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SID Ponders TV's Future

SID

Looks like the Society of Information Display is making some great headlines this year!

Right now, the top news story is a panel that asked the question "Is This The End of TV"?  No, not literally.  The issue is that while the number of panel units sold is improving, the pricing per unit is falling.  Are manufacturers going to have to look at a new business model?  For example, will TVs be a loss leader to make room for purchased content?

To keep things in perspective, the well touted 1080P experience that was introduced in 2006 still hasn't reached 100% penetration.  Newer innovations like 2008's 120Hz panels, 2009's 240Hz panels, stereoscopic 3D and Connected TV are coming faster, but what will come next?

Paul Gagnon, Director of North American TV Research company DisplaySearch, believes the most important change in the television market is "Connected TVs", and expects over 40 million of them to ship this year.  Panasonic and Sony are much more excited about 3D.  In fact, Panasonic's Peter Fannon went so far as to say that he predicts 3D televisions to out-pace the traditional HDTV adoption rate, and possibly any other home technology.

Panasonic's numbers scored big credibility points by talking about their deal with DirectTV and three new 3D channels next month.  However, once they talked about NVIDIA's GeForce 3D Vision solution as driving their fit in gaming, it didn't make as much sense.  While NVIDIA is a great start that deserves mention, 3D gaming needs an industry-wide grand finale that hasn't happened yet.  It's like saying Beowulf is the over-the-top magic bullet to justify the industry, when Avatar is two years away.  While we are still moving in that direction, it's good to see Panasonic taking an active interest in S-3D gaming.  We just see NVIDIA's solution as Panasonic's beginning, not the end-point of what promises to be a diverse and exciting industry.

As it stands, the consumer 3D HDTV market is very much dominated by LCD shutter glasses, and HDI3D is the one company that is developing a laser TV based on polarized glasses.  The vision they shared with the panel was a 100" display experience.  We will have to wait and see on that!

Credit goes to Michael Miller's article on pcmag.com for their excellent coverage of this panel.