Category Archives: TV
By Mat Smith
The high-definition pride of your living room may not want to hear it, but it looks like ultra high-definition TV (or UHDTV) has now taken another step towards reality. While shop-floor products remain years away, experts in the ITU Study Group on Broadcasting Service have made several agreements on technical standards for your (next?) next TV purchase. Increasing pixel count in future sets is also expected to improve viewing angles on glasses-free 3D, which needs more dots to work its lenticular magic. 33 megapixels sounds like it should be enough to work with.
LG Display set to triple OLED production capacity with $226m facility expansion, effects to be felt in 2011
As usual with OLED displays, we’re taking one step forward only to find there are hundreds more to go. LG has today officially announced a new $226 million investment in its OLED production facilities, which will markedly expand its ability to churn out ultrathin canvases of wonder. The not so good news, however, is that this production line is still being built — with a planned activation in the third quarter of 2010 — and the effects of the new cash infusion will not be felt until the second half of next year. Should you have the patience to endure such protracted roadmaps, you should be seeing a lot more from LG in the mobile display space — where Samsung currently holds the technological lead with its Super AMOLED screens — as well as the luxury TV market that already counts the 15-inch 15EL9500 among its numbers. The Korean manufacturer describes OLED screens as one of its “new growth engines,” alongside e-paper and solar cells, so even if we may consider development slow, it’s looking increasingly likely that OLED TVs will eventually make their way into the mainstream.
Hitachi has reportedly unveiled details of a new 3D display for handheld electronic devices.
According to Kotaku, the 3.1″ screen features a parallax barrier and in-plane switching options that allows flat displays to appear three-dimensional with a relatively wide viewing angle.
“[However], Hitachi’s option does not highlight any touchscreen capabilities, in addition to being smaller and having less impressive brightness, making it a less impressive (or technically incompatible) screen option,” wrote Kotaku’s Michael McWhertor.
“Both Sharp’s and Hitachi’s displays feature 854 x 480 resolution, much higher than the standard Nintendo DS screens.”
It should be noted that Nintendo recently announced its “glasses-free” 3DS, which is expected to feature a force-feedback system, along with a screen size comparable to that of the DSI.
Although the Japanese-based company has thus far declined to provide technical specs or details, a number of publications have speculated that the image will be rendered on a screen with a thin sheet of lenses in front of the primary display panel.
Surround sound? That’s old technology. How about surround vision?
The folks at the MIT Media Lab have developed a new system called surround vision that can let you follow objects outside of your regular TV screen by viewing them on smartphones and handheld Internet devices. Imagine you’re watching a movie on your regular TV, and a car drives off the screen. You could follow and view that car as it drives away by looking at and pointing your smartphone or tablet in its direction.
The person leading this promising new project is Santiago Alfaro, a graduate student at the lab. To kick-start his testing, Alfaro attached a magnetometer to an existing handheld device. A type of digital compass, magnetometers are already used in smartphones like the iPhone to detect the direction the device is pointing. He then created the necessary software to sync the magnetometer with other sensors on the device.
After outfitting the handheld with motion sensors, Alfaro shot video on campus from three different angles–center, left, and right. Watching the TV screen straight on played video from the center. But by pointing the handheld to the left or right, Alfaro was able to view the footage shot from both side angles.
As a further test of the technology, Alfaro took advantage of the alternate takes found on many DVDs. He created a demo that let him switch between the final footage and the alternate takes and angles by changing the direction of the handheld device.
Though the technology may sound like it needs further development, it’s designed to work with existing Internet-enabled portable gadgets, including smartphones and tablets. Since a lot of today’s handheld devices already have magnetometers, no modifications would be necessary. Further, TV stations wouldn’t have to change their broadcasts or equipment, according to Alfaro and his adviser, Media Lab research scientist Michael Bove.
“In the Media Lab, and even my group, there’s a combination of far-off-in-the-future stuff and very, very near-term stuff, and this is an example of the latter,” said Bove in a news release Friday. “This could be in your home next year if a network decided to do it.”
The MIT researchers plan to test surround vision on other users this spring and summer using content developed by Boston Public TV and other partners. They’re keen to try it out on sporting events and live TV shows since those broadcasts already shoot footage from different angles. Even crime shows like “CSI” could benefit from the surround vision, said Bove, by letting people view what the medical examiners see when they peer through a microscope.
