Tag: 3D

Public will rarely use 3D tellies

While TV manufacturers continue to foist 3D upon the public, it appears that it will continue to be met with a shrug of indifference from consumers.

It’s not like we’ve been saying it all along or anything.

Informa Telecoms and Media has forecast that, despite considerable efforts to convince  the public to part with a wad of cash for a 3D enabled set, it looks like a scant few are actually going to be using such features.

In fact, fewer than half of the 11 million 3D-ready tellies expected to be in UK homes will be ‘active’ users of the technology.

This is compared with 90 percent of homes last year which were actively using their 3D functionality.

But for early adopters who have splashed a month’s wages on a new TV they are definitely going to make sure they use it, even if that does mean watching Avatar three times a week for a year.

And that is where the problem lies.

While 3D may be good for big events, or bad depending on who you listen to, with the BBC trying out Wimbledon in 3D, it is the dearth of other appropriate material that makes it less than vital in all homes.

And even as more content does become available, it doesn’t seem that it is likely to catch the attention of the nation.

For example, how many Corrie fans are dying to know what Betty’s famous hotpot looks like in three dimensions?

Analyst Adam Thomas at Informa sums this up saying that due to both a lack of content and a simple failure of the public to engage, the public response has been mixed.

Despite this, manufacturers are still intent on convincing us that we all need 3D in our lives, and indeed in our living rooms. It’s profitable, you see.

In fact, as Techeye has noted, suppliers are continuing to ramp up shipments as the technology is increasingly pushed.

According to Informa one in three home will have a 3D set by 2016.

So the situation will be: people who have no interest in 3D will purchase and own an enabled telly while the glasses remain down the back of the sofa.

Informa says a change in strategy has occurred among electronics firms which will stop 3D being talked up as a natural successor to HD and 1080p HD.

Instead 3D will be presented as a feature that should be purchased in order to future-proof a new purchase, hinting at an environment where 3D is a must have.

And as display expert at Meko Bob Raikes has told us in the past, future proofing is something that is of prime importance to a consumer on the look out for a new telly.

But for now 3D is likely to take a back seat in terms of being a unique selling point, and will be viewed as a feature like LED backlighting or internet access rather than as an overall enhancement.

BBC 3D tennis could present a real headache

The BBC has announced that it will be broadcasting its first 3D programmes at Wimbledon this year.

Unfortunately 3D is still in its infancy, and experts at Intel agree that there are many sports which are not suited to the format.

The free broadcast will be available to anyone with a 3D set and access to HD channels. Millions will tune in, as long as viewers are not put off by the lightning pace of the game, particularly now that Tim Henman has hung up his racket. It could make them even more dizzy than usual when gazing at their top of the range telly.

TechEye was reliably informed by Genevieve Bell at Intel that fast paced sports are a nightmare to watch in 3D, and are more likely to make viewers dizzy or feel ill. Fans of the technology will dismiss it as nonsense but 3DS complaints and returns speak for themselves.

Not to mention that, socially, 3D isn’t ideal until someone figures out how to create workable and pleasing glasses-free displays. The BBC will say it will be for archiving purposes if nothing else.

However, TV analyst at Meko, Goksens Sertler, believes it’s a good opportunity for the BBC.

“Consumers are aware that the technology is getting better and evolving,” she told TechEye.

“So if it is correct that fast-paced sports are more difficult for viewers then it will not drive consumers away.

“Everything is improving, both the TV technology and the camera technology, so consumers are aware that if it is not ready yet then they will try again when it is better.”

While there are doubts over whether the technology is good enough yet for the public to truly embrace it, Sertler believes that it is important for organisations such as the BBC to move quickly to add content.

“Waiting for another event is perhaps worse, an event like Wimbledon is the perfect sort of event and special experience to draw people to 3D. But it is important that the BBC get it right.”

SuVolta creates low power transistor

Intel’s new 3D technology has got itself a rival.

SuVolta has released a transistor design that claims to cut power in half for fabs that adopt it.

The outfit is also working on circuit designs that could cut power for chip designers who use fabs with SuVolta’s transistors.

According to EETimesthe designs that SuVolta is coming up with could be a rival for Intel’s much touted 3D design.

Apparently the company has three executives who had some involvement in Intel’s pioneering 45 and 22nm process technologies.

Intel does have the advantage though. SuVolta has to work out a way of making its technology viable by selling its ideas to fabs. The fabs will then have to make the gear, something they may not be that keen on doing.

