We had analogue versus digital, standard definition (SD) versus high definition (HD) but the format wars are about to get serious as TV channels prepare for yet another great move: 3D TV (with and without glasses).
3D TV has been an aspiration for TV technicians and enthusiasts, since the popularity of futuristic programs and films in the 70s. The launch of such products as the ‘LG Cinema 3D’, leaves no doubt that the time has finally come for the distant 3D dream to become a reality, and whats more a reality to be enjoyed from the comfort of our very own living rooms. Although there already are a few 3DTV models available in the market, LG Cinema 3D TV is considered a pioneering model as, apart from a top-quality 3D image it also allows viewers to enjoy exactly the same picture quality no matter the angle. This means that if you have a living room full of friends you no longer need to re-arrange the sofas to ensure they can all see the movie in 3D.
Which manufacturer and which broadcaster will win the 3D race is yet unknown, as the technology is still developing.
In 2006, France Telecom broadcasted a program in 3D capitalizing on fibre-optic technology. Pilot 3D programs are being produced using different formats and technologies as we speak in the USA and Europe. Which of these formats will prevail is still ambiguous and there is always the chance that 3DTV will not take off at all.
What is definitely unquestionable is that 3D technology is still quite expensive for both broadcasters and customers. Glass-free 3D Television sets are currently double the price of those which require glasses which accounts for the popularity of models such as LG Cinema 3D, which are comparatively economical.
As far as Broadcasters are concerned SKY is confident that 3D technology will take the world by storm and Brian Lenz, Product Design director for SKY is certain that it is not long before manufacturers decide on the most effective format for international use.
A drawback for manufacturers is that in fact 3D transmission currently requires more frequencies, something that, of course, costs more too. The European Union is currently investing on large research projects aiming to solve the last technological barriers obstructing the popularization of 3DTV.
Considering however that the children of today will soon become the consumers of tomorrow, there is an anxious expectation for 3D TV. Kids already familiar with films like UP, Avatar, Toy Story III and Alice in Wonderland, will no longer remain content with regular HD TV and manufacturers are all hoping to gain from this emerging client-base.