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Industry in brief
3D televisions hit the marketplace
Photo credit: @Twentieth Century Fox France
The success of James Cameron’s 3D film “Avatar” is stimulating demand for 3D content

Three-dimensional (3D) television sets are already on sale in some countries, but it is in 2010 that major electronics manufacturers are truly starting their drive to expand the global market. An article in ITU News of March 2010 described the technical issues that must still be addressed, and a supply of 3D content will be needed from broadcasters. Nevertheless, 3D television is expected to surge in popularity.

Samsung makes the first splash

On 10 March 2010, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, of the Republic of Korea, hosted a spectacle in New York, United States, to mark the launch of its full high-definition, 3D television sets with LED screens. They are the first of their kind to be made available to the public worldwide.

The event in the city of New York’s Times Square included a performance by The Black Eyed Peas, and Samsung said it will give customers 3D footage of the hip-hop group’s world tour. Also present was James Cameron, director of the 3D film “Avatar”, whose success has stimulated demand for 3D content. Samsung announced earlier that it has joined forces with DreamWorks Animation to make 3D versions of the highly popular “Shrek” series of films, in addition to other projects.

LG in partnership with broadcasters

Also from the Republic of Korea, LG Electronics Inc is a leading manufacturer of 3D television sets, and it understands the need for content too. In December 2009 it signed an agreement with SkyLife, a digital satellite broadcaster, to offer 3D programmes to viewers in the Republic of Korea. LG described the partnership as the first of its kind in the world between an electronics maker and a broadcasting company. It aims to introduce similar services in Europe and North America, and on 9 March 2010 it announced that it will introduce 3D LCD television sets in India via a partnership with Indian media company, Valuable Group, which will broadcast premier cricket matches live in April.

Sony aims for market share

On 9 March too, Sony Corporation, of Japan, said it aims to sell two-an-a-half million 3D television sets by the end of March 2011, or about 10 per cent of its total sales of televisions. The 3D sets are likely to go on sale in June 2010 in Japan, and elsewhere soon after. By then, Sony also expects to have updated the software on its PlayStation 3 games console so it can display 3D content.

The games market is seen as an important driver of demand for 3D, as is the creation of more movies in that format. In February 2010, a “Sony 3D Technology Center” was opened at the Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, California, United States, aimed at training professionals in 3D productions. Sony is also setting its sights on selling 3D cameras and other equipment, such as the outside broadcasting trucks for 3D services that are now being developed.

Panasonic showcases the winter Olympics

At the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada, in February, a 3D theatre was set up by Japanese firm Panasonic Corporation. It screened high-definition 3D pictures of the games’ opening ceremony and highlights of various events. In January 2010, Panasonic announced a new range of full high-definition 3D-capable VIERA plasma television sets, as well as a 3D-compatible Blu-ray disc player. The company also said it has tied up with DIRECTV, a digital satellite broadcaster in the United States and Latin America, to offer pay-per-view 3D films, sports videos and other programmes. In addition, Panasonic announced on 12 February that it is taking orders in the United States for what it says is the world’s first professional quality, full high-definition 3D camcorder.

Photo credit: AFP

Philips goes back to glasses

Royal Philips Electronics Inc, of the Netherlands, originally developed a series of 3D television sets that could be viewed without wearing special glasses. However, to better prevent eye strain, the manufacturer has decided to offer “active” glasses with its new range of 3D LED Pro 9000 sets to be launched in Europe in the summer of 2010. These accessories are similar to those being sold by the other major makers of 3D television sets. Many companies expect consumers to pay extra to buy as many pairs of glasses as their family needs — which could prove to be equivalent to a significant proportion of the price of the television set itself.


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