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December 22nd, 2009

The next wave in display technology for television will be called 3DTV, but marketing terms for 3D-type monitors have not been created yet. These monitors will display a 2D image with stereoscopic depth added. How good will it look? Compare an old 1998 CRT monitor to the LCD monitor rental, and you will note an incredible improvement. Going 3D will be even more dramatic.


3D technologies have improved to the point where Hollywood has a small but growing library of “depth-enhanced” films. Just as black-and-white films were “colorized,” movies can be “depth enhanced” now, especially if made with computer technology like the PowerMac G5 with Kona card that CRE rents to production professionals. Toy Story 3D, in fact, is an enhanced “combo” of the first two 2D films.

The 1950s vs. now

The 3D projection used for 1950s 3D films called for superimposing polarized or differently colored images on each film frame. Viewers wore “passive” glasses that revealed different images so that the brain would “knit” the images into layers that gave a sense of depth. Viewing newer 3DTV displays with “active” glasses would create much more convincing “alternative realities.”

Active glasses are expensive at this point, but as with all technology the price will drop. Sony, Samsung and others are building “3D-capable” displays now, and Panasonic recently demonstrated a large-screen 3DTV that it hopes to ship in 2010. Again, as happened with high-end plasma rentals, premium 3DTV models will arrive first, followed by more-affordable models.

Coming soon?

Existing cable and IPTV networks are already capable of distributing 3D content. The bandwidth that networks use to deliver HD content will handle 3D content with the latest video compression techniques. Of course, high-end PCs (like CRE’s HP XW 8400 computer rental) and Intel-based Macs are powerful alternatives to TVs.

Using physical media, of course, means Blu-ray. It can store, burn, save and present the data needed, and 3D BR players are already in the works. No changes to the Blu-ray specs are necessary, so standards groups and manufacturers are focused on practical things, like making sure that 2D TVs can play 3D discs.

Flexible standards

Conflicts or development dead-ends due to “battling standards” should not be particularly troublesome, as long as 3DTVs stay flexible. Just as digital TV was defined in 480, 720, and 1080 formats – along with progressive (p) and interlaced (i) versions – an industry group is working on a simple, straightforward standard, the kind that has led to the proliferation of WiFi in laptops and tablet PCs.

The first 3D displays will use alternating images viewed with shutter-style glasses until holographic displays are developed. Until then, 3DTV could be sold as a minor upgrade to existing HDTV units. Stay tuned, they’re coming soon! In the meantime, CRE can handle any display needs you have – for your office, conferences or presentations – so give one of our Account Executives a call, send an e-mail or fill out our Quick Rental Quote form. We’ve got you covered, in all dimensions.

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