Follow link for Video Demo ->http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20002246-1.html?tag=newsEditorsPicksArea.0
By Darren Quick
With the TV heavyweights unleashing a torrent of 3D LCD and plasma TVs upon us this year it would be easy to assume that those are the only technologies capable of providing 3D viewing in the home. A small Los Gatos, California-based startup called HDI is out blow such assumptions out of the water with what it says is a superior 3D alternative. By all reports the company’s laser-driven 100-inch 2D/3D Switchable Dynamic Video Projection Television delivers a stunning 3D picture, thanks in part to its boasting the highest refresh rate of any mass-produced television or projector.
Laser TVs aren’t new, and although they’ve attracted praise for their impressive picture quality and energy efficiency, they haven’t really set the world on fire in the sales department. HDI is hoping to change that with its laser-driven 3D offering. HDI says its display delivers a 2D image with a 50 percent greater resolution than today’s digital cinemas and derives its high definition stereoscopic 1920 x 1080p “3D” image quality from two RGB laser-illuminated Liquid Crystal on Silcon (LCOS) micro display imagers.
At full 1080p HD, the HDI Ltd. screen refreshes at 360 fields per-second on each eye. According to the company this high refresh rate eliminates the adverse effects, such as migraines, dizziness, and nausea, long associated with substandard 3D display technology. For conversion of 2D content to 3D HDI TVs will utilize real time converter technology from HDlogix.
The projection technology that can be found in HDI’s TV’s, as well as it’s projection systems, relies on three low wattage lasers that transmit laser light, (red, green and blue), to a controller via fiber optic cables. This controller combines the different colors to sends a full-color image through prisms that separate the laser lights into two channels – one for each eye. Two LCoS imagers then capture the high definition 3D images and they’re ready for projection.
The two overlapping images are projected at a rate of 360 frames per second for each color for a grand total of 1080 images per second – far greater even than the 480Hz LED 3DTV unveiled by LG last month. In another point of difference to the current crop of 3D TVs being released the HDI offering can be viewed using passive polarized glasses instead of the more expensive active shutter glasses. And an added bonus of using lasers is that energy consumption can be kept down to less than 200 watts for a 100-inch set.
Initially HDI had hoped to license its 3D technology to existing TV manufacturers but no one was interested so HDI decided to start a TV company and produce the sets itself. It will be aiming its 100-inch TV at high-end, custom install users as well as corporate boardrooms, studios and sports bars.
HDI’s 3D solution has already been attracting high praise from those who have been lucky enough to witness it in person. Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computers, calls HDI Ltd., “Without a doubt, the best demonstration of 3D technology I have ever seen,” Technology journalist Richard Hart states, “The smoothest yet, and smoothness means no headaches,” and Sean Portnoy of ZDNet.com, wrote, “We could be looking at a Holy Grail of sorts for the next generation of television.”
If you’re one of the fortunate ones to be attending NAB 2010 in Las Vegas later this month then you can decide whether the accolades are well founded as HDI will be debuting its laser-driven 100-inch 2D/3D Switchable Dynamic Video Projection Television there. Everyone else will have to wait until the HDI 3D sets start appearing in high-end AV retailers. There’s no word of when that is expected to happen or how much the new TVs will be when they do.
Try as manufacturers might, attempts at autostereoscopic (glasses-free) TV have been subpar; existing tech typically makes for messy images due to ghosting, only provides a 3D effect if you’re standing in one of a very few predetermined spots (usually 8-10 viewing angles, though we’ve heard of 64), and reduces display resolution — all because only some pixels can be seen from each spot. With the occasional exception, it’s not terribly impressive. Scientists at the National Chiao Tung University in Taiwan are looking to change that. Rather than block light with a parallax barrier, their screen uses a matrix of specially cut prisms to reflect it, reducing ghosting to nil and maintaining display resolution by sending the same image to each viewer. Though there are still a fixed number of viewing zones, the prisms are so tiny that manufacturers can simply add more prisms to each pixel to increase that number — with 11 prisms per pixel, researchers say such a system could support 100 simultaneous 3D moviegoers. We’ve no word on whether the tech is affordable or when we’ll see it, but we expect it to handily beat cyborg eyeballs to market.
Future’s so bright for Senior Vice President and CEO of LG Electronics, Korea, Kyoung-joon Park, and (left) Executive Vice President and head of the LCD division of LG, Havis Kwon, as they show off the new 3D LED LX9500
By Darren Quick
LG has unveiled what is the sure to be the first of many LED TVs to get the 3D treatment. The LX9500 is illuminated by panels of LEDs directly behind the screen for local dimming, with the 55-inch model alone boasting 1,200 of the semiconductor light sources. The LEDs help the TV achieve a 10,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio while sporting an ultra-thin 22.3mm (less than 1 inch) deep body with a stylish 16mm super-narrow bezel.
