By Martin Vedris

SYDNEY, NSW: LG, Panasonic, Samsung and Sony are all working on 3D TVs. Samsung’s had one in the Australian market for over a year and now Panasonic and Sony expected to release models in 2010. But is 3D TV just a fad or is it here to stay?

“Ultimately the consumer will decide that but our view at Panasonic is that 3D TV is really the next evolution in TV technology,” said Panasonic Australia director – Consumer Electronics Group, Paul Reid.

“We’ve gone from black and white to colour, we’ve gone from analogue to digital, we’ve gone into HD and now into Full HD and we really see 3D as being the next step in the evolution of the TV in the home. So for Panasonic, we’re investing significantly in the development of 3D technology in TV and we believe that it has huge potential in the market place.”

The Australian domestic 3D TV market has been all Samsung’s since August 2008 when it released its 450 series plasma. It utilises software developed by Perth-based company DDD, which won the exclusive rights to develop and produce 3D software and content for Samsung.

Samsung chose plasma for its 3D TV and Panasonic is also introducing 3D TV on plasma.

“Panasonic chooses plasma TV for our upcoming 3D technology because we believe that plasma will be the best solution for 3D because of the way it handles really fast moving images and fast refresh on the screen,” said Reid, who explained the basics of how 3D TV works.

“The way we see in 3D is because we get a slightly different picture into each eye,” he said. “So the picture that goes into your brain from your left eye is a little bit different from the one coming through from the right eye and our brains are putting those two images together and creating a 3D picture.

“That’s how 3D works — you’ve got to have a slightly different image going into each eye, so for it to work for television, there are really only two ways today you can do that, one is by glasses, to deliver a slightly different picture into each eye, and then your brain puts the two together. Or you can do it through some kind of filter on the front of the panel itself that somehow tries to deliver a slightly different picture into each eye.

“The problem with the filter solution is that you tend to not be able to deliver a very high resolution, and also the off-axis performance is terrible — you have to sit right in front of the TV to see anything.”

Panasonic’s 3D TV solution involves the use of glasses.

“One thing Panasonic will never do is compromise on the picture quality, so for us, as of now, the only way to deliver Full High Definition 1080p 3D is with what we call active shutter glasses,” said Reid.

“The glasses switch on and off 100 times a second into each eye and give a slightly different picture into each eye.”