The biggest trend at the recent Consumer Electronics Show was 3D TV. It was everywhere and the success of the movie Avatar in 3D put the technology in the forefront. So I wandered the show trying to learn about 3D TV technology. Most vendors had 3D televisions that required glasses (just like in the movies) for viewing. A few, such as RCA, are introducing 3D TVs for the naked eye. Their demo, however, didn’t look that great and gave me a headache.
So I walked away thinking that the lead in 3D was anyone’s game until I stumbled across an all-black booth fashioned with a brand I had never heard of, Cell TV. At the booth, there was a line behind a velvet rope where only a few lucky souls at a time were allowed entrance to an unknown demo … of course I got in line.
Ushered inside ten at a time, we were instructed to don our 3D glasses for the demo. The first thing I learned is that Cell TV is actually a brand name for Toshiba … a company I don’t usually associate with TV breakthroughs. Next, however, I learned that Toshiba has packed these TVs with some serious graphics processing power. They have changed the display from a simple TV screen to a powerful 3D rendering engine.
What this means is that the Cell TV renders beautiful scenes using any of the current competing 3D technology (including MPEG4-MVC and RealD) but what sets this product apart is its ability to take standard 2D content and convert it to 3D on the fly. The graphics power in the Cell TV takes 2D images, renders them into a very realistic 3D image and then displays the scene on the screen. I watched the TV toggle between 2D and 3D modes and was blown away. One caveat: the demo did not include any live sporting events – the main thing that TechDadCentral really cares about. However, this shortcoming mercifully prevented me from watching the Pats lose by 19 points in 3D.
The Cell TV is due out later this year and when asked about price, all I got was a blank stare from the booth staff. It must be one of those, “If you have to ask …” luxuries.
Tomorrow, I’ll discuss the other new TV trends I saw … not quite as “in your face” as 3D, but important nonetheless.