It's TV, but not as we know it


It's not a television set, not just yet. But because of its revolutionary technology, it has the potential to change the way we view television forever. Electronics company Philips believes that their new 3D displays are the future – and will herald in a spate of related technological innovations that will bring a whole new world of television viewing.

"This is a sign of the future," says Björn Teuwsen, Philips 3D Solutions' marketing manager. "In entertainment, putting the experience central is key, and 3D is achieving that."

Three-dimensional image viewing works on the premise that the viewer's left and right eye each see slightly different images, taken from different angles, at one time, in turn letting the brain perceive it is watching a 3D picture. While the effect has traditionally been achieved by using two-coloured glasses in 3D theatres, this new technology follows a similar philosophy by using a special lens placed on top of a flat screen – thus creating the same effect while doing away with the glasses.

"We see it as a new revolution in viewing experience," adds Teuwsen, "We had the transition from black and white to colour, now it's from 2D to 3D."

But those dying to get their hands on one of these cool new display sets are going to have to hold their horses for a while: the technology is not quite ready for your home just yet.

"There is no real time TV watching in the 3D displays for now," explains Teuwsen. "It is a 3D display for professional use only because the content is created beforehand." What the Philips boss means is that all the stuff played on these new displays have to be created exclusively for it. Which means the technology as it is at the moment, is only suitable for advertisers and promoters looking to be a step ahead of their competitors. "It is a big attention grabber for hotel lobbies, reception areas and other digital signage," says Teuwsen. But they don't come cheap. A 42-inch Philips 3D display currently retails for approximately Dh40,000, with prices expected to come down as production increases. A small price though, considering the potential number of eyeballs you could garner.

"We get an average or three to four thousand advertising messages thrown at us on a daily basis. So it has become difficult for advertisers to to get into the head of consumers. By differentiating themselves in 3D, it is guaranteed to bring better recognition," says Teuwsen.

The official also believes that this innovation allows us a glimpse into the future.

A technology called amBX was developed by his company exclusively for gaming two years ago. From rumble generators and applications that create ambient coloured lights, the visual experience in an amBX is meant to take gaming to the next level.

But Philips is not the only one. Korean manufacturer LG is already producing its range of 3D monitors under its Flatron brand called the M4210D. Like the Philips displays, LG's monitors are still industry specific and require content to be exclusively created – thus only suitable for advertisers and marketeers at the moment. A related 3D video production tool features software that enables users to create their own three-dimensional content customised for the monitors.

Samsung, another major player in the TV arena, recently revealed their new 3D ready plasma display panel line. Available in 42 and 50 inch, these new TVs enable users to enjoy viewing 3D content such as 3D video games and movie. The manufacturer also announced that it will soon release 3D glasses and software as separate items to "enhance the viewing experience".

From simulated wind movements, unfettered sounds and lighting that suits various moods, the future, believes Teuwsen, is going to be much more than just creating rich, colourful and real images and focussed on taking viewer experience to the next level.

"The future of television is where all other senses, apart from vision, are appealed," he says.

"It is more about experiencing the world around you."