVs pro­vides a su­pe­rior, full high-def­i­ni­tion ex­pe­ri­ence that is be­com­ing more efficient and re­fined.

The only el­e­ment on which all camps agree is that 2011 will be the year 3D TV goes main­stream.

LG an­nounced its new ap­proach to 3D TV at the Con­sumer Elec­tron­ics Show in Jan­uary, but mod­els are only trick­ling into Aus­tralian stores.

The Cin­ema 3D tele­vi­sions use pas­sive 3D tech­nol­ogy, al­low­ing them to de­liver 3D im­ages to users wear­ing po­larised glasses.

LG se­nior prod­uct mar­ket­ing man­ager Tim Barnes says the com­pany in­tro­duced the new 3D TV screens to avoid a slew of prob­lems associated with last year’s 3D TV re­leases.

‘‘ In 2010, there was lim­ited 3D con­tent, ex­pen­sive glasses that were not com­fort­able and of­fered re­stricted views of 3D TV,’’ Barnes says.

‘‘ The flick­er­ing light­ing through the glasses also pro­vided dis­com­fort for view­ers.’’

Those glasses were bat­tery-pow­ered and de­liv­ered a dif­fer­ent 3D im­age to view­ers’ left and right eyes us­ing tiny shut­ters that opened and closed rapidly.

LG’s new Cin­ema 3D TVs in­stead ditch bat­tery-pow­ered spec­ta­cles for pas­sive, po­larised 3D glasses.

Sim­i­lar to sun­glasses, the lenses are cov­ered by fil­ters that match those on the TV screen, sep­a­rat­ing the im­age into two – one for ei­ther eye.

Barnes says the tech­nol­ogy al­lows LG to sell glasses for just $ 10 and de­liv­ers light­weight glasses ( 16g), greater view­ing an­gles and elim­i­nates con­nec­tion prob­lems when users turn away from a 3D tele­vi­sion screen.

While he ad­mits the use of po­larised fil­ters can de­liver darker TV im­ages, Barnes says LG has boosted the bright­ness of its 3D TVs to 80 nits to over­come the prob­lem.

But Sam­sung, Pana­sonic and Sony, which of­fer ac­tive 3D TVs, ar­gue pas­sive 3D tech­nol­ogy pro­duces in­fe­rior re­sults.

Sony con­sumer prod­uct mar­ket­ing group man­ager Paul Col­ley says the big­gest prob­lem with pas­sive 3D TV tech­nol­ogy is the re­duc­tion in screen res­o­lu­tion. ‘‘ You can’t get full-HD 3D with pas­sive tech­nol­ogy,’’ he says.

‘‘ Pas­sive 3D halves the res­o­lu­tion of the im­age on the screen. Peo­ple are buy­ing full high-def­i­ni­tion TVs, so it’d be a shame not to watch 3D movies in full HD.’’

Col­ley also ar­gues users will no­tice ‘‘ faint black lines across the screen’’ be­cause al­ter­nat­ing pixel lines de­liver dif­fer­ent im­ages to each eye.

Sam­sung con­sumer elec­tron­ics prod­uct man­ager Brad Wright says pas­sive 3D TVs will strug­gle to over­come re­duced bright­ness be­cause of the screen fil­ter and will fail to have ‘‘ colours that re­ally pop’’.

He says Sam­sung has also re­fined its 3D TV of­fer­ings this year, hav­ing re­designed its bat­tery-pow­ered 3D glasses. The com­pany now of­fers three types of 3D glasses, in­clud­ing a pre­mium model de­signed by sun­glass maker Sil­hou­ette that weighs just 28g and stores its bat­ter­ies at the back for a more even weight dis­tri­bu­tion. The glasses range in price from $ 50 to $ 199.

Sam­sung has also switched from an infra-red 3D TV con­nec­tion to Blue­tooth, mak­ing for a more re­li­able con­nec­tion and, Wright says, ‘‘ bet­ter view­ing an­gles’’.

For its part, Pana­sonic will add 3D to 16 out of 26 new TVs this year, with con­sumer elec­tron­ics di­rec­tor Paul Reid say­ing the com­pany is ‘‘ ab­so­lutely com­mit­ted’’ to ac­tive 3D for its pic­ture qual­ity.

Half of all new Sony TVs will fea­ture the tech­nol­ogy and Col­ley says the wide avail­abil­ity of 3D TVs, as well as price re­duc­tions and 3D movie re­leases, will make this year the tip­ping point for the tech­nol­ogy.

‘‘ We re­ally see this as the year 3D comes of age and a lot more con­tent be­comes avail­able,’’ he says.

Peo­ple are buy­ing full high­def­i­ni­tion TVs, so it’d be a shame not to watch 3D movies in full HD

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