News / Media

SONYs NEW BRAVIA TVs OFFER SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE – STARTING WITH THE MOST VIVID HDTV PICTURE EVER

Sony Press Release Jan 9th, 2012

New Models – from entry-level to top-of-the-line – Keep Consumers Connected and Entertained

LAS VEGAS (CES BOOTH #14200), Jan. 9, 2012 – Sony is reaffirming its leadership in the fundamentals of home entertainment, announcing today its new BRAVIA® television lineup. This year Sony introduces three distinct series – the entry-level BX, the step-up EX, and the flagship HX. Each newly introduced model delivers the best picture quality available and offers a range of features to give consumers flexibility in choosing the right entertainment solution.

“Television consumers have told us the mix of formats and features often creates confusion,” said Brian Siegel, vice president for Sony’s television business. “But, we know that the best part of the TV has always been – and will always be – the picture quality. Sony is cutting through that noise to make TV buying easier: three model lines with very clear differences, each designed to deliver the most premium, best-in-class picture ever.”

Innovations in Picture Quality

The new BRAVIA models offer many of the unique-to-Sony technologies and features that consumers have come to expect from a Sony TV, complemented by new enhancements and additional innovations.

Select models incorporate Dynamic Edge LED with local dimming and deliver a brilliant Full HD (1080p) picture with increased brightness and outstanding contrast, particularly in best-in-class deep blacks. Sony’s exclusive OptiContrast™ panel elevates the picture to the front surface of the TV and creates a dark background for rich, vibrant, high contrast pictures even in well-lit rooms.

Picture quality is further enhanced with Sony’s X-Reality™ PRO and X-Reality digital video processors. The dual-chip X-Reality PRO optical engine optimizes video sources by utilizing a vast database of signal patterns and comparing incoming signals with ideal scenes to display unprecedented detail and astonishing color. The single-chip X-Reality engine separates incoming video into its constituent parts of outline, texture and color/contrast, and then applies image enhancements to deliver its outstanding picture. Finally, Sony’s newest version of Motionflow™ XR technology reduces blur caused by quick camera movements, enhancing sharpness and creating a smoother viewing experience for fast-paced sports and movie programming, as well as gaming.

The Lineup

Sony’s HX850 and HX750 debut in the first quarter of 2012 and the HX850 carries forward Sony’s distinctive Monolithic design incorporating Gorilla® Glass by Corning, allowing for thinner, lighter and stronger screen material. Complete with X-Reality PRO and Motionflow XR 960, the HX850 is a fully Internet-connected television with built-in 3D, delivering a premium viewing experience when on, and a stunning addition to home décor even when off.

Consumers wishing to step into Internet-connectivity and Edge LED backlighting need not sacrifice picture quality with Sony’s out-of-the-box Wi-Fi-ready (adapter included) EX640, debuting in the first quarter of the year. The EX series uses Motionflow XR 240 processing, delivering brilliant Full HD 1080p resolution, and integrates Clear Resolution Enhancer providing a vivid, clear, life-like picture.

Entry into the Sony line begins with the BX series, with the BX450 delivering a vivid Full HD 1080p picture with bright images and color. Clear Resolution Enhancer and Digital Noise Reduction provide clear, well-defined images with reduced picture noise.

Connected to a World of Streaming Entertainment

The connected features of the BRAVIA line let consumers discover more content through the Sony Portal, featuring one-touch access to the Sony Entertainment Network and its Video Unlimited and Music Unlimited streaming services, offering on-demand catalog of over 80,000 blockbuster movies and favorite TV shows, as well as a constantly expanding global catalog of more than 15 million music tracks1.

From the BRAVIA home screen, consumers also will find easy-to-navigate apps for Netflix®, Pandora®, HuluPlus™, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube™, Slacker® Internet Radio, Crackle and many more, as well as access to social platforms such as Facebook® and Twitter™. First to market, Sony delivers Yahoo! Broadcast Interactivity, with auto-content recognition, which allows viewers one-click access to TV apps with Internet content related to the programming being watched. This interactive content can include show trivia, viewer votes for fan favorites, purchases of items they see on TV, playing along with a favorite game show, or viewing of related videos and photos.

