Attendees at the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) jammed the Texas Instruments (TI) booth yesterday to glimpse the state of the art in 3D video technology.
Using its highly publicized digital light processing (DLP) chips, TI demonstrated 3D television to hundreds of booth visitors who donned special eyeglasses. Attendees watched clips from such movies as Beowulf, Meet the Robinsons and The Nightmare Before Christmas, as well as 3D demonstrations of video games such as Madden Football.
The electronics giant said its DLP chips represent a step forward for 3D video because of their fast switching speeds. Unlike competing technologies, which reportedly measure their switching speeds in milliseconds, DLP features switching speeds in the microseconds, TI engineers said.
“It’s a couple of orders of magnitude faster than LCD or plasma,” says Ken Bell, TI’s product development manager for DLP TV.
The higher speed enables TI to preserve the idea of a so-called “left eye camera” and “right eye camera,” thus eliminating the phenomenon of so-called cross talk between the viewer’s eyes. Bell says DLPs flash an image to the left eye, then flash a black screen to the left eye while flashing a separate image to the right eye.
“Because we flash the images so fast, we eliminate the cross talk,” he says.
The fast switching speeds thus also enable the concept of “his and hers” TV. TI demonstrated that concept by allowing attendees to flick a switch on their 3D glasses and simultaneously view separate images. As a result, two side-by-side users were able to see completely different images while watching the same television at the same time.
TI’s 3D technology has been available to the market since early 2007 in Samsung and Mitsubishi television products.
Right now, however, 3D content is said to be scarce.
“The next part of this that needs to happen is the content providers have to see the displays and get excited,” Bell says. “It’s starting to happen, though. There’s a huge renewed interest in Hollywood in creating 3D content.”