If they get away with it, SuVolta could start a whole new industry and give the outfit the ability to convince circuit designers they should adopt a whole new set of libraries to gain additional power reductions.

The company has built a 65nm SRAM device that is acting as a proof of concept. It also reports promising early test results at 28nm.

Fujitsu has announced that it will use the SuVolta technology in all its products and will ship the first chips using it sometime late next year. Broadcom and Cypress are also supposed to be snuffling around.

At the heart of SuVolta is a design for a junction field effect transistor (JFET) that can be applied to bulk CMOS to control voltage levels without cutting signalling speed. This makes it possible for reading and writing data at much lower voltages.

Apparently its SRAM, which is a 220 million gate device, managed acceptable yields in low volume production with all its modules working. It can read and write data at power levels as small as 0.42 of a volt. This is half of the power requirements of a modern SRAMs. 

3D telly will boom next year claim manufacturers

The debate over 3D rages on as shipments of 3D LCD TV panels double in the first quarter of 2011, with industry claims that this is the year that the technology will become commonplace.

Most punters are scratching their heads over whether to shell out the cash for a 3D TV.  There is little content available in terms of TV programming, and badly retrospective fitted 3D films, incumbent headaches or dizziness.  The worst thing is the need to impersonate Bono from U2 while watching any 3D content thanks to the necessity to wear sunglasses indoors.

Of course it is not all doom and gloom with 3D TVs, but regardless of whether the public is ready to have the technology foisted up them the panel makers will step up pressure to drive uptake of the technology.

According to DisplaySearch figures, it is expected that 3D LCD TV panel will continue to bite into 2D shipment share throughout the year, with just over a fifth of all LCD TV panels shipped being 3D enabled by the start of 2012.

The figure during the first quarter of 2011 stands at 3.9 percent of shipments – 1.9 million units – a jump from 1.6 percent in the final quarter of last year.

This is forecast to more than double again during the second quarter of this year according to industry predictions, meaning that whether the public is interested or not the push towards 3D sets goes on.

But whether this will translate into sales is another thing.” Meko analyst Bob Raikes told Techeye that if f panel makers want to ship that many then they can, but it is a case of at what price they can sell to attract customers and still make business sense,

Raikes says that at the moment the industry is “desperate to get more money being spent on TVs as there is not much money going into the market.”

“This is due to, for example, the move towards the public purchasing larger and larger sets slows down, or even in the US where tablets are beginning to cannibalise the market for secondary TV sets,” Raikes says.

However he believes that the industry is shooting itself in the foot by putting so many new features on the market in order to attract more revenue, also making noise about LED sets and Smart TVs.

Instead Raikes believes that if sales are to match the shipments been forecast by panel makers then it is likely to on the basis of future-proofing rather than for immediate use, which is a possibility pointing to the fact that many have bought 3D sets despite not owning the  glasses.

But while panel makers attempt to persuade us to hand over cash for a new 3D set, Raikes thinks it could yet be some time before the technology actually becomes commonplace.

“This will not happen until glasses free technology becomes widespread and when people will actually watch TV in 3D regularly. This is not likely to be widespread for a number of years.”

Nvidia release cut price 3D spectacles

The prices of 3D glasses are set to take a tumble afterNvidia announced the release of a cheap and cheerful 3D pair at Computex in Taiwan today.

Priced at $99, the wired glasses are aimed reaching a wider market as 3D technology slowly creeps into the homes of greater swathes of a rather ambivalent public.

The glasses use the firms “advanced active shutter technology” and are part of its 3D Vision range.  

According to the company,  the big idea is that they will allow gamers and film buffs access to 525 3D games, not to mention a gamut of Blu-ray movies, and access the new stereoscopic service from YouTube as announced recently.

Shipping with a USB 2.0 cable, the specs will work along with a range of Nvidia’s 3D enabled products, including 65 different monitors, notebooks and projectors.

Retrospectively fitted 3D film is not dazzling the public, and 3D content for the TV not exactly setting the world alight yet, it seems that Nvidia are, in fact, more concerned with gaming.  

This press release waxes lyrical about the lack of batteries required, which Nvidia believes makes the glasses ideal for LAN gaming events and iCafes gaming centres.

Furthermore, there is even an optional computer lock for the USB cable in case the new specs attract the attention of light-fingered gamers.

The new glasses will be available in late June from the 3DVision store.

Sony boss not told about security hacks

The recent hacking of Sony has revealed how much the corporate denizens conspired to keep their CEO Howard Stringer in the dark at the outfit.

