Wednesday, May 26, 2010

3D Eye Candy

Covering the SID exhibit floor is a nearly impossible task, for a couple reasons. There is just too much for one person to take in, and for the demonstrations you do see, selecting the ones to write about is difficult. So, for this entry, I’ll note two stunning examples of display technology that caught my eye, and certainly meet the definition of “eye candy” – a delicious, visual delight.

Walking onto the show floor, it doesn’t take long to see several crowds clustered around some hot offerings. Fighting through the peopole around the LG Display booth and grabbing a pair of glasses, I enjoyed the demonstration of the world’s largest 3D display. Built using LG’s IPS liquid-crystal technology and measuring a whopping 84inches, this display sports UHD resolution with 3840 x 2160 pixels. While the display can render either 2D or 3D images, the demonstration video showing 3D animation was a delight to watch. It was easy to imagine a future where I could sit down in a comfortable chair and enjoy the 3D content from the comfort of my own home on this giant screen. LG Display also showed several other 3D systems in smaller sizes that will be the basis of the next generation of 3D–ready television products.

Wandering a bit further into the exhibit, Panasonic also had an impressive set of 3D hardware. Based on its blazing-fast plasma technology, Panasonic's 65-inch 3D televisions featured full HD (1920 x 1080) for each eye. I was told that special phosphors had been developed for these displays, reducing the persistence time of the phosphor by 1/3 compared to the previous technology. These short persistence phosphors improve the response time to provide a super-crisp image. These systems were both Blu-Ray and Direct TV compatible. Movie clips and sport content were a pleasure to watch in 3D.

It was also fun to watch myself in 3D in real time--Panasonic demonstrated a Full HD professional 3D video camera, aimed at the show floor. I could duplicate many of the tricks that I see in 3D movies in real time, probably drawing too much attention to myself from passers-by. With this technology, it’s easy to imagine a time when reporters and other professionals routinely capture and transmit 3D content, to be broadcast to 3D-capable home televisions. Once this sort of capability becomes routine, consumer-based systems are likely to follow.

All in all, the 3D capabilities shown by LG Display, Panasonic, and a number of other companies are quite impressive. Making sure that future television purchases are 3D-ready will increasingly become a wise choice for consumers.

--Paul Drzaic, Drzaic Consulting Services and Past-President, SID

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