Enjoy a new dimension
The record-breaking success of James Cameron's Avatar heralded the dawn of a new era in 3-D films. You would imagine that life-like images can only be felt in the darkness of a cinema. But that was yesterday. Now you can sit back in your favourite couch at home, put up your feet and enjoy the full impact of a 3-D film.
Japanese consumer electronics giant Panasonic is among the companies that have joined the 3-D bandwagon. It recently launched the market's only 65-inch 3-D television that can play 3-D Blu-ray discs.
'The company has invited James Cameron to tune the settings of the iDTV himself so that viewers can watch the movie in the exact same way the director has in mind,' says Heung Yui-kong, AVM division manager of Shun Hing Group.
Despite the huge size of the television screen, Heung says its luminous nature can take care of the brightness problem for 3-D playback. Like many other companies, Panasonic gives away two pairs of 3-D eyewear with the television, but it also throws in a Blu-ray player and an unreleased Blu-ray version of Avatar.
'Customers can enjoy the incredible visual effect of the dragon flying right through the screen. The 3-D version will not hit the retail market for at least a year,' Heung says.
Advanced 3-D projectors have also been developed, such as JVC's DLA-X9 model.
'You need a sizeable screen to recreate the cinematic effects in a 3-D playback. And for bigger screens, it is really hard to get the brightness and contrast right. That's why we adopted the 100,000:1 Native Contrast Ratio for this flagship model. This is the highest industrial standard available,' says Heron Yau, JVC's marketing manager.
The 3-D projector passed 400 laboratory tests before being certified. 'It is the world's first projector to have done that and the only one available in the market,' Yau says.
Despite the wow factor of 3-D, consumers should beware of some issues.
'Regular 3-D players will render 3-D pictures darker and will strain the eyes of the viewers. So if you plan to build a 3-D home theatre, you need to make sure you are geared up for a higher degree of brightness to support 3-D playback,' says Asia HD Association chairman Alan Lee Pak-kuen.
Of course, 3-D is just one way to enjoy an evening at home. Bose, best known for its stylish, premium quality home entertainment equipment, has just launched a VideoWave entertainment system that will brighten any living room.
VideoWave is a smart all-in-one system with built-in speakers and surround sound in a 46-inch HD screen. The integrated system can make the myriad of wires, cables and gears disappear.
'This is a brand new category. For the first time, we combined the audio with the visual and kept their best quality. This is something the market has not seen before - a simple, user-friendly home theatre with superior quality,' says Santiago Carvajal, director for audio-video products at Bose.