3D HD cellphone video: a killer app for next decade storage

Terabyte notebooks are coming in a couple of years. But what will we fill them with?
Written by Robin Harris, Contributor

Terabyte notebooks are coming in a couple of years. But what will we fill them with? Glad you asked. How about 3D HDTV cell phone footage? Don't laugh. It's coming.

Flashback When I bought my first external hard drive - 30 MB for $300 - I couldn't imagine filling it up. And that was true of each successive hard drive purchase until my interest in video. Video changes things in a way that even 10 MP photos and MP3s don't: video eats storage.

According to Nikkei Electronics Asia

. . . the development of HDTV compatible mobile phones is progressing apace. 720p compatible processors are already here, and 1080p compatible products will likely arrive in 2008. By 2009 mobile phones will incorporate HDMI connectors.

When you start shooting HDTV with your cell phone the question is where will you keep it all? At 10 GB per hour, a terabyte notebook doesn't look so big - especially when friends start sending you their favorite clips.

What about 3D? Seiko Epson Corp. has developed a prototype 3-D display targeted at cell phones. Even though it is only 2 1/2 inches the display has a full 1024 by 768 resolution. Epson claims

. . . sharp, vivid 3D images over a wider viewing zone than was previously possible. While 3D displays have often traded off resolution for enhanced 3D effects, Epson has successfully improved the perceived image quality by using "step 3D pixel array" technology.

Here's diagram of the technology, courtesy of the fine folks at Epson.

The Storage Bits take This is a great application for 4-level MLC flash - how many thousands of hours of video will the average cell phone owner shoot? - and 3D content will drive consumer demand for 3D displays and massive storage.

If the cell phone vendors sell them - the 3D display is the weak link - the networks will also have to beef up their bandwidth. But Hollywood is looking for the Next Big Thing in home entertainment.

Right now, 3D video is the most likely prospect. There is a downside: Paris Hilton style sex videos in stunning high-def 3D.

I'll pass.

Comments welcome, of course.

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