IFA 2009 = 3D TV

By James Wells in Berlin

BERLIN: There is only one thing that anyone is talking about after the first round of press conferences at IFA 2009 and that is 3D TV.

The good news is that a lot of the companies seem to be following a similar message right down to the awkward use of clunky 3D glasses on already nerd-like executives.

The bad news is that the press conferences held at IFA which normally herald significant orders for suppliers are discussing 3D television as a concept or prototype to be introduced in 2010.

Sony was the first cab off the rank with its announcement two days before the show opened that it will introduce a 3D compatible Bravia LCD television in 2010 incorporating frame sequential display and active-shutter glass systems. Sony will also develop 3D compatible Blu-ray Disc players as well as 3D compatibility for Vaio and PlayStation utilising the company’s movie and gaming expertise.

At its press conference Panasonic called it ‘FHD 3D’ and during its press conference committed itself to launching a range of 3D televisions and 3D Blu-ray players. With content a very critical part of the introduction of this technology, Panasonic said it will leverage a film production laboratory based in Hollywood as well as the brand’s investment in the upcoming James Cameron epic, Avatar, which is due for release in December.

Philips Consumer Lifestyle CEO, Andrea Ragnetti, described 3D as the ultimate dream for consumers, but also said the technology remains in prototype phase until consumer demand increases.

There were two types of glasses demonstrated today. Polarised passive glasses are the cheaper and more traditional product but are prone to suffer from poor screen angles. The active shutter glasses are more effective but they are also more expensive as they have to be powered and receive a signal to operate.

The three types of three-dimensional content demonstrated include sport (particularly with the upcoming 2010 FIFA World Cup), movies and gaming. The question is: would you invite your friends around for an unsocial viewing of a football or cricket game?

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