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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: January 13, 2011 @ 11:39 pm

    CES: 3D gets a second shot

    Ciara O'Brien

    There was a bit of deja vu at CES. Like last year, 3D was big news. But this time, there was a more personal slant to it.

    Every manufacturer seemed determined to bring 3D to consumers – whether you like it or not.

    At times, there was a slight air of desperation about it. We know 3D is being touted as the saviour of the entertainment industry and pretty important to consumer electronics firms too. So it’s in their interests that we all hop on board the 3D bandwagon and fork out for new TVs, glasses, compatible DVD players and the like.

    But here’s the thing: not everyone wants 3D. Not everyone likes it. In fact, not everyone CAN like it, simple as that. The side effects – nausea, headaches, eye strain – make it a no-go area for some.

    And it’s expensive. A TV at the moment will probably set you back more a thousand euro, while the glasses can add an extra few hundred to that. That’s before you get into the extras like a 3D Blu Ray player and home cinema audio accessories.

    The glasses are what’s apparently hindering the adoption of 3D. Some consumers don’t like them. Others do, thinking it gives more of a cinematic experience (although I’ve yet to find these particular consumers). And if you buy a set of glasses for one TV, there’s no guaranteeing it will work properly with another manufacturer’s TV. It’s almost like the various standards wars – VHS vs Betamax, HD DVD vs Blu Ray – so you can see why consumers would be wary.

    So with that in mind, Sony, LG, Panasonic and Toshiba all announced that they were examining the possibility of glasses-free 3D. And the results were pretty impressive. Real depth in the images, although the sizes of some TVs were limited. Unfortunately, the results don’t photograph too well, so you’ll have to trust my judgment.

    Big screens were also everywhere. Samsung showed off its largest 3D TV, this 75-inch monster. Image quality was pretty impressive: the overwhelming message being rammed home by all the manufacturers is that 3D is here to stay, and it’s getting bigger all the time.

    LG’s flicker free 3D TV was also on display – in a booth that was rammed with large screen high definition TVs, it was still easy to find, mainly because it seemed to attract a huge crowd.

    Photograph: Getty Images

    There were also some stranger products.

    This is Sony’s concept product: a 3D visor. Wraparound screens on the inside, headphones included. Doesn’t look the best, mind you, but that could be improved.  If they ever get this to market a generation of teenagers would cheer and promptly block out their parents.

    Image from Reuters

    Photograph: Reuters

    Also on the concept list is a portable 3D Blu Ray DVD player.

    Cameras, video cameras and laptops are also getting the 3D treatment.

    JVC’s new 3D camcorder will shoot full HD and is aimed at consumers. The GS-TD1 uses two camera lenses and two 3.32 megapixel CMOS sensors to capture 3D images. It has a high-speed imaging engine that simultaneously processes the two full HD images.  It also has other shooting modes such as “Side-by-Side Format” for AVCHD (3D) and regular 2D shooting.

    Sony unveiled a range of 3D enabled Bloggies, Handycams and Cybershot cameras. Along with the 3D enabled Vaio laptops (using them us quite freakish, you expect to be able to put your hand through the image), Sony’s message of making 3D personal is being followed consistently.

    Sony’s HDR-T10 is capable of full HD shooting, and uses a dual lens system, which includes two lenses, two CMOS sensors and to image processors. 3D content can be recorded in 1920×1080 Full HD resolution and viewed with active glasses on 3D TVs, or in 2D on regular high definition TVs. It also allows you to view the footage in 3D without glasses on the camcorder’s 3.5-inch 3D touch screen.

    Panasonic, meanwhile showed off some more 3D-compatible camcorders, adding five to its line-up that works with its 3D conversion lens.

    Polaroid even got in on the act with some premium 3D glasses and Gaga-inspired 3D camera glasses that capture or upload photos instantly and display the images on the glasses’ LCD screens so others can see them.

    And that wasn’t the end of it either; there was plenty more around CES to see in 3D.

    Get used to it – it seems 3D is here to stay, for 2011 at least.

    • Coops says:

      In my view, this 3D is nonsense – a technology looking for a market that doesn’t really exist. At least when HD came along, people were either neutral or positive about it – and at best, takeup has been very slow in comparison to other technologies. But with 3D, most people are either negative or neutral. 90% of TV is watched in a somewhat social scenario – with a cup of tea and a few people in the room. If you start adding 3D visors to this, you break the social connection, and you end up with a bunch of droids staring at a wall. Parents (or responsible ones) will not want their kids being plugged into the TV so directly. And for what benefit – take the novelty factor out and what are you left with? Does it really make the TV experience more enjoyable? A load of batchelor-pad hyper-tech.

    • John Power says:

      Irish company, Movidius, were there with their 3D technology.