Other features of the full HD 1080p set include TruMotion 400Hz (480Hz), NetCast support, Wireless AV Link and HDMI 1.4. Video calling using Skype is possible with an optional video camera, and the unit is DLNA ready with an optional DLNA dongle. The LX9500 uses active shutter glasses that can be recharged via USB for up to 40 hours of uninterrupted viewing pleasure – after which you should probably toddle off to bed.
The LX9500 can also play HD DivX, MP3, JPEG play and MPO files through its USB port. The low profile bezel hides the unit’s 10W + 10W + 5W “Invisible Speakers” and the set includes LG’s Clear Voice II technology to help clean up dialogue.
Coming in 47- and 55-inch versions, the LX9500 is part of LG’s INFINIA 3D line and will first be available in Korea, followed by North America, Europe and other key markets by early May.
After announcing that it would support Nintendo’s Wii this past January, Netflix has finally started shipping out instant streaming discs to lucky Wii owners.
E-mail alerts regarding the discs went out today, and Netflix subscribers will start receiving them as early as tomorrow. Just like with Netflix’s Playstation 3 instant streaming offering, subscribers need to request the disc at netflix.com/wii before it gets mailed out.
The Wii is the last gaming system to receive support for Netflix’s instant streaming service. Microsoft was the first to jump on the service for the Xbox 360 in July 2008, and that offering remains the best user interface for instant streaming on a console. PS3 users finally gained access to it in late 2009.
We don’t know much about what Netflix’s user interface will look like on the Wii, aside from what we can tell in the tiny screenshot above. It’ll likely have support for browsing with the Wii remote, and I’m hoping that there’s also some interesting gesture integration for browsing your Netflix queue. I’m also hoping that the interface is less clunky than the PS3’s instant streaming interface, which is often slow and a chore to use.
Unlike the Xbox 360 or PS3, the Wii won’t be able to play high-definition streaming content. That will have to be something reserved for a next-generation Wii console — something that many hope to see Nintendo announce soon.
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New 3-D devices are coming to stores, but widespread adoption may not be so fast.
At an event in Boston yesterday, Panasonic demoed its latest 3-D product: a 50-inch, high-definition 3-D plasma-screen TV, which goes on sale next month for about $2,499. Donning a $150 pair of glasses in the darkened room, I watched scenes of waterfalls and hiking in 3-D that was clearer and crisper than anything I’ve seen in theaters. Without providing specific figures, Panasonic says it sold out of other 3-D TVs in the U.S. during the first week of sales.
Announcements from Panasonic and other major manufacturers, including Mitsubishi, Sony, Philips, and Toshiba, mean that consumers will soon be able to buy many different 3-D products: TVs, Blu-ray players, video games, even cameras and camcorders. A new Blu-ray standard for 3-D should also make it easier for companies to produce 3-D content that will play on all 3-D TVs.
“About 8 percent of the consumer televisions sold in the United States this year will be 3-D; next year that number will more than double,” says Robert Perry, senior vice president, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company. Given that it took about eight years for high-definition television to catch on, Perry predicts that it “will take about four to five years for one half of all televisions sold in the United States to have 3-D capability. Then it will ramp up very quickly after that.”
Manufacturers hope that the popularity of 3-D movies can help push the technology into the home. “There is a heightened awareness of 3-D,” says Jonas Tanenbaum, vice president of marketing for LCD and LED TVs at Samsung, which this year is offering 15 3-D TV models on LED and plasma, ranging from $1,699 to $5,000.
However, some experts are more skeptical about the prospects for widespread adoption.
Research firm DisplaySearch predicts that there will be 1.2 million 3-D-capable TVs shipped this year and over four million next year, compared to the 200,000 shipped in 2009. Jennifer Colegrove, DisplaySearch’s director of display technologies, says that all of these 3-D TVs–which can be switched to a regular 2-D mode–will mainly be used for 2-D viewing for now. “Most people who buy a 3-D-ready TV will not really watch it,” she says. One drawback, Colegrove, says, is that some 3-D TVs don’t work well under fluorescent or halogen lighting (the light interferes with the infrared emitter that communicates between the TV and 3-D glasses).
Article Continues – http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/24842/?a=f
by Erica Ogg
The good news about the 3D TVs coming out this spring and summer is that they’ll come packed with two pairs of 3D lenses. The bad news? Those plastic glasses work only with the brand of TV with which they’re shipped.
