Asian technology firms bet on a 3D future

The Asian technology industry believes the future is not only bright but it's in three dimensions, as a string of manufacturers bring 3D products onto the market.

Most of Asia's big brand names from Panasonic to Samsung via Sharp, Mitsubishi and Toshiba will have 3D televisions out this year with some even offering 3D desktop computers and laptops.

Sony has launched eight 3D TVs in Japan starting at 200,000 yen (2,200 dollars) for a 40-inch (100-centimetre) screen, and is also planning 3D titles for its PlayStation 3 games console.

Akira Shimazu, Sony's senior general manager in charge of 3D projects, believes 2010 is the year that the immersive viewing experience will finally come of age.

"In terms of technology, it was impossible for television sets and video players at consumers' houses to play back 3D content appropriately," he told AFP.

But that has changed with a new high-speed LCD panel that allows 3D with full high definition, he says, and Blu-ray discs can store full-length HD-quality movies in 3D.

The quality of the content has also vastly improved with processors able to adjust 3D images digitally in post-production, tools that were not available in the past when most movies were made on film.

"Recently I saw a couple of very early 3D films created by Columbia Pictures in the 1950s," Shimazu said.

"The difference is apparent if you have seen a recent 3D film - 3D is now being used as a strong tool of story-telling and being created to look natural and real."

James Cameron's blockbuster "Avatar" started a 3D wave in the movie industry - followed by "Alice In Wonderland" and "Clash of the Titans", among others.

But as in the early days of cable and satellite TV, sport could determine 3D's success or failure in the home entertainment market.

The football World Cup now being played in South Africa is the first to be filmed and broadcast - by Sony - in 3D to fans at six FIFA viewing sites in cities around the world.

"Live broadcast of sport is one of the most promising genres of 3D content," Shimazu said.

Sports giant ESPN launched a new 3D network last Friday by airing the tournament's first game, hosts South Africa's 1-1 draw with Mexico, in 3D.

But the technology's glaring problem has not changed much since the 1950s "golden era" of 3D movies - viewers still have to wear special glasses.

"Most analysts and commentators agree the glasses are a problem for mass adoption," said Paul O'Donovan, an analyst for global IT research company Gartner.

Glasses designed for permanent use in the home vary in price from 75 to 150 dollars, "which is not cheap - especially if you sit on them", he said.

"Also there are issues with how many pairs are bundled with the 3D TV. Samsung offer two pairs but if you want some friends to come around to watch a movie or sports event with you, then who supplies the extra glasses?

"And you can't watch the TV without the glasses, as that will give you a definite headache."

Shimazu says that Sony, which reckons 10 percent of the TVs it sells this year will be 3D-compatible, is working on technology that does not require glasses. But he is not certain when such technology will be on the market.

O'Donovan does not believe there is a huge market - people may buy a state-of-the-art plasma TV that happens to be 3D-compatible, not necessarily because they are keen on the 3D element.

"There is a 3D market, but it's small and is made up of early adopters keen to show off to their neighbours," he said. "I think it is a fad.

"Hollywood would love to extend the cinema success of 3D into the home market, but there is a real risk that successes like 'Avatar' will be few and far between, so even 3D in the cinema will be smaller than traditional 2D.

"The transition to the home market is definitely going to be a bumpy ride, if it ever takes off."

Ichiro Michikoshi, an analyst at Japanese research firm BCN, was marginally more hopeful.

"I think there is a market," he said. "But I think 3D TVs will not sell remarkably until it becomes usual to watch 3D without special glasses."

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

    Recruitment Genius: Network Support Engineer

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Network Support Engineer is r...

    Recruitment Genius: Account Director - Tech Startup - Direct Your Own Career Path

    £25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Day In a Page

    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones