13 October 2009—The 10th annual CEATEC show, Japan’s biggest yearly gathering for far-out gadgets and cutting-edge technologies, has certainly downsized a bit. The number of exhibitors fell to 590 this year from just over 800 in 2008, and the number of booths where firms hawk their high-tech wares fell by about 1000, down to 2123. But the size and scope of the new televisions and displays there haven’t diminished.
Ready or not, want it or not, the next big thing in home entertainment is three-dimensional TV, if Sony, Panasonic, Sharp, and Hitachi have anything to do with it. All had long lines of attendees waiting to watch carefully prepared 3-D segments of movies and video. Sony took it a step further, demonstrating a 3-D video game, recording sports live in 3-D, and showing off an image-splitting single-lens camera capable of filming 3-D content at 240 frames per second. The extravaganza underscored Sony’s desire to create a new 3-D business from TVs, projectors, content from Sony Pictures, and cameras.
The approach to 3-D that most of these companies have taken is to use polarized shutter glasses that open and close each of two lenses rapidly in sync with the TV’s refresh rate. Sony, for instance, employed shutter glasses to sync with a 3-D–enabled 52-inch (133-centimeter) 240-hertz Bravia LCD HDTV. Panasonic did the same with a 50-inch plasma display.