BERLIN--Without a doubt, 3D has garnered the most buzz here at IFA
Many of the biggest names in consumer technology are pushing not only 3D cinema, but watching 3D movies and playing 3D games at home.
Earlier this week, Sony CEO Howard Stringer promised Blu-ray players, PlayStation 3, and laptops that will be "3D compatible" next year. Panasonic used the upcoming James Cameron flick "Avatar" to push its "Full HD 3D" idea, and Nvidia and JVC are also showing off monitors and TVs that will make even PC video game playing three-dimensional.
Despite their obvious enthusiasm for the idea, so far there isn't much evidence that consumers actually want 3D in their homes. Most people are still getting used to paying extra to watch it in the theaters while sporting a pair of plastic spectacles, and some still complain that it's hard on the eyes to watch anything in 3D longer than 10 minutes. So why are gadget makers so excited about it?
Because of two factors: First, people are watching 3D films. The box office totals of recent hits like "Up," "Monsters vs. Aliens," and "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs," show that there is indeed interest in the format.
But most of all, the companies that make consumer electronics see it as something else to sell that will distinguish their brand from the rest of the pack and from what they currently have at home. Blu-ray prices are coming down and the format is now solidly successful. And HDTVs, which became a must-have item, are becoming a commodity as well. Manufacturers are always on the lookout for some new twist that will compel users to upgrade, and for now, that appears to be 3D in the home.
Some trepidations And while there is a race to be first to have a hit product for 3D at home, not everyone is onboard. Both Philips and Toshiba say they have tested the waters of 3D at home, but say it doesn't feel very inviting just yet.
In their massive booth here at IFA, Philips is showing prototypes of their 21:9 ultrawidescreen TV and a Blu-ray player, both of which are 3D-capable. Yet, interestingly, they have "no immediate plans to launch any commercial 3D TV products in the short term," the company said during their press conference Thursday. The technology, they are freely admitting, "isn't quite there."
Toshiba executives are voicing the same concern.… Read more