At CES this year there are two major themes dominating the consumer electronics space – 3D Television and the convergence between the networking world and the A/V world. I walked the floor yesterday and made my way to Central Hall the nerve-center of one of the largest trade shows in the world.
I often liken CES to the Louvre – it’s almost impossible to see everything so you have to focus. For me – as an A/V fanatic I was most interested in 3D television and the new HD camcorders. The great thing about CES is all of the latest and greatest gadgets are completely functional so you can literally try everything you want, and if you have any questions there is a good chance that the guy (or gal) who created the product is standing right in front of you!
So since 3D Television is definitely the most exciting trend in the CE-space I thought I would share my experience. I saw 3D Television products from all the major manufacturers, at the moment there are three different ways of delivering the content – active glasses, passive glasses, and no glasses. Here are my thoughts on each:
Panasonic was showing their 3D Televisions with active glasses – this means the glasses themselves have a battery inside them refreshing the lenses – in this case at 120 Hz. While the 3D image looked fine I found the refresh rate to be a bit dizzying within the first 30-second of putting-on the glasses. Viewing at an angle also was not nearly as good as looking directly at the screen which makes me concerned about how viable this would be for the living room.
JVC was showing their 3D Televisions with Real D 3D Glasses – the same technology used in movie theaters today. I found that this did not create the eye-strain and dizzying effect I found with the active glasses. The image was crisp and popped-out of the screen – they had a great demo of 3D fish swimming in the screen that then popped-out of the screen and swam towards you. They also had a very cool encoder product that could convert traditional movies to 3D so that production companies could easily make 3D content from their existing 2D content.
While I did find it very impressive that a 3D image could be created and seen without 3D glasses the experience is significantly worse than any of the glasses-based solution. the image was not nearly as crisp and I actually started to feel like I was getting motion sickness within the first minute of viewing.
In the end I think we are still a few years away from perfecting the technology but JVC definitely impressed me the most with their passive glasses. I’m a big fan of 3D and after seeing Avatar in IMAX 3D I’m convinced this is the next step in the home theater world…however we’ve got a ways to go until this ready for prime-time in your home.