Sky's 3DTV Technology To Have A Costly Start

Sky's 3D endeavour could be a costly bet if they don't bring down the initial investment price for the viewers who want to experience the ultimate in three dimensional viewing.

Mitsubishi, LG and Philips, notably, have been at the forefront of 3D television; Panasonic has already proposed a new Blu-ray standard for 3D imagery and Japan already has 2 hours of 3D programming every day.

However Sky wants 3D to be available as early as next year but will have some important drawbacks. Firstly, the user would require both a Sky+ HD set top box as well as a special 3D television to view the programme.

Then, there's the price of the television set, around than £2500 according to some estimates, which is more than five times the price of comparable television sets (based on £500 for a 42-inch LCD TV). The Philips 42-3D6W02, a 42-inch 3D display, still cost a whopping £6266 two years after its launch.

And to make things a bit more complicated, you will still need 1960-style bi-coloured polarised glasses to truly appreciate 3D motion pictures.

Old content will still be displayed as "flat" content and only new content that have been recorded using special equipment (including twin side by side cameras) will be 3D ready. It will also add more layers to an already complex setup. Some programmes are already available in standard and HD version. Will 3D programmes be made in HD and non HD formats as well?

Pocket-lint, which was at the demo of 3DTV, was told by Sky's top brass that more than 60 movies will be released in 3D by 2012 and there is a very good chance that the 2012 London Olympics will be in 3D (although that will depend on how many people are actually equipped with the right telly).

Sony is also understood to be preparing a stereoscopic 3D set in the next 12 months with an exclusive display scheduled at the International CES in January 2009. But it is still early days and there's already a number of 3D standard groups which have been setup to make sure that the ugly battle between Bluray and HDDVD standards does not come to 3D.

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Our Comments

We're quire dubious about Sky's technology because it still keeps the tacky MIB sunglasses and the price will still put it beyond the credit crunched pockets of most of us. As it stands, high resolution content is still the priority. 3D will have to wait for the next wave of upgrades.

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