Monday, February 18, 2013

Ultra High Resolution Monocular Video: The Future of 3-D?

With ultra high resolution monocular panoramic video attracting “casual” videophiles near the end of 2012, is high-res video for the one-eyed viewer the future of 3-D?  

By: Ringo Bones 

Around the winter of 2012 and in the 2013 CES show in Las Vegas, various video schemes offering better resolution than the current standard 1080p HDTV seems to be getting more interest and kudos from the public at large – as if the concept of 3-D at home and even glass-free 3-D video seems to be yesterdays news. But is the public at large simply fallen out of love with 3-D video? 

At the moment, there are two versions of ultra-high resolution video vying for consumer acceptance. There’s the 4K UHDTV with a 2160p or 3840 X 2160 / 8.3 megapixel resolution – 4 times that of current 1080p HDTV. At the moment, “native” 4K UHTV videos are few and far between but add-on video resolution enhancement boxes already exist (but still a bit pricey) to convert existing 1080p video from Blu-Ray DVD to 4K resolution. And at around the tail end of 2012, dedicated 4K resolution capable video and still digital cameras entered the market for those well-heeled video DIYers who want to create their own truly native 4K resolution videos and still pictures. Though the wide panoramic displays at the 2013 CES show that feature native 4K images are what mostly attracting new converts away from true binocular 3-D video. 

On the other hand 8K UHDTV is still a largely experimental “vaporware” from NHK Tokyo that offers 4320p or 7680 X 4320 or 33,2 megapixel resolution offers 16 times the resolution of current 1080p HDTV. Native 8K UHDTV videos and 8K UHDTV capable video displays had been wowing viewers during the 2013 CES show in Las Vegas too and seem set to compete and supersede any lower resolution rivals. But NHK says that their system will gain full bloom once very large (100-inch or larger) graphine-based flexible and transparent video displays becomes standard and affordable enough in the home. And NHK’s 8K UHDTV comes with a 22.2 (22 channels worth of left, center, right, wrap-around surround sound with 2 channels for the subs) surround sound as standard. 

Strangely, NHK’s 8K UHDTV has the same resolution as that of a dedicated 350-mm IMAX film and one of the reason the powers that be at NHK is also keeping their options open for a dedicated 3-D and even a glassless / goggle free 3-D video system for the home by 2020 or later. Sadly, many in the consumer electronics industry and consumers in particular had become jaded about 3-D in the home concept saying that it had been the most over-marketed product in the consumer audio-video market during the last two years. And some had even abandoned their quest of a much consumer friendly 3-D. Though our current austere fiscal post-subprime environment might not be so 3-D video friendly at the moment, the promise of an ultra-high resolution / ultra-high definition glassless / goggles free 3-D technology in the home with an IMAX like 8K UHDTV resolution that comes with a 22.2 channel surround sound / wrap-around sound could be the beginnings of a truly immersive Star Trek style holo-deck like virtual reality entertainment center for the home is just too tempting for the consumer electronic manufacturing giants to ignore.