Thursday, April 03, 2008

EXCLUSIVE: Watch 3D Movies On A Samsung? YES. NAB 2008 Demo Coming Up!

Are you ready for this? I have been speaking with Ethan and Manuel over at TDVision and they are set to bring 3D into the home starting at the NAB 2008 show. Check them out at booth C9042 in the central hall.

How the heck are they going to do this? Well it is quite ingenious actually and the light went off for me immediately once they took me on a stroll of their technology. Let's start with what they are actually going to show you at NAB:

1. TDVision will start by showing you many different movies and content titles in 2D. It will be on Blu-ray and will be played in a Playstation 3 unit. Pretty common setup for Blu-ray today right? You bet - the PS3's Blu-ray is one of the better choices on the market right now. Those titles that they will be playing include many blockbusters including "Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith" (provided by In-Three). This whole step is to show you that this new technology is backwards compatible with todays 2D technology - it simply will playback in 2D (Blu-rays have enough space to hold the info for many movie formats). Note that the Blu-ray disks being used here are encoded with 3D information, but that extra 3D code is ignored in favor of the 2D in the PS3.

2. They will then take that same Blu-ray disk out of the PS3 and pop it into their PC's Blu-ray drive. This PC will mimic the ability of future standalone 3D players to come.

3. The PC is hooked up two different devices for viewing:
- A 50" Samsung DLP HDTV : Note that these were recently on sale for less than $1000.
- TDVision's TDVisor which brings up the equivalent of a 72" screen @ 10' distance.

4. Everyone who is watching the Samsung dons their 3D polarized active glasses.

5. BINGO. "Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith" is popping out at you. On home theater equipment!

6. TDVision will also have 3D cameras hooked up so that you can see LIVE 3D streaming into the Samsung and TDVisors! Ever wanted to know how your butt looks in your jeans in 3D? Now you know.


The secret to all of this technological wizardry is quite simple actually: A new Codec (called the TDVCodec) for home electronics chips that are compatible. Codec stands for Coder / Decoder and it is the programming on a chip that takes the data from a Blu-ray disk (or other source) and presents it to a screen for viewing. Your equipment has these now. They decode the Blu-ray data to present your movies. TDVision has created a codec that can be automatically updated on your equipment so that you can view 3D.

The flip side of things is the disk itself. Will 3D encoded Blu-ray disks play on 2D equipment? YES. The 2D chips will simply ignore the extra 3D code and present just what it understands. There is no conversions that take place here - it just ignores the extra code - very elegant. THAT is the inherit beauty of the technology. Backwards compatibility. TDVision is working with all the major studios in making this happen - it is just a matter of time.

Consumers should not notice a difference in the price of Blu-ray disks when they buy a 3D enabled version vs. a 2D. Similarly, no new chip for your home electronics should need to be purchased - most are flash upgradeable (the PS3 is for sure!) and so therefore no expense is incurred for this either! Again, awesome news for consumers. TDVision makes their money from fees from the studios who license their TDVCodec technology. On a single disk, the difference in overhead to the studios is negligible.

You will be able to watch more than just 3D movies and Blu-ray content! 3D TV is on its way - Mark Cuban just broadcast a 3D NBA game via satellite to one of his theaters. The same can obviously be done for home satellite and cable systems. You will see 3D live events taking place first, then an increase in 3D TV recorded programming.

TDVision is not the only game in town that are showing off their wares. Another strong player is Sensio. Keep an eye on their offerings too - they even sell the compatible 3D movies on their website ("Jaws 3D", "The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl", etc.). Look for wider distribution of studio 3D releases soon as more and more 3D box office successes become available: "Beowulf", "U2 3D", "Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour", etc.

I will be updating you on all relevant 3D technology as it becomes available. For a list of all upcoming 3D movies check out the best list on the Net.

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Jim Dorey
jim (at) marketsaw (dot) com

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