Vendors at this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) paved the way for 3D entertainment in the home, with announcements from Toshiba, IMAX, Sony, Samsung and Panasonic.
On the heels of the massive success of the 3D sci-fi film "Avatar,"
the future of 3D entertainment in the home theater moved several steps closer
at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
3D technology leader RealD announced agreements with some of the industry's
top consumer electronics brands, including Sony, JVC, Samsung, Toshiba and
Panasonic, to support the stereoscopic RealD Format for the delivery and
display of high-definition 3D in the home. Many of these companies said
they will also work with RealD to develop premium active (shutter) glasses and
passive glasses compatible with their 3D-enabled displays.
Toshiba said it plans to introduce 3D into its Regza lineup of Full-HD LCD TVs
in 2010, and RealD recently announced an alliance for the integrated support of
the stereoscopic RealD Format into Sony's Bravia LCD high-definition TVs and
other upcoming consumer products, as well as with JVC for its LCD monitors,
Samsung for its lineup of 3D TVs and Panasonic for the company's Full HD 3D
The RealD Format is a proprietary version of a side-by-side 3D format that
uses a set of technologies to multiplex a left eye and right eye 3D image
stream into a single channel. The RealD Format is capable of delivering
high-definition 3D content to any 3D-enabled display type using current HD
After the slew of partners was revealed, an avalanche of 3D technologies,
partnerships and products was unleashed at the show, including announcements
from Technicolor, which introduced several innovations to support the consumer
electronic industry's migration to 3D, including technologies for Blu-ray 3D,
broadcast 3D, 3D subtitling, and auto-stereoscopic 3D delivery to mobile handsets.
In addition, Samsung, DreamWorks Animation and Technicolor announced a global
strategic alliance for the delivery of "a complete 3D home entertainment
solution" in 2010.
Also, Discovery Communications, Sony and IMAX
announced plans to launch the first 24/7 dedicated 3D television network in the
with a goal of driving consumer adoption of 3D televisions and giving the
network long-term leadership in the 3D home marketplace. In the future, the
companies also will explore international distribution opportunities in
selected markets. Discovery will provide network services, including affiliate
sales and technical support functions, as well as 3D television rights to
Discovery content and cross-promotion across its portfolio of 13 U.S.
Sony will provide advertising/sponsorship sales support, and will seek to
license television rights to current and future 3D feature films, music-related
3D content and game-related 3D content, while providing cross-promotion at
retail stores. IMAX also will license
television rights to future 3D films, promotion through its owned-and-operated
movie theaters across the United States,
and a suite of proprietary and patented image enhancement and 3D technologies.
In December, the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) announced the finalization
and release of the Blu-ray 3D specification, laying the groundwork for 3D
entertainment at home. The Blu-ray 3D specification is also designed to allow
Sony PS3 game consoles to play back Blu-ray 3D content in 3D. Additionally, the
specification supports playback of 2D discs in forthcoming 3D players and can
enable 2D playback of Blu-ray 3D discs on the installed base of Blu-ray Disc
Nathan Eddy is Associate Editor, Midmarket, at eWEEK.com. Before joining eWEEK.com, Nate was a writer with ChannelWeb and he served as an editor at FierceMarkets. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.