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Day 1 - IFA International

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  • Consumers
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  • Berlin
  • September
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  • Panasonic
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Visionary Interview

Visionary Interview Stepping boldly into the next dimension Sony reports from the frontline of the 3D revolution Sony has positioned itself on the bleeding edge of 3D TV, offering a total 3D package ‘from lens to living room’. Fujio Nishida, President of Sony Europe, explains how his company is “blazing the trail into every part of the 3D universe”… Sony Europe’s Fujio Nishida: “at the forefront of the 3D revolution” The 3D revolution has come to pass much as we predicted at IFA last year, with consumers embracing 3D in the cinema as well as in the living room. Our 3D proposition – ‘from the lens to the living-room’ – has proven effective and, if anything, the adoption of 3D by consumers has been faster than the more optimistic analysts suggested. We are in the privileged p o s i t i o n o f b e i n g a t t h e f o re f ro n t o f t h e 3D revolution. Our 3D technologies encompass a range of professional 3D camera systems and equipment, integrated workflow solutions for professional production and industry-leading 4K digital-cinema projection systems for cinemas. Just earlier this week, we signed a landmark agreement with Vue Entertainment, the UK’s leading operator of multiplex cinemas, to equip its entire UK circuit with over 600 Sony 4K Digital Cinema systems, which will more than double the number of our 4K systems in Europe. This partnership is not only a recognition of our industryleading 3D proposition, but it is also signals the accelerating adoption of 3D cinemas in Europe, as well as in the UK and Asia. It was blockbuster movies in cinemas that sparked the initial appetite for 3D movies and ignited the consumers’ desire to enjoy this new experience in the third dimension in their homes. Today, our 3D TVs offer a great, immersive viewing experience – which is why the European Imaging and Sound Association (EISA) chose them as the best 3D TVs on the market this year. They provide a superior picture, even in bright light, and a wider viewing area. Sony’s 3D glasses, meanwhile, have a longer battery life and deliver a clearer picture with excellent colour fidelity. Another Sony 3D ace is the PlayStation 3, which enables you to play stereoscopic 3D games after a firmware upgrade, but will also feature, as of October this year, the much-anticipated 3D Blu-ray disc upgrade. How important is the partnership with Sony Pictures in motivating buyers? Building on our compelling proposition of entertainment content and devices is at the core of our business strategy. It’s more important than ever for consumers to be able to draw on attractive and diverse content, and to be given a choice. As important as it was to have the support of the Hollywood studios in establishing Blu-ray as the next-generation format, the availability of 3D movie and game titles is one of the key factors that will determine the speed and scope of 3D market adoption. As I mentioned, for many consumers, 3D blockbusters i n c i n e m a s w e re t h e entrance points for the new viewing experience of 3D. Hollywood has announced 30 new theatrical releases in 3D next year and this will certainly have an impact on the consumer adoption of 3D in the home. Sony this year announced it was ceasing production a t t w o E u r o p e a n plants. What is your manufacturing roadmap for Europe? In April this year, we announced the sale of our factory in Nitra, Slovakia to Hon Hai/Foxconn, and the transfer of our operations in Godolo, Hungary to our Malaysian plant. All this has been part of the continuous review of our global operations in the context of the drastic change in the economical environment and fluctuating market demand. Following these realignments, we now have one manufacturing operation in Barcelona, which produces LCD TVs for the European market. Sony recently developed a 3 6 0 - d e g r e e au t o - stereoscopic display. Is this the future of 3D? Ray Modeler is the brainchild of our R&D labs in Tokyo. It’s a prototype and just 27 cm tall, but it allows you to see a realistic 3D image from all angles – almost like looking into a crystal ball. Thanks to an embedded gesture sensor, the images react and move when you wave your hand. Ray Modeler could provide the 3D experiences of the future, such as virtual museums, in-store digital displays – even 3D telecommunication and 360-degree movies and video games. There are so many possibilities to think of, so stay tuned for more innovations from Sony. "The adoption of 3D by consumers has been faster than the more optimistic analysts suggested." 18

Exclusive Interview Panasonic provides a new kind of reality Bringing 3D to mass market, employing eco-friendly technology, and driving connected TV forward Panasonic has been one of the prime movers in the 3D gold rush, and has also been playing an important role in the development of direct Internet connectivity for TVs and eco-friendly products, notably by reducing the power consumption of plasma TVs down to a quarter of that of old models. IFA International spoke to the head of Panasonic’s TV business unit, Hirotoshi Uehara, and began by asking about the company’s background in 3D technology. Hirotoshi Uehara, head of Panasonic’s TV business unit After HD, we think the next generation will be 3D, because the movie industry is very interested in 3D and growing the number of 3D theatres, while making more and more 3D films. Panasonic developed the world’s first Full HD 3D Plasma Theater System in September 2008, with the aim of bringing moviequality 3D images into the living room. Since then we have been involved in initiatives towards the standardisation of 3D formats, and have been talking to the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) members to this end. As a result of these various initiatives, we have realised the dream of 3D theatre in the home, and have sparked an industrial trend. What has been the prime enabling factor in the onset of 3D technology in TV? Recent improvements in 2D picture quality have enabled the realisation of 3D. In other words, 3D display requires high moving picture resolution, very high contrast and double-frame rate, all of which has been enabled through recent advances in 2D technology. Wide-angle viewing is also important, because several people may be watching a movie or sports event at the same time. This is why we chose plasma for 3D viewing, as it has the best technical characteristics. What are the technological differences between Panasonic 3D TVs and those of other companies? The main difference is with the PDPs that we have chosen. In order to achieve the highest-quality 3D picture, it is essential to reduce crosstalk. PDPs have less crosstalk thanks to high-speed response, but in addition, we have also reduced crosstalk by developing new materials and new illumination control. It is easier to reduce crosstalk if the black reproduction level is sacrificed but we have achieved both an ultimate native contrast ratio of 5,000,000:1 and crosstalk reduction. Also, 3D films are best seen on a larger screen in order to get good depth of field. Our Plasma TVs have screen sizes all the way up to 152". How do you see the development of 3D? As high-quality 3D content on Blu-ray, games software, and broadcast becomes universal, demand for medium-sized 3D TVs may increase. At that point we will consider producing medium-sized 3D TVs, while watching market demand carefully. Are you counting on content producers to deliver 3D content in order to leverage the market, and will the Internet become a vector of distribution for 3D images? We have already developed a n d i n t r o d u c e d a professional 3D camcorder. I n a d d i t i o n , w e w i l l introduce the consumer 3D camcorder. This means “We can provide a new kind of reality through the TV that people have never experienced before. It’s an exciting time.” it will be easy for people to produce and edit 3D material, then to upload it to the web to be watched by a broad audience. Also, many broadcasters around the world have started broadcasting in 3D. This will help 3D take off too. Connected TVs are becoming more commonplace. What are Panasonic’s plans for Internet on TV? At the moment, all our step-up models have IPTV functionality, and soon entry models will have that too. An important factor pushing the onset of IPTV is that in emerging markets, people cannot receive digital TV, but they can receive IPTV. Therefore IPTV is a great way to develop the product in emerging markets. How does it feel for you to be at the heart of these paradigm changes in the world of consumer electronics? It’s very exhilarating because we have a chance to change people’s living spaces and the way they see and experience things. People can now go sightseeing on their TV, or even go to the zoo. We can provide a new kind of reality through the TV that people have never experienced before. It’s an exciting time. www.ifa-international.org IFA International • Friday, 3 rd September 2010 19

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