November 9, 2005 3:04 PM PST

IBM demos low-cost 3D TV tech

SAN FRANCISCO--Just because the television is flat doesn't mean the content has to be.

At the 22nd annual Flat Information Displays conference sponsored by iSuppli here, IBM's display laboratories demonstrated a low-cost way to get high-resolution 3D images from a large-screen television or home-cinema projector that's already on the market.

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IBM expects that the technology could be built into a standard DLP television for less than $20.

The company showed a 50-inch, flat-screen Texas Instruments rear-projection digital television with Digital Light Processing, or DLP, technology. IBM configured the set with its own hardware and software, which takes 3D content and splits it into two images that are later translated as a stereophonic image with the help of "passive" glasses like those one would find in an IMAX theater.

"This was on the drawing board for about two years and now we're at the conceptual proof-of-concept stage. We are here to look for a manufacturing partner to bring the technology to market," said Jim Santoro, a technology license program manager from IBM's office in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

Santoro wouldn't release all the specifics of the IBM technology, which does not yet have an official name, but he did say the software is compatible with all OpenGL and Direct3D applications, which are widely used in PC video games.

The converter box can be retrofitted onto existing projectors for a little more than $1,000, Santoro said. That's a fraction of the cost of competing products such as the ZScreen monitor, which retails starting at $1,895. IBM's hardware is compatible with current VESA three-pin stereo interfaces.

IBM 3D TV tech

Viewing traditional 3D content in the theater or on a television screen required two projectors. The new generation of digital projectors, such as the one IBM demonstrated, translates 3D content with just one machine, alternating rapidly between images meant to be seen by the right and left eyes. The technology used in the "Chicken Little" film shows 144 frames per second, for example.

In one example, Santoro showed amateur footage of a high school basketball game that was shot in 3D.

"This is just in the testing phase now, but many sports broadcasters have expressed an interest in showing games in 3D," Santoro said. "Imagine 'Monday Night Football' in 3D. I'm a big football fan, so for me that would be great."

6 comments

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Lot of 3D is in the works on TV and Theaters
Later this month ,(Nov 21) NBC will air "Medium"
in a special 2 hour episode in 3D, using the colored filter glasses method (anaglyph). "Chicken
Little" opened in theaters Nov.4 in digital 3D.
7 3D films are in the pipeline from magor studios,
plus the probability of all the "Star Wars" films
being reprocesses for 3D by George Lucas, who did the rework to 3D of "Chichen Little". IBM
is probably on to something with this idea.
Posted by 3dallan (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Lot of 3D is in the works on TV and Theaters
Later this month ,(Nov 21) NBC will air "Medium"
in a special 2 hour episode in 3D, using the colored filter glasses method (anaglyph). "Chicken
Little" opened in theaters Nov.4 in Disney Digital 3D. It is doing 4 to 5 times the business of the flat version on the limited 84 screen 3D special release.7 3D films are in the pipeline from major studios,plus the probability of all the "Star Wars" films being reprocesses for 3D by George Lucas, who did the rework to 3D of "Chicken Little". IBM is probably onto something with this 3D idea.
Posted by 3dallan (5 comments )
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To the author..
Images are not "stereophonic" they are "stereoscopic"
Posted by indrakanti (90 comments )
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lots of rumors about 3d no glasses hdtv in 2006
there are rumors that 3DHDTV and no
glasses 3d HD systems will be in stores as
soon as fall 2006.....please CNET keep us up
to date on what you here....the E3 game show
in LA had some 3d no glasses systems that
looked great......also rumors of new 3d HDTV
systems at consumer electronics shows in
2006......also 2DHD TO 3DHD systems are
rumored for 2006- early 07
Posted by 3dfan (1 comment )
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Good for front projectors too?
OK, so they demoed with a rear-projection DLP set. Does the thing work equally as well with a front projector? I'm planning for this setup, DLP is fine as the rainbow things don't bother me, and they finally have 1080 resolution DLP devices.

This 3d thing might be neat, if it makes it into any videogames near me, will I be able to have 3d support? Or might there be some dependency on how the image reaches and crosses the screen in rear-projection rigs and this thing won't work with front projections?
Posted by amigabill (93 comments )
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The 3D technology that IBM developed would have worked with front or rear DLP projectors. The technology was incredible, and incredibly simple and could have delivered 3D to the home at very affordable prices Unfortunately, two out of the three driving forces behind the development left the company, and the program died.
Posted by jcs851 (1 comment )
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