HCC News Team
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
The future of television has gone on view at CEATEC, Japan’s top AV show.
Within the halls of the Makuhari Messe convention center, in Chiba City, the world’s biggest TV brands have unveiled a (surprisingly) unified vision of tomorrow’s TV tech, giving a tantalizing glimpse at the futuristic treats we have in store.
And it’s clear that the majority don’t see hi-def 3D as a flash in the pan...
Both Sony and Panasonic are jostling for prime position on the 3D sofa, with the latter looking to secure an early lead when it comes to launching screens.
3D will be 'affordable'
Panasonic's CEATEC booth features the first 50inch plasma panel fully-compatible with the upcoming 3D Blu-ray standard. Unlike existing 3D technology, this can deliver 1080p resolution to each eye.
The prototype utilizes new phosphor technology for ‘real deep black and unsaturated brightness,’ and employ proprietary 3D drive technology circuitry to minimize crosstalk between alternating images. While Panasonic wouldn’t be drawn on prices for the new screen, it stressed that the price premium for 3D would not be excessive, and that models should be 'affordable'. Panasonic’s Mayuki Kozuka explained: ‘We are targeting volume so [the technology] wouldn't be that expensive.’
Panasonic President Fumio Ohtsubo used his opening keynote speech to stress that ‘Panasonic will continue to be at the leading edge for the industry’, as well as emphasising his company’s focus on ecology: ‘The 21st century needs a great revolution to realise sustainable growth and break our dependence on oil. Eco will be the centre of all our activities. We will implement business practices that minimise environmental impact.’
The Sony vision
Sony has eight 3D prototype screens on display at CEATEC, vaguely promising commercial introductions sometime 2010. Sony’s pro-division also unveiled a new 240frame/sec high frame rate single lens 3D camera, which promises to bring original 3D programme creation within the grasp of more TV producers, as well as the new SRX-R220 4K digital cinema projector, which incorporates RealD's 3D digital cinema system.
New OLED screens were notable by their absence at the show. Although Sony displayed a prototype 2.5inch flexible OLED screen with 0.2mm thinness that incorporates a flexible organic thin film transistor to drive the display. This Flex OLED screen has a resolution of 160x120 pixels and could be used for personal media players or e-paper applications.
Introducing Cell TV
In many ways, the most interesting next-generation TV at CEATEC is being touted by Toshiba. Its Cell TV, the 50-inch Cell Regza 55X1, goes on sale in December with a launch price of around a million yen. At the heart of the screen is a version of the Cell chip popularized by the PS3. Co-developed with IBM and Sony, it’s able to display and record eight hi-def channels simultaneously.
Toshiba says: ‘The CELL Platform achieves an arithmetic processing capability approximately 143 times that of our current top-of-the-line REGZA TV, allowing it to support unrivaled image-enhancing capabilities.’
With 3TB of storage onboard, there’s plenty of room for all that time-shifted TV. The set itself has a dynamic contrast ratio of 5,000,000:1, and has an LED backlight with local dimming (this divides the images into 512 areas for precise control). The set also promises ‘Self-congruency’, which Toshiba describes as ‘a dedicated process that improves image quality at the edge of the picture.’
Interestingly enough, the screen also has an advanced upscaler for making the most of internet-delivered video. An evolution on the XDE image processing tech seen in its high-end DVD line, this promises to make even YouTube look respectable.
The brand also demonstrated a 3D version of the cell TV platform, running on a 4K (3,840 x 2,160) panel.