Hollywood Eyes Apple's New iPad 3

Apple: iPad boasts more pixels that 1080p HDTVs.

Among the features announced on Wednesday for Apple’s third-generation iPad is a "retina" display with 2048 x 1536 pixel resolution (3.1 million pixels), which the company pointed out represents more pixels that 1080p HDTVs.

“Resolution goes up with every type of technology whether handheld or for the big screen. … This takes it to a whole new level,” said Ted Schilowitz, spokesperson for camera maker Red.

In addition to giving consumers a higher-resolution display for viewing content, the new iPad could also have advantages for filmmakers. "The higher resolution screen and 4G capability make it a great solution for on-set review/approval and remote collaboration,” suggested Jay Brooks, CTO and co-founder of software developer Simian.

Photos: Apple Products in TV and Movies

For Bryan Gonzalez, director of social & digital media technology labs at USC’s Entertainment Technology Center, the question becomes how big are the files that will be played on this wireless device. “16GB is is not a lot when you are thinking about (higher resolution) files,” he pointed out.

"Every new high-end offering in the handheld category ups the ante; consumers are becoming accustomed to higher quality and great content availability--so the theaters need to also continue to improve their experience for moviegoers beyond what even current film and digital can offer," observed Bob Lambert, CEO of The Digital Firm, an LA-based technology investment firm, who was previously head of technology strategy for Disney.

When studio consortium Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI) unveiled the first version of its digital cinema specification in 2005, it included flavors of both 2K and 4K resolution. At that time, the digital cinema projectors were offering 2K, but DCI included the 4K option with an eye toward the future.

Today every major digital cinema projector maker—Sony, Barco, NEC and Christie—offer 4K systems. Red has said that it is developing a 4K projector, for use from cinema to the home.

Camera makers from Red, the maker of the Epic, and Sony with its new F65 are also bullish about 4K and higher resolutions.

Other areas of production, including remastering and restoration, have gone even higher. James Cameron has famously remastered Titanic in 8K, which is 16 times the resolution of today's high definition. That is being used as the basis for a 2D to 3D conversion of the film, which will open in theaters next month.

Meanwhile Japan’s NHK is developing an 8K television system dubbed Ultra High Definition Television. UHDTV will be tested by NHK and the BBC at the upcoming London Olympics.

1080p HD is popular today in the television market, though the seeds of higher resolution are also evident. For instance, Sharp previewed a jaw-dropping 8K display technology, using NHK imagery, at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.