By Nitesh Dowlath, 4 comments
The Panasonic VT25 - let the 3D phenomenon begin. At this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the main theme was all things in 3 Dimensions, with many of the major TV Screen brands announcing their range of 3D-compatible HDTVs. Panasonic though, made the most noise and caught enough attention.
Panasonic will be the first to launch their version of 3D screens, aiming to hit US markets around April, and soon after for Europe, and then (surprise surprise) later on in the year for Africa. The screen comes in sizes ranging from 54"-65", and truly brings cinema to the home, giving similar effects to the IMAX 3D (albeit on a smaller scale for now).
As with 3D cinema, watching 3D requires special glasses. However, this is where comparisons end. The VT25 uses active shutter technology as opposed to standard polarized 3D glasses, which work by closing off each eye alternately many times per second. The effect is that the brain retains that image for a fraction of a second, and, combined with the image from the opposite eye, 3D imagery is created. Shutter glasses do require power, and that means recharging. Hopefully Panasonic supplies glasses with decent life, it would be quite a shame to recharge halfway through Ice Age 3D. Using shutters, full 1080p HD resolution is maintained for EACH EYE, making the experience just that much more immersive.
That brings us to a small issue. While brands like Toshiba and Samsung have announced that their sets will feature 2D - 3D conversion, Panasonic is having none of it. To experience 3D, you will need all the gear: the TV with glasses, a 3D compatible Blu-ray Player and 3D Blu-ray movie. Patterns of 3 seem to be the idea over here.
Apart from Sony, Panasonic is the only manufacturer that will supply a pair of glasses with their TV sets, which is by no means enough, and there's no telling how much another pair will cost. I wouldn't read too much into this though, with the rate that the technology is progressing, I wouldn't be surprised that soon we will be able to watch 3D without glasses, now wouldn't that be something?
Panasonic has a reputation of delivering the blackest blacks in the business. Not content with that, the company has one-upped itself, introducing a feature called Infinite Black, which aims to deliver great contrasts even in bright conditions.
All things said and done, Panasonic's coup de grace with the VT25 is not 3D. Oh no. Panasonic is looking to quieten plasma critics by dispelling fears about plasma burn-out, and they do that by giving all of their Full HD 3D models a panel life of up to 100,000 hours. Taking an average viewing time of 8 hours a day, that equates to roughly 30 years!
Being an owner of a 3D monitor myself, and having experienced 3D on a small screen, having full HD in each eye is something I cannot wait to experience. 2009 Was all about 3D in the cinema, and 2010 is all about bringing it home. Panasonic has done a great job in getting the attention on them early on.
The CES Las Vegas was not just about 3D screens, there were a few other gems at the show ranging from home energy monitoring to Alienware's 11" gaming laptop. More on them and others in the next post.