All this week I’ll be reporting from the Society for Information Display (SID) annual meeting which is being held this year in sunny (not) Seattle, Washington. This annual gathering of the worldwide display industry is the best place to take a peek over the horizon at what’s headed our way in terms of displays.
The symposium doesn’t start until today, but the week kicked off yesterday with the Business Conference which was jointly organized by SID and the market tracking firm DisplaySearch. The day was started by an interesting keynote address by Stan Glasgow, President and COO of Sony Electronics, whose presentation extolled the value of 3D in cinemas and at home. He also warned that “Sony feels that poor quality 3D threatens its success.” A cynical observer might have heard this message as an attempt to preserve the higher profit margins that 3D set current deliver. He also mentioned that Playstation 3 units will get a firmware upgrade to support 3D gaming, and another upgrade later that will provide support for 3D Blu-ray discs.
This last point might be of particular interest to fans of Avatar, James Cameron’s movie that broke the box office records. Later in the program, Peter Fannon, a Panasonic VP, was extolling the advantages of 3DTV. He mentioned that Panasonic has partnered with DirecTV in bringing about that service’s three 3D HDTV channels that will launch in June, and that the company will have a 3DTV camcorder on display in the SID exhibit hall this week (which I plan to check out). He then dropped a bombshell that some of the audience may have missed. It was almost an off-hand remark, as he was talking about how Panasonic is a partner on the Avatar project. He said Avatar will be available “soon” on 3D Blu-ray. He didn’t get specific about a release date, and it certainly was reasonable to speculate that this would happen eventually, but it was still a bit of a surprise given the fact that the 2D version was released so recently. A cynical observer might conclude that this is an attempt to get fans of the movie to buy the Blu-ray disc twice.