BRAVIA HX series models also come with Skype™ embedded. After connecting the Sony camera and microphone (model CMU-BR100, sold separately) users can enjoy free widescreen Skype-to-Skype video calls with friends and family from the comfort of their living rooms (subject to Skype terms and conditions). Users can also make voice calls while simultaneously watching TV.

The DNLA®-certified and Wireless LAN built-in HX models also easily connect to and share content from mobile devices and computers on the same home network, as well as allow consumers a wide variety of control options via Sony’s Media Remote™ and Remote Keyboard apps, for a comfortable, lean-back experience at home. Viewers can ‘throw’ a browsed website from a smartphone to the BRAVIA HDTV for easier viewing, and the app allows control of the web cursor with one thumb, tapping for selecting links, and pinching in and out to enlarge or shrink the viewable areas. The apps are available for download from both Android Market™ and iTunes® App Store, and function as a full remote control with keyboard, allowing easy online content search and playback.

Lastly, the Internet-connected BRAVIA HX TVs ensure consumers will never again have to wonder what song is playing during their favorite movie, TV program, or commercial. Sony’s Track ID® service powered by Gracenote analyzes any selected song playing on the TV, identifies it, and provides artist, album, and song information.

Posted by chantal Mon, 16 Apr 2012 16:22:00 GMT

SONY NAMED CONSUMER ELECTRONICS BRAND OF THE YEAR FOR SECOND STRAIGHT YEAR IN 2012 HARRIS POLL EQUITREND STUDY

Sony Press Release March 27th, 2012

SAN DIEGO, March 27, 2012 - For the second year in a row, Sony was awarded Consumer Electronics Brand of the Year by the annual Harris Poll EquiTrend® study, reflecting the survey results of over 35,000 U.S. consumers.

“We are very proud that the Harris Poll EquiTrend study continues to recognize the value of the Sony brand and the strong connection consumers have with the brand, our products and services,” said Phil Molyneux, Sony Electronics president and COO. “Sony’s ability to sustain such high brand recognition is a testament of our ability to offer many incredible innovationsfor every aspect of consumer entertainment.”

The Sony “Brand Ambassador” integrated marketing campaign launched in the U.S. last year is also strongly resonating with consumers and is being extended over the next few months. The campaign concept is centered on how Sony products enable amazing experiences that make consumers excited to show them off with their friends and family.

Posted by chantal Wed, 11 Apr 2012 16:16:00 GMT

High tech and high class. How luxury hotels are embracing technology

FEBRUARY 26, 2012BY KRISSY RUSHING



Turn up the music, turn down the lights, and start a movie – with the swipe of a finger. Here’s how high-tech room controls are making your next luxury hotel room classier than ever.



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http://www.digitaltrends.com/lifestyle/high-tech-and-high-class-how-luxury-hotels-are-embracing-technology/



Technology is an important part of the home, and what better way for hoteliers to make guests feel at home than to provide them with state-of-the-art technological amenities? We are talking about a deeper level of connectivity than a simple iPod dock, or a reliable Internet connection in your hotel room. The trend in luxury hotels across the globe is a simple touchscreenwith an easy-to-use graphic user interface that can control all your room’s amenities, such as lighting, air conditioning, TV, movies,and music. These systems also have the capability to handle communication with the front desk, housekeeping, concierge, and checkout. The modern hotel also offers staff facility-wide monitoring and management capabilities.

In fact, most of the major control companies are already entrenched in the hotel market, from Control4 to Crestron and Apple. Needless to say, hoteliers are jumping on the control bandwagon, which is the“wow” amenity of the moment that puts luxury hotels a cut above.

Inspiration from across the street

At the legendary Plaza in New York City, Manhattan’s iconic NYC Apple Store sits just across the street. When the Apple iPad came out, the hotel’s general manager, Shane Krige, walked across the street and purchased a few to put in the hotel lobby for guests to play with. Once the Plaza team saw everything the device was capable of, they put an iPad in every room.

Guests are greeted with a personalized welcome screen and a video from Krige explaining ICE, the Interactive Customer Experience.Once acquainted,you can control the room temperature or set lights at various levels from 100 percent to completely off. You can send messages to the front desk, request toothpaste from housekeeping, or ask the concierge for a restaurant reservation. Guests can arrange transportation or learn about the hotel, which just underwent a $450 million renovation. You can even check airlines and print boarding passes. A mobile ICE app in the works will be downloadable from the Plaza’s website, allowing you to do all these things before you even arrive.

