3DTV : The Next Generation TV

NOW WE have HDTV, what's next? 3D TV. 3D movies have been taking off at the box office. About 15 major feature films will be released in 3D in 2009, with twice that number set for 2010. HDTV manufacturers are scrambling to support 3DTV Both plasma and 120Hz LCD technology are adaptable to 3DTV using active glasses—not the passive glasses used in most 3D movie theaters. Active glasses use LCD material to block the light first to one eye and then to the other, at very fast rates. By synchronizing them to the content on the HDTV, 3DTV technology can present full-resolution 1080p images sequentially to the left and right eyes, and still have a total frame rate of 60Hz. Other technologies can show 3D images with either passive glasses or no glasses at all, but are too expensive to manufacture or have significant viewing limitations.

One roadblock for 3D content has been the lack of an industry standard, but that's changing
fast. Hollywood already adds depth information to many of its films, and translates this into
different formats that different cinema projection systems use—the RealD system based on
polarized light, for example, or the Dolby system that relies on sophisticated RGB color filters
to create stereoscopic images. Creating a similar "home 3D master" is not that difficult—SMPTE
(an organization of industry engineers) is well on the way to defining such a specification.
Such a master can provide data for a range of display formats. And the Blu-ray Disc Associa-
tion is working on a standard for storing 3D on on prepackaged media. HDTVs can be made to work with a variety of 3D data-stream formats.Down the road, HDTVs should be 3D as well.

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