Philips held its 2010 Consumer Lifestyle Winter Media Event last week in Barcelona and surprisingly the word on everyone’s lips was '3D’. We say surprisingly because at last year’s IFA, Philips had been rather non-committal, saying that it was ready to deliver 3D but had 'no immediate plans to launch any commercial 3D TV products in the short term’.
So it came as a bit of a surprise (albeit a pleasant one) when the company announced that it will not only launch a range of 3D-ready TVs in the summer, but will also bring out a 3D-ready version of its Cinema 21:9 TV around IFA time – as well as a 3D-capable Blu-ray player and home cinema system.
“We are all about cinematic viewing experience, and about recreating that excitement you have from going to the cinema at home,” said Philips’ Peter Vervoort. “What we have learned from consumer research is that in the end consumers want to lose themselves for a while in the story of the movie or in the excitement of the sports or music event. I think 3D television offers the next logical step in driving that experience at home.”
Launching first will be the 8000 and 9000 series LED sets, all of which are '3D-ready'. Like Panasonic’s 3D sets, they use Active 3D (or frame sequential) technology to display images, which means they require a pair of active shutter glasses to create the perception of depth. This technology allows a Full HD 1080p image to be sent to each eye, unlike the 'line by line’ passive polarisation system, which delivers half resolution to each eye and requires a special screen that drives up the cost.
However, none of the new sets can display 3D from the box. They are standard 2D TVs that have been 'prepared' for 3D, and Philips will sell a separate upgrade pack that allows buyers to add 3D later without making everyone else pay a premium for the technology.
The upgrade pack includes two pairs of Active 3D glasses and an infrared transmitter, plus you’ll also get the necessary software upgrade. Philips will sell the glasses separately, allowing you to buy enough pairs for your whole family. There’s no official word on UK prices for the upgrade pack yet, but Philips hinted that it could cost between 200 and 300 Euros. However, the pack will not be made available in a bundle with one of the TVs, as Philips are keen to make it a completely separate proposition for those who want to add 3D at this early stage.
Philips’ TV supremo Danny Tack said: “You simply need a normal 2D television, which Philips will prepare software-wise to be capable of handling the 3D formats that will be brought through Blu-ray and broadcast. There will be a small connector at the back, like an S-VHS plug, to connect the transmitter, and in the special software we offer something unique in the market – our Natural Motion processing will work perfectly on 3D sources.”