The room that knows you’re there

Across the sea in Sydney Harbour, Australia, the Star Hotel & Casino offers complete guest control in its 174 luxury suites.Guests get on-screen control of the television, IBAHN Video-on-Demand system, lighting and temperature, a Philips Dynalite lighting control system, a wireless thermostat, Samsung LED 3D TV, Bose Cinemate music system, and more. A Control4 system acts as the backbone, allowing simple control with a straightforward interface.

The suites all feature a button labeled “Leaving Room” by the entry door that automatically places the suite in an energy-saving mode: With a single touch, it closes blinds, turns off lights and dials back air conditioners for energy savings. Should you forget to press this on your way out, after 30 minutes the system will sense there is no one and trigger the button automatically. Upon return your room will greet you by opening curtains, turning on the lights and displaying a welcome message. “Door Ajar” and “Privacy” notification pops up on the TV so you know you are safe and won’t be bothered by the hotel staff.

The greener side of high-tech

At the Montage Deer Valley mountain resort in Park City, Utah, 154 deluxe guest rooms and 66 suites are equipped with a similar Control4 Hospitality Solution that lets guests control lighting,temperature, the fireplace, entertainment, privacy settings and energy-saving features. Hotel guests can enjoy theses effortless tech amenities while the hotel industry – known for its oversize environmental footprint — can reduce negative impact.

Crestron is also doing interesting things in the hotel industry, and has installed control systems in some of the world’s top hotel chains, including Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental Hotels Group, Four Seasons, and Starwood Properties.

“Hotels are using more technology to enable a higher level of service,” says Crestron’s director of hospitality, Michael Stegmann. “The modern hotel standard presents new challenges to manage and integrate it all.”

Crestron’s Hospitality solution is up to the challenge, monitoring and managing centralized AV sources and lighting controls for all areas of a hotel from a PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android device and a local Crestron touch screen. As with Control4 systems, Crestron’s offers a number of ways to cut back on electricity consumption, from dimming systems to occupancy sensors and daylight harvesting. In-room amenities, including security, AV, and HVAC are standard. The environmentally minded Gateway Canyon Resort in Gateway, Colorado, for example, uses a Crestron system to control hotel-wide functions, including the Kiva Lodge, a 38-room hotel with fitness center, spa, café and pool area. The Crestron CP2E system controls AV and background music distribution throughout the lodge. Wall-mount touch screens and keypadsadorn the luxury space for walk-up, one-touch control.

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Posted by chantal Mon, 05 Mar 2012 17:10:00 GMT

CES 2012: Smart TVs Take Over at LG, Samsung, Sharp, Panasonic and Sony

Gesture control, smart search and social sharing are in store.



January 10, 2012 | by Grant Clauser



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http://www.electronichouse.com/article/smart_tvs_take_over_at_lg_samsung_sharp_panasonic_and_sony/ces_2012



While 3D still will play an important role in all the major TV makers’ 2012 plans, all of them also will be focusing strongly on smart TV features that go beyond just a screen full of apps for Netflix and Pandora.

At the opening “press day” at the Consumer Electronics Show, LG spoke a lot about the company’s new line of Google TVs. The new models will include the Google TV platform built into a CINEMA3D TV that uses LG’s FPR passive glasses technology. Also included will be a Magic Remote Qwerty—a remote that combines the features of LG’s Wii-like remote and a QWERTY keyboard to make use of social media and other web features easier. The system allows for multitasking, so users can tweet or browser the web while watching TV. LG’s Magic Remote also adds voice recognition this year to allow voice-controlled commands to access TV features.

Not all LG smart TVs will include Google TV. For the non-Google models, the company’s Netcast system will provide access to about 1,200 apps and include smart search functions to make it easier for users to search for content over a variety of apps at the same time.

Other CES news from LG included the expansion of the company’s FPR passive glasses CINEMA3D TV line, including a 4K 3D LED model, an 84-inch LED TV and a 55-inch OLED 3D TV that’s only 4mm thick.

Sony, one of the original product partners with Google TV, will also launch new products featuring that platform, including a line of TVs, a set-top-box and a connected Blu-ray player.

