At this year’s CES 2010, Sony, Toshiba, Samsung, and other TV manufacturers look more than just promising on 3DTV. All of them look geared for a showdown on the consumer arena.
Last year at the CES, we were promised by leading TV manufacturers that 3D TVs or 'stereoscopic' television would be in our living room by 2010. I have my popcorn and the recently stolen 3D glasses from the Avatar movie, but still no sign of the 3D TV...
Although we doubt we can really afford them TVs, but like many couch potatoes with very little imagination, we’ve been fantasizing about the evolution of the ‘centre of my whole existence’ and also of ‘my foster parent’, (the television set, that is) ever since we got wind of the tech at last year’s CES. For 2010 CES, this author in particular is a bit more cautious of those 3D TV predictions mainly because of the long wait.
The biggest concern is that investors and manufacturers are reluctant to push the product into the consumer’s hands mainly because of low availibility of 3D content and the fact that everyone is in the grips of a global recession. But recession and economy have always been party poopers, so let’s not get down that road. Talking about ‘3D content’: the drooling over 3D TV has only increased by experiencing a taste of things to come after the recent, hugely successful Avatar film. Come to think of it, almost all animated movies in 2009 have come out in 3D or 'Real D', as they like to call it (not to be confused with 2d and 3d layer graphics). Even older movies are re-hitting the theater with a 3D makeover. Movies like the Toy Story 1 & 2 and Mask... And of course with animation and computer graphics leading 3D content, the gaming software industry will most likely push the 3D TV’s to meet excellence standards just as it did to the PC and the gaming consoles. Recently, the Blu-ray disc association has agreed upon a 3D standard, which allows 3D movies and games to be released on Blu-ray disc players and Sony's PS3 video game consoles which will soon hit the market by mid this year. In the US, DirectTV, the US satellite television provider, plans to introduce a 3D channel by end of this year and ESPN will start broadcasting in 3D this summer with a World Cup football match. Also this week Discovery Communications, Sony and Imax announced plans for a joint venture that will roll out the first 24/7 dedicated 3D television network in the US next year.
A fact to be understood is that 3D TVs are going to be obvious ‘game changers’, just like when back in the days, color sets replaced black and white sets. The transition was said to have taken more than a decade in matured markets like the US and Europe, and nearly twenty years throughout the world. Investors and market analysts are saying the situation will be the same, a little less years in transition is expected because of global media reach. This holds true as Tier 3 cities in India have just been introduced to cable TV! So 3D TV will come out as a niche overpriced product to sustain itself, before enjoying mass volumes.
In fact, Sony has a huge space of its large booth just dedicated to their 3D displays at the CES in Las Vegas. The future does look bright for 3D TV Manufacturers like Sony, LG, Toshiba, Samsung and JV to step into the consumer arena as content is now propelling consumer demands even though most of them are already credit strapped.
It seems they even have the technology for a ‘no-glasses’ experience. That would involve powerful processors, quicker rendering and refresh rates making it five to seven years away from the average consumer. Until then, I’ll hold on to these glasses I stole.
This year, the Consumer Electronics Association's annual techfest will not only be the launch platform for many of the industry's most popular product categories but other things to watch out in this space are the holographic Projectors (like the Star War’s R2D2, the mini –projector or Pico projectors integrated into cell phones, augmented reality devices, maps and games. It’s going to be a crazy ride for Entertainment Display and digital Viewing and make an effort not to ruin the fun ride with a few depressing cobwebs in each of our bank accounts.