3D Television Gives Way to Rise of 4K and HDR Technology

Support for 3D television has experienced a steady decline and now its demise seems inevitable (unless it is later resurrected). Samsung ceased its 3D support last year and Vizio has not offered 3D since 2013. Hisense, Sharp and TCL were among the companies that did not showcase 3D sets during CES earlier this month. “LG and Sony, the last two major TV makers to support the 3D feature in their TVs, will stop doing so in 2017,” reports CNET. “None of their sets, not even high-end models such as their new OLED TVs, will be able to show 3D movies and TV shows.” DirecTV shuttered its 3D channel in 2012 and ESPN did the same in 2013. Despite affordability of 3D TVs and the success of 3D in theaters, the technology failed to gain traction in the home. Continue reading 3D Television Gives Way to Rise of 4K and HDR Technology

China’s LeTV Brings VR Headset, Smart TV, More to the U.S.

Though LeTV is little known in the U.S., that’s about to change. The Chinese online video and consumer electronics behemoth, which posted an estimated $1.6 billion in revenue last year, is about to introduce U.S. consumers to its Android-based smartphone, a bike with an integrated GPS device, smart TVs with voice control, a 4K video streaming box and a VR headset. The company plans to initially focus on the 3 million Chinese speakers in the U.S. but has also inked a two-picture deal with “Lion King” director Rob Minkoff. Continue reading China’s LeTV Brings VR Headset, Smart TV, More to the U.S.

Showgoers: Chrome Plugin Powers Shared Viewing for Netflix

For those who want a more social TV viewing experience, Showgoers is a new and interesting solution. The Chrome extension enables far-flung friends to watch the same movie or TV show featured on Netflix and play, pause or seek specific segments, simultaneously. Not surprisingly, the idea was born out of a long-distance relationship; the developer created Showgoers to create another experience that the couple could share. Although Showgoers can’t get around geographical blocking, it is simple to set up — and free. Continue reading Showgoers: Chrome Plugin Powers Shared Viewing for Netflix

New Panopticam Camera to Make VR Movies for Oculus Rift

Figure Digital’s Panopticam camera system was designed to bring film exhibition and virtual reality together, offering viewers a full 360-degree sphere of vision. The bumble ball-like device features 36 high definition cameras mounted into a 3D printed spherical case that stands on a tripod. A custom-built editing plugin for Adobe After Effects stitches together the captured video footage so it can be played back in the immersive environment of a VR headset such as Oculus Rift or Morpheus. Continue reading New Panopticam Camera to Make VR Movies for Oculus Rift

BBC Places 3D Pilot on Hold, Cites Lack of Public Interest

The BBC announced it will take a hiatus from developing 3D TV programming based on the public’s “lack of appetite” for the technology. Kim Shillinglaw, the BBC’s head of 3D, says that British television viewers have not taken to the format, despite the fact there are now an estimated 1.5 million UK households with 3D TVs. As a result, the BBC is planning a three-year break from its 3D project once the current two-year pilot comes to an end later this year. Continue reading BBC Places 3D Pilot on Hold, Cites Lack of Public Interest

Are there Other Media Applications for Military VR and 3D Tech?

  • Quantum 3D has created virtual reality technology for soldiers to train for battle wearing 3D glasses equipped with screens.
  • “Trainees are 100 percent immersed in the battlefield, while actually prowling around the conference room, gymnasium, or parking lot,” reports KNTV/NBC (includes video).
  • This opens some interesting possibilities for general training, education, and theme park applications.
  • In related news, IEE Inc. has integrated its 4.8-inch 800×400 military data display with 3M’s autostereoscopic film for a glasses-free 3D display that allows running of custom apps (terrain mapping, remote robotics control, enhanced video feeds, and training environments).
  • Key design elements include its small size, high resolution and LED backlight technology. The new display “decreases off-axis image reversals and color distortions, a common concern in the use of 3D technologies, and can easily be switched to 2D with imagery comparable to modern day smart phones,” according to the press release.

DisplayMate Shoot-Out: Passive 3D Provides a Superior Viewing Experience

  • Dr. Raymond Soneira of DisplayMate Technologies has concluded that current Passive 3D HDTVs provide a better viewing experience than Active Shutter technology, despite the lower retail price and seemingly less-advanced technology.
  • Dr. Soneira conducted extensive testing between four high-end 3D LCD HDTVs, two with Active Shutter glasses and two with Film Pattern Retarder (FPR) Passive glasses. (The findings are detailed in the Gizmodo post.)
  • According to Soneira, both technologies have their perceived strengths and weaknesses: “For Active Shutter Glasses the main issues are excessive flicker, image crosstalk and ghosting, insufficient brightness, problems with viewing comfort and cost of the glasses. For Passive Glasses the main issues are questioned resolution and sharpness, restricted viewing distances, angles and positions.”
  • However, following the shoot-out, Soneira concluded that “Passive Glasses TVs delivered substantially and demonstrably better all around 3D imaging, 3D contrast and sense of 3D depth, better 3D sharpness, better overall 3D picture quality, immersion and realism, and freedom from 3D ghosting, image crosstalk, and flicker.”
  • The debate over Passive vs. Active Shutter 3D technology has been ramping up since the introduction of Passive 3D, which has led to division within the industry and confusion amongst consumers. Currently, Samsung and Sony manufacture Active Shutter 3D TVs, while LG and Vizio make Passive 3D sets.
  • For more details on the DisplayMate findings, the 3D TV Display Technology Shoot-Out is available online (as is the Display Technology Shoot-Out series that provides in-depth evaluations of mobile LCD and OLED displays).