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The Power Of 3D

By Cheryl Ajluni

Much to the dismay of anyone who recently splurged on a new Blu-ray disk player or flat-panel HDTV, 3D stereoscopic content has become the talk of the town or, in this case, the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show.

Sure, we’ve been down this road before. After all, 3D is nothing new. But it now appears ready to explode into the home in the form of 3D television (Figure 1). Bolstered by what some have termed the “Avatar effect,” many in the electronics industry are hoping the technology will spur some much needed market growth. As Eisuke Tsuyuzaki, chief technology officer at Panasonic explains, “We need top-line growth right now, we need something to kick us out of where we are today, and the thing that’s going to get us there is 3D.”

Unfortunately there are many challenges that lie ahead for 3D stereoscopic content - whether it’s intended for a television display, Blu-ray disks, games, live broadcast channels, or any range of handheld devices. 3D production can be very expensive and complex. Additionally, creating 3D content requires a tremendous amount of computing power and that, according to Paul Otellini, president and CEO of Intel, means that powerful microprocessors must play a central role in the transition to 3D content creation. But does the increase in 3D content and computing power also translate into increasingly power-hungry devices?

If 3D HDTV’s draw more power will consumers be as inclined to jump on the 3D bandwagon? Will they really be willing to trade the benefits of the 3D experience for the price of a new television and the accompanying higher electricity bill that will follow each month? What if the 3D content is embedded in a battery-operated handheld device? Would consumers welcome the 3D experience at the price of shorter battery life? Somehow this just doesn’t seem like the kind of tradeoff economy-weary consumers are going to make. So, energy efficiency remains a big selling point, but where will it come from?

Otellini thinks the answer may lie with the creation of more efficient microprocessors - something his company just so happens to have worked on in its attempt to aid in the transition of computing from the computer and into the world at large. As he pointed out in his recent CES 2010 keynote speech, “Computing is no longer confined to your computer - it’s everywhere. Advances in connectivity, intuitive user interfaces, immersive content and computer chip performance have allowed computing to move into new areas. Computing moving into all manner of devices and experiences all around us improves our personal productivity and enjoyment.” The recent advances in 3-D stereoscopic content are just one example of how this vision is being realized today.

BUILDING A LOW-POWER FOUNDATION

Powering this vision will be a slew of efficient low-power processors, like the ones Intel created and recently introduced at CES. Here it announced more than 25 Intel Core processors (the Intel Core i3, Intel Core i5 and Intel Core i7 processors) for laptops, desktop PCs and embedded devices.

To read the entire article, please visit: http://chipdesignmag. com/lpd/blog/2010/01/14/the-power-of-3d/