Sony also demonstrated a 4K Crystal LED TV that does not require any backlighting and two prototype glasses-free 3D TVs

Sharp’s biggest news was about their new largest screen size (an 80-inch LED 3D TV), but the company also has developed a new smart TV system called Smart Central. Smart Central combines the TVs content apps into a system that’s categorized into areas such as video, games, photos, social and more. Also included is Sharp’s Aquos Live feature that allows users to get help with their TVs live directly through the online connection. New feature called Beamzit lets you play content from wirelessly-connected PC—it sounds like a DLNA variation, which we’ll check on later at the show. Smart Central will be available on 60-inch and larger TVs

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Posted by chantal Fri, 13 Jan 2012 17:31:00 GMT

Readers' Choice Awards 2011: Gaming Consoles, Blu-ray Players, DVRs and Streaming Media Devices

By Ben Gottesman October 31, 2011



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http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2395518,00.asp#fbid=lJQUvDW-7lP

Apple doesn’t make Blu-ray players, but if it did, we have a feeling that OPPO Digital would still beat it in customer satisfaction. The small Silicon Valley-based manufacturer of Blu-ray disc players earns a Readers’ Choice award, having received the highest satisfaction scores of any company in all of our satisfaction surveys this year. Respondents rated overall satisfaction at 9.5 on a scale of 0 (worst) to 10 (best). That was actually the lowest of its major ratings: Overall reliability was a 9.7 and likelihood to recommend was 9.6. For comparison, the highest rated products in 2011 to date were Apple’s desktops and notebooks which rated 9.2 for overall satisfaction.

OPPO currently only has two products on the market, the $499 BDP-93 and the $999 BDP-95. In addition to being designed to meet the demands of audiophiles and videophiles, both provide access to a diverse selection of content including Blu-ray discs and Blu-ray 3D, as well as a variety of streaming sources, including Netflix, Blockbuster, VUDU, YouTube, Pandora, and more.

Not everyone is prepared to spend that much on a Blu-ray player. That’s why we also award a Readers’ Choice to Sony for its Blu-ray players. Sony, the company that first developed Blu-ray technology, makes an extensive line of players. Some are available for under $100 and many more list under $200. Respondents rated Sony’s overall satisfaction at 8.4 and reliability was an 8.8—both strong scores, but paltry compared to OPPO. In addition, Sony’s technical support was rated best among the Blu-ray manufacturers who had enough units needing support to be included in our evaluation, though at only a 6.6 on a scale of 0 to 10, there’s still plenty of room for improvement.

Fortunately, consumers have a lot of good choices when it comes to Blu-ray players. Four other brands also received overall satisfaction ratings over 8.0: LG, Panasonic, Samsung, and Pioneer. LG’s overall satisfaction rating of 8.3 helps it earn an Honorable Mention designation. In addition, LG, along with Vizio, had the highest rating for satisfaction of the Blu-ray players as a streaming media device at 8.0. In general, the streaming ratings for all of the manufacturers were very tightly grouped together. Respondents don’t seem to perceive large difference among brands, but they’re generally happy with their ability to stream content to their television through their Blu-ray player.

Of course, when it comes to Blu-ray players, the elephant in the room is Sony’s PlayStation 3 (PS3). Starting at $250, not only do you get the highest-rated gaming console, you also get an excellent Blu-ray player. Even though we asked respondents to only tell us about their standalone player, many went ahead and rated their PlayStation as a Blu-ray player and actually gave it higher marks for satisfaction and reliability than Sony’s standalone players or anyone else’s players except OPPO. Based on its satisfaction ratings, we recommend you take a close look at the PlayStation before you purchase a standalone Blu-ray player.

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Posted by chantal Wed, 16 Nov 2011 17:15:00 GMT

New Product Release - Sony Tablet

Tailored to your hands. Entertaining to your eyes.

Control the living room

Whether it’s your TV, Blu-ray Disc player, stereo or cable box, control everything right from your tablet. Best of all, the built-in universal remote controls not only Sony products but lots of other brands, too. Share, view and transfer personal video, photos and music to your DLNA compatible PC, TV or speakers.

Unlimited entertainment

Get entertainment at your fingertips with Sony Entertainment Network. Use Video Unlimited to access tons of hit movies to rent or own or tap into millions of songs from every major music label with Music Unlimited. Simply sync to the cloud and enjoy music you love wherever you are1. Utilize the Crackle app to view free full-length Hollywood movies and TV series on demand.