It turned out that Sony was hacked in 2008 and Stringer’s minions forgot to actually mention it to him.

Sony boss Sir Howard Stringer claims in an interview with Bloomberg to have known nothing about the previous intrusion and, given the way Sony reacted to the recent hack, we believe him.

Stringer’s view was that the network would not be attacked because it gave people services for free and it didn’t seem like the likeliest place for an attack.

He might have held a different view if he had known that the network was attacked twice in 2008. A British teen got into Sony’s developer network and there was a hack into PlayStation Home.

Sony told Bloomberg  that when one incident that related to PlayStation Network, once it identified what it was, they went in and fixed it

But Sony did not tell Stringer, neither did it order the development of a decent security policy which required servers to be regularly updated and firewalled.

One of Sony’s polices included an upgrade that prevented users installing Linux on the machines. It seems that the outfit was simply complacent and its senior management were kept ignorant about the state of its security. How crap is that?

3D broadcasting drought continues

Although every television maker in the world wants to introduce 3D as standard on the boxes, broadcast content is still looking a little thin since the first models arrived at John Lewis and sat on the shelf for a month.

Despite BSkyB launching 3D channels along with hefty marketing campaigns – which saw 3D football matches broadcast in pubs and gushing reports about the technology featuring in associated newspapers – there’s still little in the way of actual 3D broadcast content. 

That’s because there’s not much you can do with 3D telly on a day-to-day basis. We reported this last year, with Meko analysts telling us 3D will never be an everyday thing. It’ll be a couple of hours a week, at most, on the television. We imagine most punters don’t quite fancy watching Pat Butcher’s earrings swing out of the screen into their faces.

More obviously, creating regular 3D content for broadcast is very high-cost. Particularly with live content, say analysts at Ovum. There is a “lack of enthusiasm” for investing in 3D content production, according to Ovum’s The State Of 3D (Strategic Focus) report, and as such the whole situation is unlikely to undergo any swift change.

It will be up to packaged goods such as Blu-Ray, streaming, and above all console gaming to keep 3D afloat. Sony is pushing its 3D technology with the PS3, but then it would, having as it does something of a monopoly with 3D. Sony runs Blu-Ray, it knocks out 3D tellies, sells 3D studio equipment and it has heavy investment in the studios which create the content.

According to Ovum, which collared a shedload of execs to talk about strategic priorities, production of 3D content or the launch of 3D channels is at the very lowest rung of the ladder for investment. Over half said 3D content production was “not an important business consideration,” while broadcasters in Europe or North America didn’t give a hoot either.

Which isn’t great news for the future of 3D broadcasting. Many of the most popular shows here in the UK are imports from the States, and if the broadcasters aren’t able or willing to take advantage of the technology which was hoist upon us, it’s unlikely there will be any significant boost in the near future.

BSkyB, which really wants to flog its 3D services, recently pinned its hopes on a channel launch called Sky Atlantic, promising to air the best from the US. We shouldn’t expect a Sky Atlantic 3D launch any time soon.

As for sports, 3D can work sometimes, but reception has been generally less than enthusiastic.

Even 3D boffins agree that the format is not suited to sports that move at a fast pace. What does that rule out? Well, football, rugby, tennis, basketball for a start. 

ARM boss mocks Intel's 3D transistor breakthrough

ARM has mocked Intel’s release of 3D 20nm transistors as a “fantastic marketing coup”.

Chief Executive Warren East told the  Reuters Technology Summit that Intel’s statement was an “interesting announcement” but there was nothing to see here, move on please.

East said that other manufacturers will eventually use 3D technology, but probably not before they absolutely need it.

The technology comes with complexities, East warned. He added that it’s more important to answer questions about performance and power consumption, and that 3D technology will not provide any answers.

ARM is still growing like anything thanks to its well-placed strong position in stuff that flies off the shelves, like smartphones, East said.

Changing the subject, East said he expected ARM would be able to maintain premium royalty rates when licensing Cortex processors more widely.

Currently ARM charges a one percent rate on its older chips, but has been asking for closer to two percent with the new Cortex processors.

He said it is easier when ARM licenses technology more broadly because the precedent will have been set.

This policy has had a good effect on ARM’s share price which is more than 50 times next year’s forecasted earnings. Investors like the idea of increasing royalty revenues as chipmakers buy in ARM’s technology rather than design chips from scratch.

East added that licence sales, both for its core processor technology and increasingly for graphics, are gaining momentum – which means increased cash from royalties is likely.

Microsoft’s moves towards configuring its Windows software for ARM chips was also touched on by East.

