Matsushita Electric Industrial Co Ltd prototyped the "3D Full-HD Plasma Theater System," which can provide three-dimensional viewing experience of HDTV video.
The system is a combination of a 103-inch PDP TV, a Blu-ray Disc player and eyeglasses with liquid crystal shutters.
The company will set up a special studio to exhibit the prototype system in its booth at CEATEC JAPAN 2008. Concurrently with the exhibition, the company is reportedly planning to submit technical specifications for storing 3D images in Blu-ray Disc media to the Blu-ray Disc Association. The schedule for the commercialization has yet to be decided.
The latest 3D image technology features a capability to display images equivalent to 60fps 1920 x 1080 (full-HD) images.
"Recently, an increasing number of 3D movies are produced in Hollywood," said Hiroshi Miyai, director of the High Quality AV Development Center of Panasonic AVC Networks Co. "We hope to keep the quality of these movies so that users can enjoy watching them at the full-HD resolution at home."
The system displays 3D images based on the field sequential method in combination with active 3D glasses manufactured by XPAND. Specifically, images for right and left eyes are switched over and alternately displayed for every frame, while synchronously blocking the vision on the opposite side by the liquid crystal shutter.
Thus, the system can provide different images for right and left eyes. While the method using passive glasses results in a lower resolution, the latest system with the active glasses has an advantage to display 3D images without sacrificing the resolution. But the luminance of the 3D images is reduced to 1/4 of that of the standard 2D images.
The new system supplies 60 fields per second 1920 x 1080 interlace images for both right and left eyes. Panasonic stored the image data into a 50-Gbyte Blu-ray disc. The system employs the MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 image compression format. The company did not reveal the details about the method of storing images in two channels, the data transmission rate, etc.
When playing back 3D images, the Blu-ray Disc player simultaneously decodes the images in the two channels.
"Current Blu-ray Disc players have a function called 'Picture in Picture,' which plays back two HDTV images at the same time," said Keisuke Suetsugi, manager of Image Quality Design at the High Quality AV Development Center of Panasonic AVC Networks. "The UniPhier LSI, which is designed for standard Blu-ray Disc players, is used as-is in the prototyped player."
The images in the two channels thus decoded are transmitted to the PDP TV via an HDMI cable.
"The data transmission rate is almost the same as that of the 1080/60p images because 1080/60i images are supplied in two channels," Suetsugi said. "This can be handled by one HDMI cable without problems."
The PDP TV prototyped this time additionally incorporates I-P conversion circuits for two channels and a drive circuit to display 120fps images. This makes it possible for the system to convert 60 fields per second interlace images into 60fps progressive images and display a total of 120fps images.
"The technology is especially advantageous when used in PDP TVs, which have a short response time" (Suetsugi), but in principle, it is also applicable to LCD TVs with a high speed response, according to the company.
Correction Notice: Because of a reporting error, we incorrectly used the phrase "60 fps 1920 x 1080 interlace images," which is actually "60 fields per second 1920 x 1080 interlace images."