Customize with Android Market

With access to the Android Market, you can browse through thousands of useful, time-saving and entertaining apps. There’s also instant access to Google™ mobile services and applications including 3D maps and easy web search with Google Voice Search. Download what you want and make your tablet truly yours.

Get your game on

Have even more fun on the go playing action-packed games you know and love from the original PlayStation available on PS Certified devices.

Posted by chantal Mon, 07 Nov 2011 17:28:00 GMT

Sony Unveils 4K Home Projector, ES AV Receivers

Products designed to differentiate CEDIA channel



By Jeff O’Heir, September 8th 2011



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http://www.customretailer.net/article/sony-unveils-4k-home-projector-es-av-receivers-25022563/1

Sony unveiled its first 4K home projector at CEDIA Expo, along with two new AV receivers from its high-end ES line, a Personal 3D Viewer and a wireless network speaker.

Mike Fasulo , Sony Electronics executive vice president of sales, said the overriding theme of the new products was “quality and innovation,” as well as a solid commitment to specialty dealers and custom installers. The products unveiled at Expo will all have limited distribution. “Only the CEDIA channel can represent products of such high quality,” he said.

One product that received extra attention from Sony execs was the VPL-VW1000ES 4K home theater projector. A firm price has not been established, although some insiders said the unit, scheduled for a December release, would be under $25,000.

The VPL-VW1000ES features 2,000 lumens of brightness, nearly twice the output of Sony’s previous Sony home theater projectors, making it suitable for screen sizes up to 200 inches, said Mike Abary , senior vice president of Sony’s Home Division. The unit uses a new SXRD 4K panel, which is designed to produce deep black levels, and can achieve an 1,000,000:1 dynamic contrast. The VW1000ES also features a 4K upscaler that’s designed to enhance SD or HD, 2D or 3D content, allowing viewers to see 4K playback from their existing media libraries. It can also display Full HD 3D movies, as well as 2D and 3D anamorphic films.

Another theme represented in some of the products was networking. The two ES AV receivers feature a new activity-based user interface that includes a set-up wizard. The STR-DA5700ES ($1,999) and STR-DA3700ES ($1,099) use Faroujda 1080p upscaling and include a variety of networking options, including built-in apps for iOS and Android devices. The receivers, due in November, are also Sony’s first to offer a full range of BRAVIA Internet video and audio streaming services, including options from Sony Entertainment Network, Netflix, YouTube and Pandora.



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Posted by chantal Fri, 23 Sep 2011 16:14:00 GMT

Sony reveals its Personal 3D Viewer

3D for the individual enthusiast



By Chris Martin Wed Aug 31 2011, 13:25



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http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2105586/sony-reveals-personal-3d-viewer



JAPANESE ELECTRONICS GIANT Sony has announced its HMZ-T1, or Personal 3D Viewer, which will tip up in November. The headset, which could be considered an updated version of the View-Master G from the 1960s, uses dual 0.7-inch HD OLED panels - one for each eye - with 1280x720 resolution, which Sony says is equivalent to watching a 750in theatre screen.

Sony said, “The device adopts the ‘Dual Panel 3D Method’ which consists of separate panels for the left and right eye in order to display independent HD picture quality to each eye, which realize 3D vision.”

Because the device uses a separate screen for each eye, the issue of crosstalk is completely eliminated and Sony touts viewing angles of 45 degrees. The Personal 3D Viewer sits on the head and includes 5.1 virtual surround sound. The headset has various buttons so the user can control the volume and do normal things like play and pause the video.

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Posted by chantal Thu, 15 Sep 2011 16:12:00 GMT

Eyes on with Sony's PlayStation 3D Monitor

3D for the dorm room. Move aside, beer pong.



BY TIMOTHY J. SEPPALAPOSTED JUNE 9, 2011



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http://www.soundandvisionmag.com/article/eyes-sonys-playstation-3d-monitor



One of the key directives brought up during Sony’s media conference at the Electronics Entertainment Expo this year was the company’s desire to drive home their commitment to 3D gaming. They’ve focused on dismantling one of the biggest roadblocks in the way of mass consumer adoption: the price of the TVs themselves.

Sony’s answer: A new PlayStation-branded 24” monitor, which will debut later this year bundled with Resistance 3, an HDMI cable, and a set of active shutter glasses, all for $500.

