Imagine watching the latest Hollywood blockbuster at home in full 3D without cumbersome glasses. Or picture a cooking channel with food so vivid you feel you could almost eat it, or being able to seamlessly watch several live programmes on one TV screen while having your latest Facebook updates scroll below. Taking 3D technology from the silver screen to the living room is what electronics makers and media companies are banking on becoming the next big thing after the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which finished yesterday.
The TV makers Sony, LG Electronics, Panasonic, Vizio and Samsung Electronics demonstrated several 3D TV product lines at the trade show. Cable networks such as HDNet, ESPN and Discovery have all committed to broadcasting in 3D this year, with a dedicated 3D channel expected to be launched by the end of the year. Intel, the world's largest microchip maker, said it would begin making products to bring the internet on to TV screens and provide the computing power needed to create 3D content for the home.
"We expect 3D to move from the [Hollywood] studio to the home," Paul Otellini, the chief executive of Intel, said in a keynote presentation on Thursday. Building on the success of the science fiction epic Avatar, 3D TVs are being regarded as an industry saviour after a year where the consumer electronics industry revenues rose only 0.3 per cent to US$165.3 billion (Dh607.16bn), the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) said. Electronics sales decreased by 7.8 per cent, the CEA said.
"This really will be the next big thing," said Steve Koenig, the director of industry analysis at the CEA. "All the stakeholders in the industry, from the device manufacturers to the content producers and the sales channel, everyone is on board to make this happen." But amid all the publicity, analysts are not certain whether 3D TVs will be able to have an immediate effect this year. James McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester Research, said he expected half of the US population to own 3D TVs in 10 years, about the same amount of time it took for high-definition TVs to be adopted in the US.
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