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Stereo-3D Set to Become Standard for Premium HDTVs, Blu-Ray Players

Stereoscopic high-definition televisions clearly have nod made it to the mass market in 2010. In fact, they received such a tepid welcome that it is hardly visible that the market of stereo-3D (S3D) equipment and content actually exists. In fact, S3D will not become mass even in 2011. What will happen is that the vast majority of premium-class HDTVs and Blu-ray disc players will be stereo-3D capable..

At present stereo-3D equipment is simple too expensive for the mass market and with the practical absence of content there are not a lot of points to actually upgrade a high-quality LCD or Plasma HDTVs to newer that support S3D. Another obvious drawback of current stereoscopic 3D screens is that they require users to wear glasses (meaning that in some cases it will be impossible for certain customers to watch movies in 3D because of prescription glasses) and sit in under special angles to the TVs. Those glasses may cause headaches and can affect development of children's and potentially teenagers' eyes.

But despite drawbacks of the S3D technology itself, consumer electronics (CE) makers will anyway have to introduce new models so to be able to sell them for premium prices. The new HDTVs will not only have LED backlight, but also S3D-capable matrix and 120Hz refresh rate, whereas the new Blu-ray disc players will playback both 3D and 2D content, support for MPEG4 Multiview Video Coding (MVC) codec (an extension to the ITU-T H.264 Advanced Video Coding (AVC) codec currently supported by all Blu-ray disc players) and appropriate outputs. The prices will correct themselves somewhat and stereoscopic 3D will basically come for free, it will be supported by default on higher-end TVs ($1000 in the U.S.).

Manufacturers of CE products understand very well that the transition to S3D equipment is a very costly task for consumers at the moment and there are not a lot of drivers to do that. For example, although Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3 game consoles can output in S3D mode, there are less than ten games for both platforms (in fact, Sony has the clear lead here) that use the technology. The list of Blu-ray 3D movies available on in the U.S. currently includes about ten titles. S3D TV channels are scarce and do not offer a lot of different content. Producers will only start making more stereoscopic 3D content when there is larger installed base. In order to boost it, CE makers will slash pricing on 3D TVs and they will be available not only in the ultra-premium segment, but also in premium and even higher-end mainstream segments.

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