In addition to functioning as a traditional stereoscopic display, it performs a cool trick, generating two separate images instead of the stereo pair. This allows two players to play split-screen games without, well, splitting the screen. Each player dons a pair of Sony’s newly price-dropped active shutter glasses ($69). Every other frame feeds an individual image to one of the viewers. The effect is totally convincing, too.

In addition to being on display at Sony’s booth, the new set was shown in a faux dorm-room setup at the company’s media event on Monday night. An array of disposable red cups, arranged in a familiar triangle shape on a coffee table, along with a pile of empty pizza boxes made it clear just who this set is being marketed toward.

I only was able to see canned demo material, with footage of Motorstorm: Apocalypse and WipEout HD, but what I saw looked good. Sony’s lower-end TVs have never been anything worth talking about, but this didn’t have any picture noise that I could see and handled motion incredibly well without noticeable smearing .

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Posted by chantal Wed, 03 Aug 2011 16:08:00 GMT

3D TV: Passive 3D vs. Active 3D: The Format War of 2011?

By Chris Boylan

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http://www.bigpicturebigsound.com/3D-TV-Passive-3D-vs-Active-3D-The-Format-War-of-2011.shtml

At the year’s Consumer Electronics Show and in the weeks that have followed, a line in the sand has been drawn around two different approaches to 3D TV. In one camp, we have Panasonic, Samsung and Sony, touting the benefits of Full HD 3D TV with their active 3D glasses that deliver full high definition (1080p) images to each eye. In the other we have VIZIO and LG waxing poetic on the benefits of a passive 3D TV solution which, though it may sacrifice detail, offers other benefits such as less flicker and lighter, less expensive 3D glasses. Which is better? This is not a simple question to answer. But which technology is a better choice for the consumer depends on preferences and intended use for 3D in the home. To make an informed decision, it is helpful to understand how both technologies work.

It’s All an Illusion

With either the passive or active approach to 3D TV, the intent is to fool your brain into thinking it is seeing a three dimensional image from a two dimensional screen. The way this is done is based on the concept of stereoscopy: because our eyes are positioned a few inches apart, we see a slightly different image with our left eye and with our right, and this difference is interpreted by our brain as depth. If an image is far away, the left and right eye images are pretty similar, but if it is close, the left and right eye images are quite different. If you can present the left and right eye with each “half” of a stereoscopic image, then our brains will see the illusion of depth. But how you get there with active vs. passive technology is a bit different.

Details R Us

With active 3D, you have a TV that delivers images at 120 frames per second, alternating between a left eye image and a right eye image. An active 3D TV set uses the full resolution of the imaging system (LCD panel, plasma panel or a projector’s imaging engine) for each eye, which is typically full high definition 1080p: 1920 pixels wide by 1080 pixels high. There are some lower resolution active solutions such as 3D-capable 720p plasma panels and 720p DLP projectors, but we’ll ignore these for now.

Because the active panel presents both the left eye and right eye images on screen in rapid succession, the naked eye sees a blurry image with no 3D effect. However, if you put on a pair of active shutter 3D glasses, the glasses synchronize themselves to the 3D TV, allowing your left eye to see only the left eye frame, and the right eye to see only the right eye frame. The glasses employ an electronic shutter system that blacks out the left eye image when the right eye image is on screen, and vice versa. Your brain then processes these discrete left eye/right eye images as 3D to form the illusion of depth.

The benefits to active 3D are that you can see the full detail of the image in both eyes. This presents a realistic and high quality 3D effect for most viewers. The drawbacks are that these active 3D glasses are fairly expensive to manufacturer, hence more expensive for the consumer – typically selling from $100 to $200 per pair. Want to have a 3D movie night or Super Bowl party for your friends? Expect to spend as much on the glasses as you did on the TV, if not more. The additional drawback of active 3D is that the electronics in the glasses tend to make them rather bulky and heavy, which can lead to discomfort over extended viewing periods. Manufacturers are working to improve this however, with Samsung’s newest active shutter 3D glasses weighing in at under one ounce.

Bring the Movie Theater Home

Passive 3D TVs work a little bit differently, more like 3D movie theaters. A passive 3D TV uses a technique call circular polarization to create discrete left and right eye images by polarizing the left and right eye image’s light output in different directions. Again, as with active 3D, a passive 3D TV in 3D mode will look blurry to the naked eye, as you are seeing the left and right eye images on screen at the same time. But a pair of passive 3D glasses will filter the light properly so that the left and right eyes will see their respective images and your brain will create a 3D image from the result. Those same light 3D glasses you get at most 3D theaters will work with most passive 3D TVs.

