New York — Mitsubishi said Tuesday it has entered cooperative agreements with NVIDIA and Aspen Media Products to distribute and promote use of PC-based 3-D video games with Mitsubishi DLP rear-projection sets.
Starting in July, the three companies will make 3-D gaming systems, including a Mitsubishi HD DLP TV set, Aspen Media Products Windows Media server and various 3-D video games, available for demonstrations in Fry’s Electronics and select A/V specialty stores before rolling out wider to about 300 stores of varying distribution channels across the country throughout the summer, said David Naranjo, Mitsubishi product development director.
Initially, the various components of the 3-D ensemble will be sold separately, Naranjo said, but the companies are working out a means of selling complete 3-D bundled packages down the road.
“Consumers will also now have a solution to buy,” Naranjo said. “These will be purchasable so consumers can take something home and actually experience 3-D.”
Aspen Media, which to date has offered Windows Media Center entertainment servers through custom installers, will make its first appearance in A/V specialty stores through the arrangement. NVIDIA is working with Mitsubishi “to also offer us a solution that will tie into the overall 3-D experience, combining various important aspects of the solution,” Naranjo said. NVIDIA will announce that added solution later.
John Oliver, Aspen Media Products CEO, said working with NVIDIA his company will supply a “full-blown Windows Media Center server” for the in-store 3-D gaming demonstrations. The server, model GL3158 ($1,999 suggested retail), runs a 2.4GHz AMD Dual Core processor, and has 1.5TB of hard disk space, 2GB of RAM and a GeForce 8800GTX GPU.
NVIDIA, which developed 3-D-capable GeForce FX Go series graphics processing units for PCs, is working to put the system components together for retail demos. Its GeForce 3-D stereoscopic technology is a driver for Windows Vista, which renders two views for stereoscopic display systems to show depth with Microsoft DirectX games. The 3-D stereoscopic driver is compatible with all GeForce 7 series and higher GPUs, which are compatible with Mitsubishi’s 3-D-ready, high-def, DLP rear-projection sets, NVIDIA said.
Naranjo said PC gaming represents the largest “gaming platform” of any video game system, and that virtually every new PC game written going forward will be 3-D capable. Naranjo said Mitsubishi is working on developing the 3-D TV market for downloadable games and movies in the future, and is in discussions with content producers, gaming developers and online distribution services to bring that capability to viewers in the near future.
“There are well over 100 million PC gamers out there in the U.S. alone,” said Naranjo. “Right now, about 1 million of those already have 3-D gaming capability through various NVIDIA solutions. We are looking at leveraging that and growing that segment of the market place.”
An NVIDIA spokesman said that, to date, 350 3-D PC video games have been certified by NVIDIA
“As long as the game is written in 3-D, we will be able to take advantage of everything the gaming developers have already put into the game to create 3-D depth,” the NVIDIA representative continued.
NVIDIA 3-D solutions will support all Mitsubishi DLP TVs and GeForce 7 and higher desktop GPUs, the company said.
As for the future viability of DLP rear-projection technology, Mitsubishi is betting that 3-D and its forthcoming LaserVue laser-based DLP TVs will reinvigorate the technology’s popularity.
Mitsubishi revealed that its initial LaserVue line will include 65-inch and 73-inch screen sizes with the 65-inch Diamond model shipping to authorized retailers in the third quarter of this year and the 73-inch Diamond to follow. The company also said the technology will deliver twice the color using half the power of flat-panel TVs.
“There is some real demand out there for large screen, whether it is flat-panel or DLP,” said Frank DeMartin, Mitsubishi marketing VP. “We see that demand continuing. The great thing about home theater TV is that it is a great value.”