At NAB it demonstrated stereo 3-D, combining two images onto a single display for viewing in the home with active shutter glasses. It wants to get the technology into the consumer market within the next year: “The environment is ready, content is ready, the technology is ready.”
Panasonic has made a significant push to 3-D at this year’s NAB Show, offering a stunning demonstration of what 3-D in the home can look like. According to Keisuke Suetsugi, manager of Pansonic’s high-quality-AV development center, the 3-D emphasis is far more than a wow-factor gimmick to lure attendees to the booth. Rather, when it comes to making 3-D a legitimate broadcast medium, for this brief moment, the company believes, all the stars are aligned in Panasonic’s favor.
“We do not want to miss this opportunity,” Suetsugi says. “3-D has failed many times in the past. This time, we’d like to do this right so that 3-D can be a mainstream format for the video industry. The environment is ready, content is ready, the technology is ready, so we cannot miss this time. If we fail again, it’s going to be forever.”
The 3-D on display at the Panasonic booth is stereo 3-D, combining two images onto a single display. Left-eye and right-eye images each flash at 120 frames per second, in sequence (left, right, left right). Active shutter glasses, equipped with batteries and electric socketry, accordingly open and close the left and right viewing windows at 120 frames per second, to sync with the images being processed on the screen. The 3-D-enabled television shines an infrared signal to the glasses, which have a receptor probe on the bridge. Inside the probe is an IR sensor that detects the infrared signal and recognizes the timing of the frame sequential, so that the lenses shutter at an interval that matches the on-screen images.
“We are proposing to have full HD resolution for each eye,” Suetsugi explains. “That has never been done in the consumer industry. We are hoping to be able to establish two standards, the Blu-ray standard to store that data on a disc, and the other is the HDMI standard, how to carry the signal from the playback device to the display device.”The display, Blu-ray, and HDMI technology already have the capability to do that, Suetsugi says, so all that needs to be done is to assign a 3-D flag to the signal.
“Just by doing that, we can have a full-resolution image, which is the picture you looked at inside the theater,” Suetsugi explains. “That’s what we would like to have in the consumer arena.”
And Panasonic wants that in the consumer arena quickly — sometime next year. But before the product can hit the shelves, there must be content, because, without compelling 3-D content, all Panasonic has is a box and a screen. With that in mind, Panasonic established the 3-D Blu-ray disc-compression and authoring center in Hollywood last January, and the company is reaching out to content-producers to help them create top-notch 3-D content.
“That way, we can grow all together the best possible 3-D by having everything ready together at the same time,” Suetsugi says, including cameras, editing systems, displays, and content. “That’s our message at this NAB Show.”