3D: Failure is Not an Option

Wireless broadband could have failed if it wasn’t standardized. 3D is in the same position. Here are the roadblocks 3D faces.

David Aleksandersen

Through my work for some innovative companies over the past five years, I’ve learned perhaps too much about the wireless industry. If wireless broadband had not been standardized, it could have easily failed.

Early wireless devices using the IEEE 802.11 standard did not interoperate well because the manufacturers implemented the standard differently (no governing body), resulting in interoperability problems and endless hours trying to connect devices to the wireless network. Pioneering companies endorsed the IEEE 802.11b standard specification and formed the Wi-Fi Alliance in 2002, branding it Wi-Fi.

The alliance included cutting edge companies in the wireless industry. Its objective as an independent organization was to promote technology and certify interoperability of products through testing and verification. The alliance worked like a charm as wireless networking is part of our daily lives.

3D is in the same position today. There are so many questions that could be answered with standardization of 3D, which would allow the technology to thrive in the pro A/V market. And big companies are showing interest in the standardization of 3D.

For the commercial market, it is all about ease of use with glasses, playback devices, TVs, projectors and other display devices. Will the glasses I bought work only on specific TVs? Will my hefty investment on a high-end Blu-ray disc player from last year work with my new TV? Is HDMI 1.4 really the full HDMI 1.4 implementation or just parts of it?

Luckily, there is lots of standardization work going on including: 3D@Home, SMPTE, CEA, Digital TV Group, MPEG and HDMI. We are seeing companies like Panasonic, Sony, Samsung, and XpanD working together to create a standard for glasses.

3D in the pro AV market
Being responsible for projectiondesign‘s educational efforts globally as academy manager, and working closely with our team of field application engineers and support teams, I encounter questions related to 3D everyday. Typical questions revolve around what graphic card to use, what is the difference between active, passive or INFITEC 3D stereoscopic solutions? If active, what kind of glasses should they be? IR, RF or DLP Link? In a multi-channel system, how do I synchronize all channels?

Today, there is no good answer to that other than to make sure you know what you are doing before you start selling and installing. We like happy customers.

Knowledge is important
Education and information sharing in online communities, such as LinkedIn, are a good place to start. Seek support from manufacturers and their experiences for guidance on how to succeed in the evolving 3D market. Graphic card manufacturers, such as Nvidia, ATI, and Matrox are giving lots of information about hardware performance.

Even more important, organizations such as InfoComm and Insight Media, have a number of educational offerings aimed an unbiased knowledge transfer.

Amazing, real-life use of advanced 3D is happening in the pro A/V market, with a few examples below. We could see more of them with the standardization of 3D.