Redmond is driving the development of the software, not ARM. But East warned that Microsoft’s estimation for it to take between 24 and 36 months before widespread availability is about right.

Ye Booke of Intel


In the beginning the IT world was formless and void and the Great God of Chips, Intel, spake and said “let there be transistors” and lo, there were transistors and Intel saw that they were good. 2. When they were not good, no one mentioned it and everyone was happy. But the transistors were two dimensional, as was the Great God of Chips, but all was well with the universe because all used his chosen tribe, the x86. At least those worth speaking of. 3. Intel was a mighty and terrible God which ate its own children and spat out the pips, but its x86 chips knew not the wide world. For they required the Power of the Lecky, least their LCD lights passeth forth. 4. And it was written in the Book of Tigger, that the Power of the PC is the Power of Intel and he who hath not power hath not the LCD light of Green. And people understood this Mystery not. 5. One who understood the Mystery not was the tribe of Arm. They liketh not the Chips of Intel and likened them unto the sperm of Stan, which is the true name of Satan. 6. And they said: “If we make our chips that need not the power then we can plug them in the battery of delight and taketh our email on the run.” 7. And so it came to pass that the land of IT was divided between those who wanted their computers to move and those who wanted them to have power. 8. And then the forces of Darkness did create the false profit Steve Jobs who did take the chips of Arm and heavily market them to those with skulls like cedars of Lebanon. And his followers did cry out for more chips from Arm and less of the Chips of Intel. 9. And the Great God Intel did look forth upon the mobile market and did spake and say “I’ll have some of that!” and he did go forth unto the Ar en Dee and did open the dimension the third and did call forth the transistor of the future. 10. He spake and sayeth: “I have built a bridge of Ivy which all will cross. This is my transistor which is most blessed, it shall allow my x86 to be unplugged and go forth into the world like the Chips of Arm.” 11. And the world press did rejoice at Intel’s creation and did hail it as if it were a miracle. 12. But Ah Em Dee did speak forth and say “Who will want to use this chip? For is not the hardware of the computer still 2D? Our chips already need not the power of Intel so what is the point?” 13. And the Foundries of Global agreed saying, “Let us not speak of this Bridge of Ivy for it is ahead of its time and no one will want it. But just in case it is not, we shall enter unto our own Ar en Dee and spend lots of gold to enter the third dimension.” 14. And the people of Tee Ess Em See did haughtly spurn the transistor of Intel as if it was a rabid dog. 15. “Speak not unto us of the transistors of 3D, they are toys for a child. When they have grown unto a man of at least 14 years, then come unto us with thine bleeding edge toys.” 16. And so it came to pass that those who followed Intel would think that the transistor was wonderful, even unto the bees knees. While the followers of Ah Em Dee did think that it was a pile of dog’s doo. 17. And nothing came to pass for many years. But there came forth a multidimensional cat that was neither dead or aliveth, and rolled up the third dimension as if it were a scroll.

Globalfoundaries dismisses 3D transistors

While Chipzilla has been snatching the headlines for developing 3D transistors, Globalfoundaries has dismissed the technology as unnecessary and smells of Wii.

Advanced Micro Devices and its manufacturing partner, Globalfoundries (GloFo), have also ruled out following Intel’s lead.

Globalfoundries is believed to be working on similar technology but is about two years behind Intel to bring it into the shops. However the outfit does not seem to be in any hurry.

In a statement, Globalfoundaries said that it and its development partners have longstanding programs to evaluate options for next-generation transistors, including non-planar structures.

However it did not see the need for these technologies until beyond the 22/20nm generation.

Its cunning plan for 22/20nm is to maintain the same increases in performance, power efficiency, and density that we’ve seen moving from 45/40nm to 32/28nm with the addition of High-k Metal Gate (HKMG).

2D CMOS can do all that by using new ideas in materials integration, lithography, and interconnect technology, Globalfoundaries said.

In fact 3D technology is less likely to impact AMD or Global Foundaries as it is geared to giving Chipzilla something to fling against ARM.

Where analysts believe the chip might have an impact is in the low power, mobile arena where x86 architecture has huge problems competing with ARM’s power saving designs.

Intel has always been ahead of AMD and Global Foundaries so even a two year design lag is not going to change things much. However it will give Intel an impressive marketing tool as it starts to get caned by AMD’s possibly much better integrated chip designs.

However the mobile chip arena is not somewhere AMD has been strong and it is probably there that 3D technology might make Intel’s presence felt.