3D is here and trust me, it's not your father's 3-D. This is not a fad, this new 3-D is here to stay and yes, it is pretty cool. The 3-D sets are just hitting the stores and the manufacturers are projecting/hoping for combined sales in the 3.5 to 4 million sets this year.
These new 3-D sets are also first-rate 2-D TVs with high frame rates and fast response rates. The hope is that when folks buy a new set they will future-proof themselves by buying a 3-D set. In general, 3-D LCDs use a system based on time-sequential display technology with special active LC (liquid crystal) shutter glasses. In this system, images intended for the left and right eye are displayed on the LCD screen sequentially, alternating between the two perspectives. The LC shutters in the special 3-D glasses are synchronized with this display, “opening” (becoming transparent) and “closing” in such a way that the left and right eye see separate images. The human brain combines these two slightly different images to create the perception of depth in a three-dimensional image.
The new 3-D sets have 3-D built-in (on board). The HD sets are using a technology called alternative frame sequencing. That means that in addition to playing all 3-D content many of those built-in 3-D sets will be able to turn the current 2-D content into 3-D – dimensional up scaling. Both Panasonic's short stroke plasma phosphors HD plasma models and Samsung's 3-DLED HDTV are among the finest sets for watching 2-D content. If you're in the market for a new HDTV set then you'll want to consider 3-D built-in.
To see a picture of these new sets I suggest you visit your local TV store and check out the displays. But you don't necessarily have to buy a new set to watch 3-D. Any HDTV set with better than a 120Hz refresh rate is considered 3-D ready. The 3-D is not built in, but the set is 3-D capable. With a 3-D capable set your content will have to be 3-D. You'll need a 3-D Blu-ray player to play 3-D. TWC (Time Warner Cable) told me they will be ready early 2011 with a new cable box and new firmware for 3-D. ESPN is planning to roll out ESPN3-D. The channel will be on DirectTV for World Cup coverage on June 11th. The MLB All Star game in July will also be broadcast in 3-D. While it's true there isn't that much 3-D content available currently, the landscape is changing fast.
Some of the issues
First, the 3-D glasses. If you already wear glasses this might not be too big of a deal, but to those of you who don't wear glasses this might be. It's looking like the active shutter glasses will be the standard for most 3-D sets. Each TV manufacturer will be using different codes for their active shutter glasses. Translation, you will not be able to watch Panasonic 3-D with Samsung glasses. To us, the viewing public this is a royal pain in the eye, but for the manufacturers this is a major financial issue. There are good profit margins in accessories and these boys know that if you buy their set then you have to buy their glasses. When you buy a 3-D HD set most manufacturers will throw in one or two pairs of 3-D glasses. Here's the problem, what if there are 5 members to your family. Do you have to buy more glasses? For sure you do, Active shutter glasses cost about $150 each.
Don't worry this dam is going to break. Xpand, a manufacturer of 3-D glasses overseas has already announced a universal type of 3-D glasses, but the ETA is unknown. Oakley is experimenting with 3-D glasses that will double as sunglasses. Another question about the glasses is the comfort. Will the glasses still be comfortable after hours of viewing? According to TWC (Time Warner Cable) nearly one million people suffer from stereo blindness which will prevent them from seeing 3-D. Some of them may experience headaches, eye fatigue and other conditions.
Then there's this
Recently Madison Square garden showed a Ranger game in HD and in a different theater in 3-D. Not all of the 3-D was that …err… 3-D ish and in some cases the HD picture was much better. But then again, I saw a golf game in 3-D and it was good 3-D, very effective. Another problem is in movie making. A movie like Hurt Locker with its fast editing and lurching camera could in 3-D give some viewers motion sickness. So while the manufacturers are sorting out the technologies the movie directors will have to consider how they are going to shoot 3-D movies. That said, everyone is swiftly moving into the 3-D mode. When 3-D content catches up with these sets they'll really fly off the shelf.
