New Active-Shutter 3D Glasses Standard? – Panasonic and XPAND 3D announce they have formulated a new standard for 3D active-shutter eyewear that will bring about compatibility among 3DTVs, computers, home projectors and cinema projection. The technology is called M-3DI, and has already been agreed to by Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Seiko, ViewSonic and SIM2 among others. The standard will allow consumers to enjoy the immersive 3D experience across all types of compatible 3D displays as well as at movie theaters, with a single pair of 3D active-shutter eyewear, produced under comprehensive quality control. Once users put the glasses on, they recognize which brand and model set the user is viewing and allow the user to adjust certain parameters. These can be adjusted via a computer or a special app on a handheld device. Until now the various TV manufacturers have used different methods to communicate between the 3D active-shutter eyewear and the 3D display.
The new standard is believed to make a significant contribution in the acceleration of the penetration of 3DTVs – enhancing the appeal of 3D entertainment among a wider audience. The CEO of XPAND reports that it “…ensures that manufacturers can concentrate on innovation and consumers can count on interoperability.” The first wave of CE products using the new standard will not be available for about six months. The announcement made no mention of the non-shutter polarized 3D glasses used in nearly all theatrical showings, and by many 3DTV manufacturers. So the actual universality of the new standard remains open to question. This is beginning to look like the old Beta vs. VHS battle…
Amazon Beats Apple in Music Streaming – Amazon has started a music streaming service which is cross-platform and uses the Cloud Player. Apple and Google haven’t started one as yet, and Apple would likely favor its own OS whereas Google will likely use only Android. Amazon is working on making their streaming compatible with the iPhone. Right now the service works manually but they are expected to eventually offer automatic synchronization. Though Amazon’s service is essentially a locker for use by a single person, the company may not be able to avoid legal issues and licensing problems with sharing of music. The big record labels are notoriously reluctant to let users share music in any way. The music companies have resisted licenses allowing retailers to sell music and store it for customers, which Amazon’s Cloud Drive offers. They are also on a collision course with mobile data pricing, since carriers are starting to restrict how much data people can consume. Amazon is the second-largest seller of digital music and has a good relationship with record companies and consumers plus a sophisticated billing structure, so they may be able to weather the controversies.
CEDIA Members Told to Change – Jim Ristow, VP of Home Entertainment Source, told Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association members and dealers that they need to diversify into new product categories and connect their customers to new or more robust connected home systems. He said HDTV can no longer be relied on as the only driver of independent retailer business, and mentioned that at the January CES all the talk and product news was about “connectivity, wireless capabilities and content.” He said the sales forecast for HDTV “looks scary.” He listed some of the CEA (Consumer Electronics Association) stats: global home audio demand up 8%, total revenue up 30% due partly to 3DTV. Multi-room AV systems are on a double-digit growth curve, and wireless systems are up 30%. Ristow stressed new categories that many dealers don’t handle – smartphones and tablet PCs – which could be keys to future growth. He said such devices are not just phones but home controllers which provide an easy-to-use interface which they can show their friends. He predicts the home entertainment ecosystem is changing to quickly become “tablets, smartphones and PCs, where they want their content to move when they want it.” He also suggested an emphasis be put on headphones, which have now become higher-ticketed fashion items.