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Jumping out the screen – The Rise of 3D

posted by Evelina

Back in 2009 we were seeing 3D films start to become very popular with the release of James Cameron’s Avatar:  “gross sales increased over 60% for films exhibited in 3D as compared to traditional film, and this increase is due to higher prices and higher attendance” Nielsen Consumer Insight 2009 tells us. This is great news for the 3D industry as revenue is one of the highest contributing factors in whether a technology becomes popular and is invested in.

It seems that 2011 is the year that 3D technology will be in the mainstream as many of the major electronics manufacturers are making or starting to make equipment that includes it.

3D TVWe have recently seen the release of several 3D TV’s, for example the Samsung 46inch 3D LCD TV, the Sony 3D Bravias, and will see the release of many more in the near future: “Sony predicted 3D will become as accepted as colour TV” say City AM. This may be the case, but the only downside is that at the moment nearly all 3D TV’s need 3D glasses to view them and it is one of the major barriers to the mass acceptance of 3D TV.

But in October 2010 Toshiba announced the arrival of the first commercially available 3D TV that you can use without glasses (Toshiba REGZA no glasses 3D TV were on sale end of December 2010). It went on sale in Japan only, in 12 inch and 20 inch models and is a good first step in proving that 3D TV without glasses is technically possible and also commercially viable. The televisions use a special lenticular sheet to create an array of nine overlapping images so a viewer sees different images with each eye, creating the illusion of a 3D picture – it is a similar technology to the 3D posters that are available in the shops. Lenticular lenses also have another benefit as they make it possible to see multiple images from many angles and therefore allow more than one person to view the screen at the same time.

Recently Sky have launched Europe’s first dedicated 3D television channel, whilst Virgin has launched a 3D movie channel, this is a great step forward and gives early 3D TV adopters the choice of many more things to view which will help ensure the technology’s popularity  – but what about other 3D technology?

We have recently had the release of the Nintendo 3DS, a 3D handheld games Nintendo 3DSconsole which doesn’t need glasses in order to view the 3D games. It has been at the top of many website bestsellers lists even before it was launched. Amazon UK reported that the pre-order of the Nintendo 3DS was higher than any other game console: “20% more than Sony PS3, 56% than Nintendo Wii and 255% more than Nintendo DSi” says – which is remarkable figures when we think about the popularity of the other consoles that are mentioned.

One of the other new technology’s emerging are cameras like the FinePix REAL 3D W1 which has 2 lenses which enables it to create a 3D image that can be viewed on the camera, on the special digital frame they sell or you can have 3D prints made (although these are rather expensive) – we will find more of this type of camera emerging over time and hopefully if they gain popularity this will mean a reduction in the costs of prints and printing and there will be a range of 3D printed products from all size prints to 3D coasters, mouse mats and jigsaws – all the standard items that most photo printing companies offer.

With the emergence of 3D TV’s and of 3D still camera’s it isn’t any surprise that there are 3D camcorders emerging such as the Panasonic HDC-SDT750 3D HD, now consumers can make their own 3D movies in HD and there are others being released so there should be a good choice of camcorders soon.

All of these 3D products make us at think that 3D really, and finally, here to stay – we don’t think that it’ll go the way of red and green glasses that started in the 1950’s, as with better technology and more brands getting behind 3D we are sure that this time it will stick around for a long while.

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