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Samsung PN58c7000 3D Plasma HDTV

How Close To A Commercially Viable Holographic TV

As 3DTV at last begins to make real inroads into the consumer market, thoughts are inevitably turning to the question of what might be the next big thing in the field of television. The majority of media pundits and industry experts believe that holographic TV will be the next leap forward in home visual entertainment – but also that it may be quite some years yet before it is ready for the average person’s living room.

Samsung PN58c7000 3D Plasma HDTV
Samsung PN58c7000 3D Plasma HDTV

The current position

As things stand, holographic TV is not really established outside the laboratory anywhere in the world. The two main problems are, as they tend to be with innovations of this sort, technological complexity and simple cost. The two are, of course, related: only the most extreme – and wealthy – technophiles are going to splash out the huge sums required for a first-generation holographic TV, especially given that very few programmes are likely to be broadcast this way at first. Even in Japan, a country renowned for its innovative attitude to TV and its willingness to embrace new technologies before most other nations, there is surprisingly little sign of large-scale progress.

Recent developments

Despite this lack of immediate progress, the Japanese did lay down a marker as part of their bid for the 2022 World Cup: they proposed to project live holographic representations of games onto physical football pitches the world over, allowing fans to get a better idea of the progress of each match. However, Japan lost out to Qatar, which has decided to stick to more conventional technologies. Elsewhere, there have been bullish predictions made in the United States that the first commercially viable holographic sets may be imminent, although there is considerable disagreement about what the word “imminent” actually means. One significant sticking point is refresh rate: although the 15 frames per second (fps) figure now attainable is a huge improvement on that available just a couple of years ago, it still lags behind the 24 to 30 fps achieved with conventional film technologies.

The future of holographic TV

Despite some impressive advances in technology in recent times, it seems likely that the day when the majority of homes are watching holographic TV as a matter of course is still fairly distant. The technological problems involved, together with the extremely high cost, suggest that, for the near future at least, holographic broadcasting is likely to remain very much a niche proposition. 3DTV, after a slow start, has shown strong growth in very recent times, and it may be that some yet to be imagined breakthrough in holography allows the same to happen there. Without such a breakthrough, although the first commercial sets could be trickling on to the market as soon as 2017, it could well be as much as a decade before holographic TV becomes of any real significance in the consumer market.

Alastair Kane blogs about technology is his spare time. He supplied this article for LG. To find out more about Led TV With Freeview HD Built In From LG come and visit our website.

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