Sky launching 3D television in the UK

Gunug Rinjani Summit
Creative Commons License photo: NeilsPhotography

According to a Digital Spy report, we could be seeing 3D television in our homes by the end of the year.

Digital television (satellite) broadcaster BSkyB plans to provide the 3D service through its existing Sky HD playout and set top box system. The broadcaster trialed this out first last December and has filmed several sporting events in HD.

Of course, 3D television relies on delivering a slightly different image to each eye. There are several different technologies to do this:

  • Red-Blue Glasses. The oldest and most infamous form of 3D. Normally, all TV pictures are made up of a combination of red, green and blue. In this system, the red channel is used to deliver a picture to your left eye and the blue channel to your right eye. You need to place a red filter over your left eye to eliminate the blue channel and vice versa. It’s great because it works with any screen, but it looks strange and it’s uncomfortable.
  • Polarised Light. The TV set emits light which is orthogonally polarised, depending on which eye it is intended for. For example, vertically polarised light for the left eye and horizontally polarised light for the right eye. By using polarisation filters, each eye only sees the image intended for it. This gives a much nicer image than using red-blue glasses but obviously requires technology in the TV to create polarised light.
  • Sharp’s 3D Display. I was lucky enough to see a demonstration of this a few years ago and to play Quake in 3D. It’s pretty cool. I won’t go into the full details of how it works: but only one person can use the display at once and they have to be sat in the exact right position for the system to work at all.

Sky have, rather sensible, opted for the polarised light system for 3D television.

Perhaps this is the killer application that HD needs.

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