That means that if you buy a Panasonic 3D TV, you can’t use the accompanying lenses with your neighbor’s Sony 3D TV, should you want to get together to watch the World Cup in 3D this summer. That’s because each TV brand has a sensor that picks up a signal from the corresponding brand of glasses.
If that seems backwards, it’s because it is. But it’s also the sign of a new technology that hasn’t yet worked out all of its kinks. Thankfully, the burgeoning 3D industry knows that this is a shortcoming and is concocting a fix.
One company that makes 3D eyewear, XpanD, has staked its claim to be the vendor of choice for brand-agnostic 3D glasses. The company has been manufacturing 3D glasses for movie theaters in Europe and Asia for years, and it is now moving to make the glasses work for people’s homes as well.
XpanD has been contracted to produce the lenses that will ship with Panasonic and Vizio’s 3D sets, but the company is also aiming more broadly: to be the provider of one pair of glasses that people buy once and use everywhere. XpanD’s glasses will be available for between $125 and $150, starting June 1 at retailers such as Best Buy and Sears.
“The goal of the glasses is to work with every (size of) 3D display, from laptops to cinema,” said Ami Dror, XpanD’s chief strategy officer.
Dror says that would include all 3D televisions using infrared to communicate between the TV and the active-shutter 3D glasses. (“Active” glasses have battery-powered shuttering to allow the eyes to see 3D images, while “passive” glasses are the polarized lenses you get at the movie theater.) All major manufacturers–such as Sony, Samsung Electronics, and Panasonic–and most 3D-capable computer monitors and laptop screens–which gamers are expected to gravitate toward–use active-shutter glasses.
Dror anticipates the glasses being for sale in theaters or in retail stores alongside 3D displays. The way he sees it, people will want the option to choose their own glasses, especially if 3D-watching parties become popular.
Besides consumers being limited in how and when they can use their 3D glasses, XpanD believes that retailers can’t be expected to stock glasses from every possible manufacturer on their shelves.
“At Best Buy, they carry 15, 20 models of TVs,” Dror said. “We can’t expect them to carry 15 types of 3D glasses. That doesn’t make sense.”
Gunnar Optiks, which makes glasses that reduce eyestrain induced by staring at a computer screen all day, has also said it plans to make universal 3D glasses. It’s a great idea, but it’s unclear that the technology has actually been tested yet. (Until CNET Labs gives them a spin, we’ll reserve judgment.) In any case, what XpanD and Gunnar Optiks are trying to do is a necessary step in the evolution, if 3D is going to move from the cinema to the couch.
“It’s great that XpanD wants to be the vendor of choice for universal 3D glasses,” said David Wertheimer, CEO and executive director of the Entertainment Technology Center at the University of Southern California. “But it’s an easy thing to say and a harder thing to get all the people [to] work together.”
That’s where the Consumer Electronics Association comes in. The industry trade group is acting as referee between competing brands to agree on a standard for 3D eyewear. Representatives from TV makers, cable and broadcasting companies, eyewear manufacturers, and others together are reviewing proposals for standards and hashing out what that standard should be–and which companies will eventually make the standard glasses. Although they’ve been officially meeting for several months, the idea first came up last year.
“It was just evident to everybody that glasses were going to be a part of this ecosystem, and noninteroperable glasses would hamper the overall growth of the market,” said Brian Markwalter, vice president of technology and standards for the CEA.
They’re currently studying making active-shutter glasses the default technology, which are the most popular right now with TV makers. But there are details still to be worked out, such as the effects of competing with other infrared devices already in the living room, including TV remote controls.
Markwalter said the group meets every two weeks and that it understands the urgency, since these TVs are already seeping out into the market.
“They do feel the pressure of the marketplace,” he said. “The schedule they had talked about is trying to at least have it whittled down to a basic approach by May or June. They’re meeting pretty regularly, moving along as aggressively as they can. “
Until then, 3D TV watching it isn’t going to be a naturally social experience, the way standard 2D TV-watching is now, at least at first, while the likes of Sony and Panasonic race to get the technology to the marketplace. But it will get there eventually, USC’s Wertheimer says.
“As with any new technology, you try to get it to market, and get people to use it and start giving you feedback. All of (the manufacturers) have their own glasses and their own TVs that can only interact together. They do that to take the variables out of the equation, so they control the experience consumers have with the television,” Wertheimer said. “But the natural evolution of 3D TVs over time is for them to have interoperability with the glasses.”