3-D TV was the big draw at CEATEC IT and electronics exhibition this year. The fact that big names such as Panasonic, Sony and Sharp all showcased screens indicates that 3-D TV might now be ripe for commercial success. While you still need to wear special glasses to enjoy the experience, the clear lenses do not alter your perception of the rest of the world around you and makers claim that they significantly reduce the incidence of headaches. Any movie can be rendered 3-D by processing it through a special box that can convert the signal in real time.

While attending the show Japan Pulse got a sneak peak at Panasonic’s Phantom 3-D TV screen. When we donned a pair of specs we were impressed by how clear the rest of the world looked through them. First, we were treated to an aquarium display: The way the fish swam through the air toward us was very impressive but we couldn’t help noticing that around the edges the image lost its sharpness. Once we moved on to view the product with a bigger screen, following a video game character around a virtual rendering of Ginza, this didn’t seem to matter so much. Video games tend to draw the eye into the center of the screen, which means the technology will have maximum impact in this format.

These TVs are definitely an effective tool to draw the gamer further in to a virtual world, but viewers of movies might not be so happy to sacrifice sharp peripheral image for the impact of 3-D. We’ll have to wait until 2010 to see if 3-D proves to be a hit or miss in commercial markets.

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