3D TVs are Available Now
I was at my local big-box electronics store on the weekend where they had a 55″ Samsung 3D TV running. The picture looked funny to me, but one of the other customers, who I suspect had been sitting there for a while, immediately handed over his 3D glasses and told me to try it out. It was awesome.
It was the kind of experience that was once limited to theme parks and special events.
3D media in general is not new; the first 3D camera was patented in the year 1900. Many early prints and movies used red/blue glasses to present 3D images. This technique is called Anaglyph. The color filters are a basic way to present separate images to both your eyes from a single frame, which gives you the perception that some objects are closer than others. The downside is that everything is either red or blue.
I remember Captain EO at Disneyland back in the 80s, that was the first 3D film I saw without the red/blue lenses (although they were invented in the 1950s). In most cases, theaters use glasses with polarized clear lenses. The polarized lenses are different, each one filters out light waves that do not oscillate in the same orientation as the polarization. The projection system projects two images, one that will be filtered out by right lens and one for the left. This allows us to have a full color 3D experience. Although the projection system is very expensive, polarized glasses are fairly cheap and that’s why they’re the primary choice for theaters.
In 2003, 3D films started gaining in popularity, showing up in regular and IMAX theaters. Now, many local theaters have at least one 3D projection system. Some of the films in this time have included: Bugs! (2003), The Polar Express (2004), Chicken Little (2005), Nightmare Before Christmas (2006), Beowulf (2007), Meet the Robinsons (2007), Bolt (2008), Coraline (2009), Up (2009) and of course Avatar (2009).
There were many more, but those are some of the more popular ones. Since there have been so many 3D movies in the theaters, 3D home theater will let you enjoy those movies in all their glory over and over again.
There are a few different technologies that will be competing for your living room. The Samsung TV that you can buy right now is not a polarized lens technology, it uses shutter glasses.
That means each lens on the glasses acts like a camera shutter. The lens can “close” so no light comes through at all. It does this electronically, and it does it many times per second so you don’t even notice it. While the glasses block one eye, the TV will show an image to the other eye, then the glasses will block the other eye and the TV will show a perspective for that eye. Because this repeats so quickly, it appears as if you are seeing a single 3D image.
There are other 3D TVs that do not require glasses. I saw one of these a couple years ago in a production studio and it was mind blowing. But they have limited viewing angles and distances, so they will be more popular for advertising/billboard use than home televisions, at least until the viewing angles can be improved.
The 3D movie selection is a bit limited at this time, but if you’ve got $3500 burning a hole in your pocket, head over to your local electronics shop and pickup the 3D TV, 3D blu-ray player and some shutter glasses.
Written By: Chad Upton
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