3DTV Format War Looming

3dtv format-war

3dtv format-war

Back on 3rd Jan we wrote a long blog post about the possibility of a 3D TV format war. It seems that the likelihood of a format war took several steps closer today with the news that LG is in talks to supply its new FPR passive 3DTV screens (which we wrote about in December) to Sony according to a Reuters report.

From what I understand, Sony doesn’t actually manufacture its own screens, but buys them from the likes of Samsung. In fact, we wrote earlier that Sony had started to source some panels from LG again after a six-year switch to Samsung.

Of course, Samsung are the current dominant player in the 3DTV market, with around a 60% market share due to their “active shutter” display technology requiring the use of the heavier, more expensive glasses that require batteries. Panasonic and Sony also offer active-shutter 3DTV’s and LG do too, although they’ve said they’ll be migrating to the new FPR panels this year. LG’s new system is based on the polarisation of light and uses the lighter, cheaper glasses as worn in the cinema to watch 3D films.

While LG are talking up their new FPR passive displays, having scented that the market isn’t warming to the active-shutter version of 3D due to the bulk and heaviness of the glasses as well as crosstalk and flickering on some displays, Samsung are doing their best to downplay the passive technology.

Some of the recent spats between the top two TV manufacturers include a Samsung executive saying in a news conference that LG’s engineers were, “stupid” and, separately, that LG’s new FPR technology was outdated and based on 1935 technology. LG fanned the flames by saying that its new tech was the second generation of 3DTV and was the direction the market was heading in.

Interestingly, there are significant drawbacks to the new 3D TV passive technology, such as it not being able to do full HD (1080p), viewing angle issues and the fact that you can’t turn the 3D function off! Here’s a video review from CES 2011…

So it does seem like neither format provides a complete solution and they’re going to be fighting it out for a while!

What does this impending format war mean to you? Please leave your thoughts. I’ll close the comment box in a few days…

About Guy Wilson

Guy Wilson started writing for the 3DTVReviewer blog in early 2010. Guy is passionate about all forms of 3D tech and can be contacted at guy@3dtvreviewer.co.uk
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9 Responses to 3DTV Format War Looming

  1. Donald Bradfield says:

    I would love to buy a 3DTV and cannot wait for my present TV to show signs of going on the blink. The only thing is that with all this new technology FPR etc, I am comletely
    at loss as what to buy. how long will it be before FPR is in the shops for us to view?
    Glasses at£100 a pair when 4 pair are required is a bit costly.

  2. efex says:

    It`s will take the better electronics company to say we will give our 3D technology concept away for free for the greater good of the consumers, the only other alternative is for 3D to die out in the middle of 2012 (as the BBC put it) and all their investments will be wasted. If you think about it 90% of 3D films is animation will you really miss it? So they have to act fast before we all say well …er….no.

  3. 3DTV Admin says:

    I think FPR is only in prototype at the moment, Donald. Although, having said that, LG used a passive display to showcase 3D with Sky a year ago when they first showed Premier League football in pubs. I’m not sure what the difference is between those passive screens and the new FPR ones.

  4. Mareile says:

    Many thanks for finding the time to explain the terminlogy for the newcomers!

  5. Heigo says:

    But You forgot Philips, who have like is LG, two different lineup – passive glasses 3D – Easy 3D and active glasses 3D – Max 3D

  6. 3DTV Admin says:

    Yes, Philips only confuse matters more! :)

  7. lgblog says:

    Good to see the debate underway! Competition only makes the market stronger.

    Few things to clear up – our FPR screens, i believe, are lined up for an April launch (including the LW6500). They come with 7 pairs of glasses in the box, so great for family viewing (not to mention that many of the glasses in the cinema are compatible with our cinema screens). Also, although they cannot deliver full 1080p to each eye individually, each eye is receiving 540p and our research shows that people cannot notice the quality difference. In fact our research shows many prefer it, especially due to lack of crosstalk (the LW6500 has received a flicker free qualification from Intertek and TUV – the first 3D TV to receive this recognition).

    We are still offering active 3DTVs, giving the option to our customers. But our belief, and subsequent emphasis is on Cinema 3D.

  8. 3DTV Admin says:

    Thanks for the information, Joe.

  9. Ales says:

    I can just say, that we just Start with Digital TV in Croatia … where is 3D … but i was several times in Cinema with kids on this 3D production .. and is quiet interesting. How will be this on TV, I think that will be great, because I like this “world of 3D” …so I hope that will be in my life :)
    Greetings from Croatia

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