Forget 3D Movies or In-Home, It’s Going Mobile Now

Back in the October Mobile Display Report, we told you about a new cell phone with an autostereoscopic 3D-LCD display to be offered by Japanese wireless carrier KDDI. We now know this is a Hitachi Wooo H001 due to launch in April ‘09 with WVGA (854×480) resolution and featuring 3D images using a parallax barrier approach.

Hitachi said the 3D effect not only pops-in automatically for 1Seg Japanese digital TV and other video that includes 3D, but the Wooo can convert existing 2D images and photos to 3D. The display works in either portrait or the phone’s notebook-like landscape mode, using a swiveling clamshell design with a toggle to switch between 2D and 3D mode. While the announcements did specify this, Insight Media believes the 3D would only be visible in the landscape mode.

Perhaps even more remarkably, not only are the Japanese bullish on 3D home delivery - they’re doing it on mobile devices for gosh sakes. Not only is 3D the next wave in the progression of display technology, but I believe it will pervade all forms of media including what some call the "dubious" mobile TV market.

In case there is any doubt about mobile TV’s success, ABI Research came out today with a milestone headline forecast: "Half a Billion Mobile TV Viewers and Subscribers in 2013." ABI says, "While mobile broadcast TV was pioneered in Japan and South Korea, traditional and mobile TV broadcasters and cellular operators in many regions will launch mobile TV services that are forecast to attract over 500M viewers by 2013."

Jeff Orr, senior analyst at ABI even addressed the "dubiousness" of the mobile TV medium here in the US, saying: "Mobile TV users have yet to value the medium properly because it has not been validated as an independent product and service. It has been primarily offered at the end of a long list of more preferred cellular services. However, Mobile TV will soon be positioned in a more proper role as an extension of traditional broadcast TV services."

And that’s the point. I have long said that for mobile TV to take off, it must break out of the subscriber-based, wireless-carrier domain and return to the roots of TV. To be a success, mobile TV must broadcast free, over the air and provide high-value local and real-time content to mobile as well as home viewers.

Local traffic, weather, news and sports are the top ad-generated money makers for any broadcast station. And broadcasters, not wireless carriers, know how to best deliver this content and generate the ad revenue to support it. While I don’t have visibility on the new ABI study, chances are good that the TV broadcasters, not the mobile operators, will garner the lion’s share of the revenue - not directly from viewers as subscribers, but rather from ad dollars.

Perhaps the real story here is the delivery of 3D to the mobile TV space and just how pervasive 3D technology is becoming. We may be lagging on the mobile TV front here in the US, but for some areas like Japan and Korea they are having their 3D cake and eating it too.

Source: DisplayDaily