Pricing of 3-D sets means a lot in terms of sales and an example would be the HD roll out. That took about 12 years, but didn't really get moving till prices dropped. The thinking is 3-D will be faster, but it is going to take some time for prices to drop. Figure the 3-D pricing now will be slightly above 2-D LED LCD sets. Then you'll have to have the new 3-D Blu-ray player and don't forget the cost of 3-D DVDs, movies.
Panasonic has a full 3-D Plasma home theater system. It includes a 50-inch Panasonic VIERA VT 20 HDTV which includes one pair of Panasonic 3-D Active Shutter Lens Eyewear. The VT20 is only available at Best Buy but there is an equivalent model VT25. Additional eyewear will cost $149.95. Panasonic has developed faster screen phosphors; coupled with a 600Hz sub-field drive that displays alternating imagery at 60 frames per second to each eye. Your brain interprets those images as 3-D. The BDT300 Panasonic's 3-D Blu-ray player is a full HD 3-D 1980×1080 and will up convert all DVDs to 1080p resolution.
TC-P50VT20 50-inch Plasma TV
TC-P50VT25 50-inch Plasma TV
TC-P54VT25 54-inch Plasma TV
TC-P58VT25 58-inch Plasma TV
TC-P65VT25 65-inch Plasma TV
LG is going to start with two 3-D ready, the LX950055- and 47 inch set. Both will have THX Display certification and a THX Bright Room setting, which helps the picture in ambient light. They will also include TruMotion 480Hz technology, wireless broadband-ready capabilities, two USB ports, and they will even be wireless HD-ready.
Vizio is in the game with its XVT Pro series. With a refresh rate of 480Hz SPS TruLED with on board 3-D. There are 480 zones of smart dimming and wireless HDMI. The performance XVT Pro Series is available in 72″, 55″ and 47″ sizes, as well as a 58″ Cinema Wide HDTV that displays content in 21 x 9 aspect ratio. In addition, the set's Full HD3‑D™delivers 3-D images in FULL HD 1080p resolution, with other advanced features like VIZIO INTERNET APPS™ (VIA) built-in high definition wireless (802.11n dual-band) and wired networking, a Bluetooth universal remote control with sliding QWERTY keyboard, and Wireless HDMI which allows the TV to receive HD video and audio from sources without an HDMI cable.
Mitsubishi has been cranking out 3-DTVs since 2007. They have been using a different format so now they have to bring their sets up to compatibility with the newly adopted Blu-ray 3-D and broadcast 3-D standards they stated that they are going to ease the transition for existing customers. The massive 82-inch WD-82837 is the largest 3-D set to date the 1080p DLP unit has 120Hz Film Motion technology, PerfectColor, and four HDMI inputs. It also features the ISF's Advanced Calibration Mode.
Sony is putting its 3-D technology into the BRAVIA line. Sony states that there will be different 38 3-D models. These models come in three series, with sizes ranging from 22 to 60 inches.
The LX900 series offers 3-D via Sony's own active shutter glasses and a built-in 3-D transmitter. The LX900's four models feature a 1080p image, built-in- Wi-Fi, Motionflow PRO 240Hz technology, and Sony's new OptiContrast panel.
Toshiba's ZX900 CELL TV will come in 55- and 65-inch sizes. Using a Frame Sequential System, the system delivers 240Hz in 2-D mode and 120Hz for the right eye and 120Hz for the left eye in 3-D mode. It also has TriVector 2-D to 3-D Conversion, Other features include a 1080p image, KIRA2 dimming technology, and Net Resolution+, which helps compress Internet noise. Also, KIRA2 technology features dimming possibilities for 512 controllable zones. The ZX has a 1 Terabit hard drive (cool) and built-in Wi-Fi support
Sharp has developed the worlds first four-primary-color 3-D LCD featuring the industry's highest brightness with extremely low crosstalk (undesirable double contour “ghost” images). Presently this set is only available in Japan.