Mitsubishi, Nvidia Team Up in 3DTV

Mitsubishi has teamed up with Nvidia to fill its hunger for content for its 3-D-ready digital TVs. At the Consumer Electronics Show, Mitsubishi showed its big-screen digital TVs using a new $199 stereoscopic 3-D package from Nvidia to play computer games. The Nvidia 3D Vision product, announced earlier this week, uses special drivers to generate stereo 3-D images of standard computer games written for the Microsoft DirectX application programming interface.

Mitsubishi has had 3-D-ready versions of its large-screen Digital Light Processing (DLP) TVs on the market for some time. Until today they lacked content except for a handful of movie trailers Hollywood studios provided in a format suitable for the DLP set.

The TV uses the micro-mirror technology of Texas Instruments to support stereo 3D using either a checkerboard pixel or side-by-side (left and right image) format. Samsung has released similar 3-D ready TVs using plasma displays that can also support a checkerboard pixel format.

The Mitsubishi demo used a PC with an Nvidia graphics card sending the movie content to the TV over a DVI connection. The Nvidia system uses active shutter glasses and works with as many as 350 computer games, according to the company.

Mitsubishi's 73-inch 1080p DLP Diamond series HDTV

Hollywood studios are eager to find home video markets for the increasing number of their stereo 3-D movies. However, they want to produce the content in a single format. The diverse displays used in digital TVs are fragmenting the potential home market for the technology. While Mitsubishi and Samsung advocate two formats suitable for their DLP and plasma sets, LCD TV makers want a separate format better suited to their technology and a handful of startups have other approaches.

Studios already must support at least two formats for cinematic releases of their 3-D movies. In the home, even the latest Blu-ray disks would not have room to store a 3-D movie in multiple formats. A task force in the Society for Motion Picture and Television Engineers group is studying the need for a content standard for stereo 3-D. David Naranjo, a director of product development for Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America Inc., said the task force could recommend a single format in its report to be filed at the end of January.

Both Dolby and Panasonic are expected to show their own approaches to a 3DTV format at CES. Panasonic unveiled its prototype system in Japan earlier this year.

By Rick Merritt, EE Times