IFA - A Brief 3D Snapshot

The "Internationale Funkausstellung" or IFA for short, was held from September 4-9 in Berlin, Germany. Traditionally this show has been more about European CE product introductions that were pre-announced for the most part. The show is where major retailers and dealers order TVs and other CE gear for the coming season. This year was different as new and significant product announcements marked the event. Getting perhaps top billing was 3D. Below is a brief summary of some of the more significant 3D findings.

As was widely reported, Sony was making a public commitment to bring a complete 3D offering to the consumer including the hardware (TV sets, Blu-Ray players and game consoles) and content (movies and games). Their main message as displayed in the booth was "Sony brings 3D home in 2010". As for the underlying 3D technology they only showed LCD TV with active shutter glasses. At the last CES, Sony showed prototype LCD TVs using the x-pol technology.

Panasonic will also make 3D TV sets available in 2010 to the consumer in Europe, which will play 3D content from Blu-Ray players, again using active shutter glasses. With their strong alignment with the Avatar movie, due for release on December 19, we expect to hear more from Panasonic and their 3D plans in the near future.

Philips was pushing their 21:9 cinema format TV as the only TV that can play DVD and Blu-Ray releases without the loss of valuable display real estate. They claim that currently about 60% of all DVD and Blu-Ray disks are released in 21:9 format. While they acknowledged that 3D was a big part of IFA they only showed a prototype based on the 21:9 LCD TV, based on an x-pol solution, and stated that they are working on all technologies including auto-stereoscopic solutions and will be ready to offer products when the consumer demand is starting to be realized. They are currently offering a Net TV service that brings roughly a 100 Internet channels to the European consumer, which provides an interesting platform for 3D delivery.

LG was not so focal about the push for 3D into the home but they are ready and showed LCD TVs based on x-pol technology (passive glasses), a PDP TV (active shutter glasses) and a home projection system with passive glasses.

Samsung was not far behind showing LCD and PDP TVs with active shutter glasses. More 3D TVs were shown by JVC (x-pol) and Vestel (x-pol).

Loewe (active shutter glasses) and Toshiba (x-pol) were showing prototypes in the press area only.

By Norbert Hildebrand, DisplayDaily