wish list - 3D TV

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According to all the big-name TV manufacturers, 2010 is the year of 3D TV. It caused the biggest buzz at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, and it seems this technology has come a long way since the cardboard red-and-green glasses of 3D past.

 

At the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, Sony will be filming up to 25 matches in 3D, with footage being shown at public events across the world, while FIFA is currently deciding whether live rights will be offered.
 

In London, BBC’s director of London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Roger Mosey, has also announced that there are plans to capture some of the Olympics in 3D, citing it as “one of the next big waves of change”. And with Sky's launch of Europe's first 3D channel in April – using its existing HD infrastructure – this is a technological leap that you can almost touch. It’s time to enter the third dimension.
 

3D TV: How it works

There are two major types of 3D glasses: passive and active. Passive lenses rely on simple technology and are probably what you think of when you hear the term 3D glasses – the simplest form being the red-and-green coloured lenses. Today, a more modern type of passive lenses are the polarised glasses, the type you would have used if you watched Avatar. If you look at a screen that uses this technology you’ll see more than one set of images. The glasses use lenses that filter out light waves projected at certain angles.

Each lens only allows light through that is polarised in a compatible way, so each eye will see only one set of images on the screen. Active glasses use a new advanced method that controls when each of your eyes can view the screen. The glasses use liquid crystal display (LCD) technology to become an active part of the viewing experience. As the 3D content appears on the screen, the picture alternates between two sets of the same image, which are offset from one another, similar to the passive glasses system. However, the two sets aren’t shown at the same time – they turn on and off at high speed. At the same time, the LCD lenses in the glasses alternate between transparent and opaque. This happens so fast that your brain can’t detect the flickering lenses, but because it’s timed exactly with what’s on the screen, each eye sees only one set of the dual images you’d see if you weren’t wearing the glasses.
 

 

Samsung 9000 series
Samsung’s super-slim 9000 series, at just 0.3 inches thick, supports 3D viewing with active shutter glasses and, like the Toshiba Cell TV, includes auto-conversion technology that renders 2D content into 3D. If that wasn’t enough, the full-colour touch-screen remote not only streams video content from your PC to the TV, but doubles as a secondary display, either mirroring content on the TV so you don’t miss a second, or lets you watch television in the palm of your hand while a Blu-ray disc is playing on the main set.
Available summer 2010.

 

Sony BRAVIA LX900 series
Available in sizes from 40 to 60 inches, the Sony BRAVIA LX900 series uses Full HD 3D technology together with active shutter glass technology to create realistic depth and vivid 3D images. The edge-lit LED 3D TV includes technology designed to assist in producing smoother images in fast-moving viewing, and integrated Wi-Fi, with users able to access content via the Sony BRAVIA Internet Video Platform, as well as personal content via the USB and DLNA connections. Also featured is Sony’s Intelligence Presence Sensor, a face detector that tells when a user has stepped away from the television and dims the backlight, eventually switching itself off.
Available summer 2010.

 

Panasonic Full HD VIERA Plasma television
Wowing judges at this year’s CES, Panasonic’s Full HD VIERA Plasma television won both ‘Best of Show’ and ‘Best in Television’ categories. Focusing on Full HD 3D technology, Panasonic’s screen delivers a full 1080p-resolution image to each eye at 60 frames per second, while the right and left lenses in the glasses alternately darken and lighten, too quickly to perceive; the brain combines the images and interprets them as 3D. Extra features include Skype video calling. The set will include one pair of active shutter glasses, and models will range in screen size from 50 to 65 inches.
US$3,450
www.panasonic.com

 

Toshiba CELL TV
With its multiple eight-core 3.2GHz processors, Toshiba claims its CELL TV is around ten times faster than most standard desktop computers and will have 143 times the processing power of current televisions. It is this processing power that allows the TV to convert existing content, including video games and Blu-ray films, into 3D in near real-time when viewed through active shutter glasses. It also features Wi-Fi to download content straight from the web, access to Net TV for content streaming, and video conferencing capabilities.
Available autumn 2010.

 

LG LD920
The mid-range 47-inch LCD TV from LG will incorporate ‘passive 3D technology’, which means that all the 3D processing is done by the display device, so there’s no need for active shutter glasses that are considerably more expensive to produce; simple, affordable 3D glasses are all that is required. The technology will also be compatible with Sky’s 3D TV channel and the first 3D Blu-ray discs.
Available April 2010 for commercial users only.

 


Our top ten 3D films of all time

Avatar
James Cameron’s return to blockbusters sets a new standard for 3D with stunning effects and acute attention to detail.

 

U2 3D
This concert documentary is the perfect combination of surround sound and 3D visual technology.

 

Coraline
The movie follows Coraline through a parallel version of her life; the spooky 3D effects will draw you into her world.

 

Up
The Disney/Pixar touching tale introduced new heights of 3D animation in glorious bursts of colour.

 

Friday the 13th, Part 3
This gruesome third installment of the classic horror series will give you three-dimensional nightmares.

 

Jaws 3D
The 1983 movie that relaunched 3D – and promptly sank it again. So bad, it’s good!

 

Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure
National Geographic presents this IMAX visual ride that explores the strange world of prehistoric sea creatures.

 

Toy Story 3D
Out this summer, Woody, Buzz, and their toy-box friends are dumped in a day-care center as Andy goes to college.

 

Dial M for Murder
Alfred Hitchcock’s suspense thriller made during the 3D craze of the early ’50s sees a tennis pro plotting the murder of his wealthy wife.

 

Journey to the CenteR of the Earth
Glowing hummingbirds, magnetic floating rocks, and giant carnivorous plants become spectacular moments of visual brilliance when viewed in 3D.

 
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