3D Media Finally Goes Mainstream

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3D Media Finally Goes Mainstream

The recent spate of 3D movies, including "Avatar," "Shrek," and "Alice in Wonderland," represented the first wave of a media revolution that has been trying to get off the ground for more than half a century. Now it seems that the technology might have come of age — at least enough to allow entrants to begin trying out their first offerings on the marketplace.

As reported in The Observer, 1 Sony has already launched a number of 3D games for PlayStation 3 that work with the most recent Sony Bravia 3D
television sets. According to PCWorld, 2 Sony is counting on 3D television sets to constitute up to half the market in 2012 and is betting that entertainment in general is heading toward 3D in a big way. Hence its recent roll-out of 3D television sets, 3D Blu-ray Disc players, and a 3D PlayStation 3. Sony will soon offer a 3D firmware update for older PlayStation models and is actively working with the Blu-ray Disc Association to establish a worldwide standard for 3D transmission, recording, and playback.

The television sets are conventional in many ways, but they have an additional hardware assembly embedded that allows them to show 3D. The price premium will not be high, as most of the set is based on existing technology. However, the glasses that viewers will be required to wear, unlike those in the theater, will cost about $200 and may well be sold separately, as well as bundled.

While buyers may balk at the price tag — after all, the glasses in the movie theater cost just three bucks — glasses for 3D TV are not simple lenses. They're called "active shutter" glasses and are part of the technology of the television set itself. They're controlled by an infrared generator or a Bluetooth transmitter. The television sends a signal to the glasses to rapidly open and close each eye, creating a flicker that is synchronized with the rapidly changing images on the TV set. The viewer doesn't notice the flicker, just as he won't notice the refresh rate on a conventional television or the changing frames of a movie. These take place too fast to be noticed. But because the 3D TV alternates between two different points of view on the subject, the flicker produced by the glasses gives the illusion of three dimensions.

Sony is attempting to dominate the 3D market as a way of pulling the company out of the doldrums. It has a television division that is working on content and has already released several 3D movies. The company has plans to move into sports as well, where it believes viewers are willing to pay more for an enhanced experience. The content will stream from Sony's own servers directly to Bravia TV sets and Blu-ray Disc players...

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