Better 3D for Theaters – A company named XpanD – with funding from Slovenia – is rushing to produce a million of their shuttered 3D glasses for the Dec. 18 release of Avatar, the new James Cameron 3D movies. XpanD’s headquarters is located in Beaverton, Oregon – which was the former headquarters location of the popular 3D ViewMaster. The technology is said to be a major improvement over the prominent polarized glasses 3D used for many theatrical movies, and light years beyond the headache-producing anaglyph red/green glasses supplied with most current 3D films on DVD and used back in the 1950s heyday of 3D movies. Liquid crystal cells in the glasses shutter off vision from alternate eyes at 144 times a second, using an infrared wireless signal, and must be washed after each use. They cost $50 each and are not disposable as other 3D glasses. There is no ghosting and screen brightness is not diminished as with all the other 3D technologies. XpanD is struggling for recognition in the U.S. due to the inroads made by two other 3D technologies, but is becoming No. 1 in the rest of the world. Some authorities in the industry feel it will take several years, but 3D technology will become ubiquitous for movies, and will infiltrate everything from PlayStation games to home TV.
Sony to Show 27-inch OLED Display at CES – Sony plans to use OLED technology to resurrect a dominant position for themselves in the flat panel TV market. They will be showing a thin and stylish 27-inch OLED set in the Beta stage, but it is expected to be expensive. Sony is spending over $500 million next year in sponsoring the World Cup in South Africa. They have dropped the price of their Bravia TVs and now give away a 3-year warranty with them. They have also engaged Sharp Electronics to manufacture some of the Bravias.
Texas Instruments’ Breakthru DLP Pico – The DLP projection technology developed by Texas Instruments and seen in cinemas and home theaters around the world has been miniaturized to be capable of projecting images up to 100 inches from a chip with half the surface area of a postage stamp. The DLP Pico is already being used in mobile phones, embedded in personal media players, and in ultra-portable projectors the size of a deck of cards. The device is not just part of the shrinking of devices, but a change in how consumers use their personal electronics. They will be able to effortlessly share content and experiences with friends and family.
First Vacuum Tube: 1904 – That was the year that British engineer John Ambrose Fleming inventing and patented the thermionic valve – the first vacuum tube, and the age of modern wireless electronics was born. The principle of transmitting a charged current using a heated conductor was well understood before Fleming used it in his tube. Edison and others had experimented with it. But Fleming’s tube represented a major breakthru in the technology. He received a knighthood for it in 1929.
Flat-panel TV Sales Up in China – A recent report from research firm GFK shows shipments of flat-panel TVs in China increased 70% over the same period in 2008. The flat-panel TV market grew 40% the previous year, so analysts had predicted it would grow at a slower rate this year due to the financial crisis. Chinese consumers in mostly urban areas are replaced their old bulky CRT TVs with new flat-screen LED sets. Most of the world’s larger flat-panel TV makers are now considering establishing LED factories in China. There are still 500 million CRT TVs in the country, to be eventually replaced by flat-screen TVs.