Grundig turns on live 3D television

If you're a bit overwhelmed by the many changes in TV technology, such as plasma screens and high-definition systems, try to get your head around 3D television.

At the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin, Grundig Intermedia demonstrated what the German company is calling a world's first: 3D television, recorded and broadcast live, in colour and without the need for viewers to wear glasses.

Grundig has collaborated with three companies to make the 3D show happen: Newsight GmBH, 3D Image Processing GmbH and Cobalt Entertainment.

In addition to demonstrating live 3D broadcasts, Grundig also showed how 3D could enhance numerous TV programs, such as American football. One prerecorded 3D clip showed a quarterback throwing a ball and the receiver, crowded by defenders, trying to grab it. Viewers had the feeling that the ball was going to pop out of the screen and the football players right behind it.

Even if the resolution was less than razor sharp, it was adequate to give everyone glued to the screen a good idea of what this new TV experience is all about.

What Grundig and its partners have assembled in Berlin is something the German manufacturer intends to turn into a marketable product in the near future.

"We hope to have sets capable of showing 3D programs by 2007," a company spokesperson said.

The spokesman acknowledged that improving resolution would be a requirement, especially for plasma screens and HDTV (high-definition television) systems. Another requirement would be to integrate 3D technology into 2D sets, because nobody wanted to have a separate TV set for each technology, the spokesperson said.

And last but not least, TV companies and movie studios will have to be willing to produce 3D programs if the market for this new technology is to take off, according to the spokesman.

At IFA, Grundig also announced that its DVD players in the middle and top ranges will support the Nero Digital format from Nero AG in the future. The format compresses video data to as little as one fifth of the original file size without perceptible loss of quality. The technology is based on the MPEG-4 standard.

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John Blau

IDG News Service
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