Back on track

The forth­com­ing London Olympics is set to give 3D TV sales the boost they so des­per­ately need, writes Jen­nifer Dud­ley- Ni­chol­son

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Tech -

THE 3D tele­vi­sion is mak­ing a come­back.

Af­ter a loud launch fol­lowed by a deaf­en­ing si­lence, 3D broad­casts will re­turn to free- to- air TV in July with the London Olympics.

Ex­perts say the new broad­casts will de­liver ‘‘ a real win­dow of op­por­tu­nity’’ for TV mak­ers, though they are also reignit­ing a tech­no­log­i­cal feud.

Mak­ers are sep­a­rat­ing into two camps: one be­hind ac­tive 3D, with full high­def­i­ni­tion pic­tures and bat­tery- pow­ered glasses; the other be­hind pas­sive 3D that of­fers com­fort­able viewing and cheaper spec­ta­cles.

Au­dio- vis­ual spe­cial­ists ex­pect both to flour­ish.

Australia’s 3D mar­ket re­vived when the Aus­tralian Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Me­dia Au­thor­ity con­firmed it had is­sued Chan­nel 9 a 3D trial li­cence to screen the Olympics.

The broad­casts, avail­able in Syd­ney, Melbourne, Bris­bane, Ade­laide, Perth and the Gold Coast, will in­clude the open­ing cer­e­mony, swim­ming fi­nals, gym­nas­tics, div­ing and ath­let­ics.

ACMA chair­man Chris Chap­man says view­ers will need to en­sure they are within the trial cov­er­age area, and warns the 3D TV li­cence is only tem­po­rary as ‘‘ the long- term tech­nol­ogy is still de­vel­op­ing’’.

But man­u­fac­tur­ers are keen to use the op­por­tu­nity to pro­mote 3D TV again.

New screens from Sony, Sam­sung, LG and Pana­sonic are trick­ling into stores, with LG prov­ing the big­gest pro­po­nent of 3D tech­nol­ogy.

LG mar­ket­ing gen­eral man­ager Lambro Skro­pidis says de­mand for 3D screens and con­tent will soar.

‘‘ Do we ex­pect the ap­petite for 3D to con­tinue?’’ Skro­pidis says.

‘‘ The an­swer is a re­sound­ing yes. 3D con­tent con­tin­ues to find its way to con­sumers via free- to- air and 3D pay- TV.’’

He says 3D TVS al­ready rep­re­sent 63 per cent of dol­lars spent on LED­back­lit TVS in Australia.

Sam­sung also con­tends 3D TV de­mand will rise, with di­rec­tor Phil New­ton say­ing the tech­nol­ogy has be­come ‘‘ a manda­tory, must- have fea­ture’’ in high­end TVS.

But that is where the sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween mak­ers end, with the com­pa­nies tak­ing dif­fer­ent ap­proaches to 3D.

LG’S TVS fea­ture pas­sive 3D that uses po­larised glasses such as those seen in movie the­atres, with a po­larised TV fil­ter match­ing fil­ters on 3D glasses to de­liver a dif­fer­ent im­age to ei­ther eye.

Its ben­e­fits in­clude flicker- free images, cheap glasses and less eye strain.

Sam­sung’s screens use ac­tive 3D tech­nol­ogy, which uses bat­tery- pow­ered tech­nol­ogy to de­liver dif­fer­ent images to each eye in full high- def­i­ni­tion.

Au­dio- vis­ual ex­pert Stephen Daw­son says both sys­tems pro­duce sig­nif­i­cantly bet­ter re­sults than when first launched in Australia, and pre­dicted au­di­ences would sup­port both.

‘‘ The ma­jor hin­drance for ac­tive 3D . . . is the cost of the glasses, but Sam­sung says they’re hop­ing to get their glasses down from $ 140 to just $ 40 a pair.’’

Daw­son says users will need to re- scan chan­nels on 3D TVS to tune into the 3D Olympics broad­casts from July 16.

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