Sky develops 3D HDTV service for the masses

HDTV, Home cinema

3d-tv.jpgSky has tried, tested and succeeded in developing a 3D HDTV system for the consumer home. They’re able to use the existing service infrastructure but unlike the Philip’s concept 3D screen, it does require viewers to use polarized glasses.

The satellite broadcasters used the system on episodes of Gladiators which were recorded with sets of camera pairs used to shoot the visuals for the right and left eyes between them. So far, there are no official plans to bring the service to the mass market but with Hollywood shooting more and more big budget features in 3D, it’s obviously a serious option.

One difficulty is that, at the moment, the TVs required to experience the effect would cost a fairly prohibitive £2,000 and another, for my money, would be the concern that perhaps it’s just not worth it. Are transmissions in 3D really that much better?

I was totally blown away with 3D when it first broke from the chains of the red/green glasses. It does look fantastic, but the effect is a bit of a novelty and, for me, it’s already wearing thin. I don’t think any filmmakers have used it to any powerful dramatic effect or in a way that has helped to tell a story. Sky themselves have also found that less high impact, more subtle uses of their 3D recordings have been more successful. Perhaps it’s just not worthwhile.

(via Sky News)

Related posts: First digital IMAX cinemas launched in Europe | more 3D and digital cinemas from Odeon

Daniel Sung
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  • Thoughts on the Sky 3D Test.
    I don’t know why Sky are making such a big deal about their 3D HD TV test.
    The BBC transmitted live Rugby from Edinburgh to Sheperton Studios in London in 3DHD. The Koreans did something similar in 2006 while in the USA they have done two 3DHD tests last year. More recently, a live interview was transmitted to a technical trade show (IBC) across the Atlantic in 3DHD. Meanwhile the Japanese and Brazilians have regular 3DHD transmissions. All in all Sky are new to 3D technology and you can see that in the fact they used the 3D mirror camera system, which other production company’s have abandoned as it is prone to unwanted movement between cameras. Also, the fact that one camera is reflected off a mirror and the other has to film through a semi-silvered mirror gives different light levels to each camera. To make matters worse, one image is reversed making monitoring what you are filming in 3D, guesswork.

    Furthermore, (and you can’t blame Sky for this) allowing the 3D glasses shown in the press to be red/blue. This dates back to the 1960 and is simply wrong. The polarized glasses used in Sky’s test are similar looking to sunglasses and give you a full colour 3D experience.

    Sky used a Hyundai 3D Screen where every horizontal line is polarized left and right. This causes problems if you stand or sit as the change in parallax causes the images to switch eyes. Sky say they have no immediate plans for a full time 3D Channel.

    Meanwhile, 3D Experience ltd, a 3D Production & research Company in the UK, have been demonstrating 3DHD throughout 2008, are building alliances with manufacturers and broadcasters, towards “go3dhd”, a fulltime 3DHD channel, with regular transmissions planned in the latter part of 2009.

  • I’d have to agree with you and say that at the moment I just don’t think its worth it. I work in the TV/Film industry and as you say at the cinema of big IMAX screens it does create an amazing experience (although I’m still not sure its right for everything). However at home on TV screens it just doesn’t seem to work as well, for the best content where everything seems to be contained within the TV and its like the TV is a window you are looking through, its pretty good, but for most content especially stuff that tries to be in front of the screen it just looks crap. Couple that with the fact that you have a lower quality image even when its working at is best and I’d rather stick with the higher quality 2D image myself. I’m sure that over the next few years they’ll improve the technology, but at the moment I think its just a pointless gimmick.

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