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Fri, Jun 20, 2008 - Page 10 News List

Hyundai launches first product for 3D programs on Japanese cable channels

AP , TOKYO

Hyundai Japan senior manager Kim Pyeng-joong wears special glasses to watch a 3D screen displaying Tokyo Tower at his office in Tokyo on June 12. The company is selling a 46-inch liquid-crystal-display digital TV on the Japanese market.

PHOTO: AP

Badminton matches look so real playing on Hyundai’s new 3D TV that you may reflexively dodge the shuttlecock. A polar bear pawing the glass of his tank may seem to be inside the TV pushing on the screen.

Hyundai is offering — in Japan only — the first product for watching the 3D programs that cable stations in Japan now broadcast about four times a day.

PRICEY HOBBY

There are, however, a few catches.

The 46-inch liquid-crystal display requires 3D glasses; it’s expensive — US$3,960, including two pairs of glasses, or about 25 percent more than a comparable regular LCD TV; and the only programs available so far include just a few minutes of video from Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido — shots from the zoo, motorcycle-races and other short scenes.

PLAIN OLD TV

Seen on regular TVs, 3D programs split the screen vertically so the same image appears in both the left and right halves.

Conversely, wearing the 3D glasses while watching regular programming on the Hyundai 3D TV produces a slight 3D effect.

The TV uses stereoscopic technology called TriDef from DDD Group Plc in Santa Monica, California, which works by sending the same image separately for the left eye and the right eye.

Ryo Saito of BS 11, the cable channel that runs the 3D shows, says more content is needed for the technology to catch on, and other manufacturers need to start making 3D televisions.

“People are showing interest in 3D programs, but most homes don’t have the special TVs,” he said.

SAMSUNG

Samsung already sells 3D rear projection TVs in the US, but there are no 3D TV broadcasts in the US. The technology is also available on desktop monitors and for video games.

Hyundai IT is hoping to boost its image by gaining a niche audience in Japan, where the TV market is dominated by Sony Corp and Sharp Corp. The South Korean electronics maker’s 3D TV went on sale in April, but unit sales numbers weren’t available.

There is no plan to sell the TV overseas, Hyundai Japan senior manager Kim Pyeng-joong said.

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