Samsung first to mass-produce 3D HDTV

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The Independent Tech

With Avatar 3D now the official Hollywood codeword for potloads of cash, three-dimensional telly is currently bigger than Ben Hur.

Already a big player in the flat panel TV market, Samsung has wasted no time embracing 3D, and has announced that it is set to kick off the mass production of 3D TVs, making the Korean electronics manufacturer the first to dive into the deep end with 3D.

While specs remain sketchy, indications are that Samsung will start the production of both LED and LCD panels for 40", 46" and truly lounge dominating 55" full-HD 3D TVs later this month.

Even more tantalising, Samsung has also indicated that it will include some pretty clever video processing technologies that will, amongst other things, will convert 2D video into 3D.

How well this will work in practice remains to be seen, but it is potentially great news that most TV networks have yet to even hint at their 3D broadcast plans and 3D Blu-ray titles are likely to remain thin on the ground throughout 2010.

Samsung TVs will also use 3D Active Glasses which work by synchronising with the TV, using LCD lenses to block out the view of one eye, while the image for the other eye is displayed on the TV.

Done rapidly enough, the viewer is tricked into seeing glorious 3D. According to Samsung boffins, there are some big benefits to be had by using active glasses.

Unlike passive 3D glasses, Active 3D glasses allow images to be displayed at the maximum resolution, brightness and saturation that the TV is capable of.

Passive glasses by comparison tend to display 3D at half the TVs resolution, as only half the screen can be viewed through either polarised lens.

Because the polarised filters used in passive glasses are also similar to those used in traditional sunglasses, brightness and colour saturation can also dull down.

Samsung's 3D tellies will also make use of what Samsung have branded "true 240Hz" technology.

According to the Samsung blurb, "True 240Hz" will display a positively astonishing 240 frames of video per second to dish out smooth, 2D and 3D HD video. A big part of this also comes down to pixel speed.

A key issue affecting many prototype 3D TVs showcased to date has been the speed which pixels are able to change both colour and brightness.

Called response time and measured in milliseconds, sluggish pixels can cause interference between left and right, resulting in eye strain and not-so-hot 3D.

Samsung claims to have cracked this, improving pixel response time by 20 per cent, which it reckons will result in natural, smoother 3D and 2D pictures.

Vidiots and gamers hanging out for their very own dose of in-lounge 3D goodness won't have terribly long to wait either, with devices expected to ship in the second quarter of 2010.

Source: NZ Herald