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Sunday, July 29, 2012

China Becomes Latest Nation to Launch Dedicated 3D TV Channel

China has launched its first dedicated 3D TV channel, making it the latest in a line of countries hopping onboard the 3D bandwagon. Sky launched the first ever dedicated 3DTV channel in Europe in 2010, while viewers in Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, America and Latin America can all enjoy dedicated 3D channels at home now too.

Chinese broadcasters, and TV manufacturers, hope that the new channel will encourage Chinese consumers to switch some of their 500 million standard TV sets for 3D-capable ones, providing a much-needed boost to the country’s economy in the process. Users of one of China’s Twitter alternatives, Sina Weibo, gave a mixed reaction, with some keen to try out the new service, while others are planning to wait until glasses-free 3D TV sets hit the shelves and become more affordable before making the TV upgrade.

Current 3DTV sets use two main methods of creating 3D imagery with 3D glasses worn by the user. Active 3DTV sets require battery-powered glasses, containing LCD lenses, which display a separate image for the right and left eye in quick succession using rapid-fire shutters. Passive 3DTV glasses, on the other hand, don’t require batteries, as they use polarisation to project two separate images onto the right and left eye at once.

However, new generation 3D-capable TV does all of this image trickery onscreen, with the TV screen coated in a special filter, so glasses aren’t needed for the viewer to experience the 3-dimensional effect. These autostereoscopic 3D TVs, or Auto 3D TVs, use tiny lenses to sense where viewers are sitting, and essentially aims 3D imagery at the left and right eye of each viewer.

With some users put off by the need to wear special 3D glasses, the success of 3D TVs may rest on the effectiveness of this new glasses-free technology, as well as the range of 3D programming available.

Content is growing, with Sky reportedly considering adding a dedicated 3D sports channel to its range of channels this year. Their current 3D channel has already meant that football fans could enjoy the European football championships in 3D, as well as the Formula One British Grand Prix and Wimbledon finals, and sports fans can also look forward to the first ever 3D coverage of the Olympic Games when they kick off in London on 27th July this summer.

This article was produced in association with Sky.
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