What Lies Ahead for 3DTVs?
The concept of 3D televisions is a rather new occurrence in the field of entertainment, but the technology behind them has been around for decades. By projecting a television program into a three-dimensional form by using a variety of different displays (stereoscopic, 2D+depth, multiview), the user is then able to see a 3D image with glasses and more recently, without the glasses. In order to understand where these contraptions originated and where they are taking us, it is vital that we look at the past, present and projected future of the 3D TV.
In The Past
The first 3D image was created of Queen Victoria at The Great Exhibition in 1851. Changes in technology did not permit large advances and it was 1915 before the first “3D movie” was debuted in public. The first color 3D movie followed in 1935 and by the 1950s, many movies were being made in 3D and shown across the United States in theaters. Over the past decade, a renaissance of 3D entertainment has occurred and the first “3D-ready” TVs (those that work through a pair of 3D glasses) began to appear on the market, despite being astronomically expensive.
The Present Day
Within just the past two years, 3D-ready TVs have begun to transition into full-fledged 3DTVs that offer 3D viewing without the need of glasses. Toshiba was the first company to debut a full 3DTV in 2011, and since then there have been several other manufacturers to release similar models and in January 2012, the first 3D TV channel was launched in China. The channel in question plays host to a full 5 hours of 3D programming each day and is publicly available. Currently, over three million people have 3D-capable television sets in their homes in the United States.
Active 3D screens and bulky glasses will give way to passive 3D systems that are embedded directly into the television. We may even see some initiatives in 3D Web TV. While this technology will increase the price of the television in the short-run, it will lead to a more pleasurable and realistic experience when viewing it. The future of 3D televisions will resemble that of a holographic system more than anything, as viewers will ultimately not need any expensive (or cheap, for that matter) glasses to view the 3D programming in its intended form. This technology in its entirety, however, is still at least a decade away but those who wish to enjoy full-3D systems today can do so; the downside is that most full-3D TV sets cost upwards of $4,000 for a quality 42”-47” name brand unit.