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There are some mumblings on the internet about this possibility related to PS3 3D gaming but I can’t tell you if it is wishful thinking on the part of writers or rumors pulled from within engineering circles. I can tell you that the 720p specification is fully capable of delivering 1280x720 left/right eye high definition 3D at 30 frames even via broadcast DTV (although the content would not be 2D compatible and you would need a new receiver). I could be watching 3D today on my native 720p front projector via my PS3 (after firmware upgrade). Even the 1080i specification could deliver dedicated 3D using checkerboard encoding at 540p. One problem is this inexpensive system would require keeping everything native, 720p to 720p or 1080i to 1080i, no scaling allowed. That already presents a problem for 720p since you can’t buy a native 720p display except in the form of front projection. Another potential problem for 1080i is interlace filtering, which is quite common on CRT and even digital. Such an approach could be overwhelming for the average consumer because it would be riddled with so many technological ifs, ands, and buts, to figure out what displays are compatible. The biggest hurdle would be broadcast since it would be dedicated 3D and not compatible with 2D displays. Blu-ray providing 3D content in this format along with 2D compatibility is not a problem.

While some might view such a system as a wise intermediate step until we get glasses free 3D, it would be limited to 24 and 30 frame content. If it were to become popular, we could easily paint ourselves into a limited 3D performance corner and the market may frown over the introduction of any new high performance 3D specification based on 60 frames that did not include getting rid of the glasses. Even with glasses-free 3D delivered, many consumers might very well stick with the inexpensive 3D they became accustomed to, leaving a new higher performance 3D standard treading water for volume.

60 frames resolves a boatload of imaging problems working best with sports; and the 3D industrial complex wants 60 frames included. To get the PC world involved also requires 60 frame support. In the end, it appears forcing a 120hz standard onto the market for both source and display would provide the best long term outcome for high performance 3D.

Posted by Richard Fisher, February 26, 2010 9:32 AM

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About Richard Fisher

Richard Fisher is the President of Mastertech Repair Corporation, serving north east Atlanta, Georgia, and has been servicing, calibrating and reviewing audio video products since 1981. Tech Services USA, a division of Mastertech, creates sites, communities and libraries for consumers and professionals to share their technology knowledge and learn from each other. These include The ISF Forum and HD Library. HDTV Magazine exclusively publishes HD Library and Forum for Tech Services USA.

Richard is ISF and HAA certified providing calibration and A/V reproduction engineering services. Richard is a technical consultant and also provides performance ISF and HAA home theater systems and calibration via Custom HT. Mastertech Repair Corporation is a factory authorized service center for Hitachi, Mitsubishi and Toshiba and a member of the National Electronics Servicing Dealers Association, NESDA, and the Georgia Electronics Servicing Dealers Association, GESDA.