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August 21, 2014

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CES: Industry working to clear up misconceptions about 3-D television

This isn’t your grandfather’s 3-D, product designer says

CES 2010: The Year of the 3-D TV

The 3-D TV may have been introduced at CES last year, but this year, some major companies are bringing it to market as early as this spring. A panel Wednesday summarized the major 3-D TV announcements from CES 2010. We asked viewers how they liked the experience and got a behind-the-scenes look at three of the hottest new models.

In-home 3-D technology is right around the corner, but it won’t arrive without some bumps along the way, a group of experts said Thursday at the Consumer Electronics Show.

The technology is by far the most hyped at the Consumer Electronics Show this year, much due to the record-breaking success of James Cameron’s movie “Avatar.” 3-D has been the talk of shows in past years, but the difference this year is the technology will soon be widely available.

The Consumer Electronics Association said earlier this week that it expects 4.3 million 3-D sets to be sold this year.

But even with all the buzz about 3-D, there are still misconceptions about the technology, manufacturers and content producers said during a panel discussion.

“The first misconception is that this is your grandfather’s 3-D. It’s not ‘Jaws’ 3-D, it’s ‘Avatar’ 3-D,” said Brian Lenz, director of product design and TV product development for BSkyB.

Panelists said they’re doing their best to educate not only consumers, but retailers, too, similar to how they approached the launch of HDTV and Blu-Ray.

The experts said one of the most common questions from consumers is, “Do I have to wear the glasses every time I watch TV?”

“Many think they would need to wear the glasses when watching 2-D programs on a 3-D TV. You won’t need to,” 3-D Home Consortium Chairman Rick Dean said. “Eventually, 3-D experiences will be able to happen without glasses. But for now, that’s the way that 3-D is going to be used in the home.”

Dean said the sets hitting the market this year will be 3-D-enabled but with all the capabilities of a standard HDTV.

“From our position as content producers, we want people to sit down and watch the events. It’s not about getting you to watch all your TV in 3-D all night,” Lenz said.

This week has brought announcements of several content producer and manufacturer partnerships, including the release of “Monsters vs. Aliens” from Samsung and Dreamworks as the first Blu-Ray 3-D release. Lenz’s company, Sky, is starting up its own 3-D network in England this year.

ESPN announced its own 3-D channel, set to launch in June. The channel will start off with 85 events, including the World Cup, X Games and the BCS Championship game. The channel will only broadcast live events and otherwise will be dark.

“We are not going to run to do every event, because then you are going to see some mediocre 3-D,” said Anthony Bailey, ESPN’s vice president of emerging technologie.

Bailey said ESPN decided to launch the channel after seeing the success of its 3-D broadcast of the Ohio State-USC game last year. But the network still has a lot to learn before it offers more events in 3-D, he said.

“Our biggest goal is to get 2-D and 3-D produced on the same truck to be cost effective. If we can’t do that, it may be a long putt for us,” Bailey said.

Most of the big names in TV and video are showcasing their 3-D technology front and center at their booths on the CES exhibit floor.

Manufacturers are saying TV and video players are scheduled to hit the shelves sometime this year but have been shy about announcing prices.

Panasonic Chief Technology Officer Eisuke Tsuyuzaki said his company will be pricing 3-D TVs between $5,000 and $6,000. Panasonic is also showing a 3-D camcorder this year priced about $2,000.

Though the price of 3-D may seem steep to the average consumer, Tsuyuzaki doesn’t seem to think so.

“It wont be at a high, astronomical price,” Tsuyuzaki said of 3-D technology. “That’s the wrong thing to do.”

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