With passive 3D projection systems, you can still get the full resolution of the projector on screen for each eye, but you actually need a separate projection engine – a separate projector with its own lens – for the left and right eyes, which can get expensive and can be tricky to align precisely. Some 3D projectors actually include dual projection engines and lenses into a single chassis, an elegant, though normally expensive, solution.

With flat panel 3D TVs, the way the passive 3D technique is accomplished is via a polarizing filter built into the screen. These filters polarize each alternating line of the image for the left and right eyes. The drawback here is that you are then splitting the panel’s resolution or detail in half by allocating half of the pixels to the left eye and half to the right eye. This is compounded when you view a side-by-side (SBS) 3D source as these images have already lost half their detail in transmission so you effectively end up with 1/4 of the full resolution.

Also, the vertical range or viewing axis of a passive 3D TV system tends to be much more restrictive than an active system. If you try to watch it from too low or too high, the 3D effect collapses and you will see a doubled image. On the other hand, horizontal viewing axis of a passive 3D system is fairly wide so it can be a good choice for “event viewing,” e.g., watching a 3D sporting event in a sports bar. One benefit of a passive 3D system is that the light transmission tends to be higher, leading to a brighter image compared to active 3D. Another benefit is that the passive 3D glasses can be much less expensive, lighter and more comfortable as they contain no active shutter system or electronic processing.

An additional advantage of passive 3D systems is that, instead of being limited to a refresh rate of 120 Hz (120 frames per second), with the left and right eye seeing images at 60 Hz each, a passive 3D TV can be run at 240 Hz or more, enjoying the benefits of reduced blur and improved motion resolution even in 3D mode. Passive 3D sets can also potentially employ native cinema modes for movies (a display rate that is a multiple of a film’s 24 frame/second rate) which can present a more film-like image to the viewer, free from an effect known as “judder” where motion can be jerky and uneven and free from artificial-looking motion smoothing techniques that can make movies look more like video. Active sets could be enhanced for these feaures in the future, but currently all active 3D TVs available in the U.S. are based around a 120 Hz (60 Hz to each eye) delivery system when in 3D mode.

Manufacturers Weigh In

Panasonic, a strong proponent of active 3D technology, began showing their full HD 3D TV solution as early as 2008 at the CEATEC show in Japan, and introduced the first full HD 3D TVs to the public in March of last year. When we spoke with their CTO Eisuke Tsuyuzaki at CES, he told us he was disappointed that some manufacturers were switching to a passive solution as it represented a “large step down in picture quality, which is bad for the customer, and bad for the 3D TV market.” Apparently Sony and Samsung agree as they too remain committed to active 3D TV solutions.

Meanwhile LG’s Tim Alessi, director of new product development for LG Electronics says that their own private market research has shown that consumers prefer a passive 3D TV solution 3:1 after seeing both types in action. At LG’s Cinema 3D launch event last month, Tim told us, “We intend to release both active and passive 3D TV systems this year, but in 2012, we expect to offer only the Cinema 3D (passive) models.” VIZIO will be following the same path but more aggressively as they are not releasing any new active 3D TV models this year, focusing instead only on passive 3D TV solutions.

Format War or Consumer Choice?

Although we see this passive vs. active 3D TV division as a kind of format war, the fact is that both approaches to 3D are valid, and neither truly excludes the other. The sources that work best with 3D TV today, namely Blu-ray 3D players and 3D-capable cable and satellite set-top boxes, work equally well with either system. And the 3D movies you may buy or rent on Blu-ray 3D Disc or on streaming services such as VUDU also work with either system.

So if you’re in the market for a 3D-enabled TV, your best bet would be to take a look at both types, read the reviews and decide which format is best for you: do you need the highest possible detail or do you want the flexibility of using inexpensive passive 3D glasses? The good news is that both types of 3D TVs also work perfectly well in 2D mode at full resolution. So for the vast majority of content that is not yet available in 3D, you’ll get to see every last detail without having to wear any glasses.

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Posted by chantal Mon, 11 Apr 2011 16:21:00 GMT