3D TV Is Coming

Back in the 50s, 3D movies with red/green glasses were a novelty that thrilled the horror film fans. 3D movies are much more than a novelty these days, however, with the amazing success of the “U2 3D” and”Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus” concert films. Disney and Pixar continue to generate animated 3D features, and are even converting “Toy Story” and “Toy Story 2” to 3D versions.

As I’ve said before, it will be the local cinema experience that will pull through 3D video into the home for most consumers. And many companies are lining up to provide support for 3D HDTVs. Samsung and Mitsubishi already have rear projection DLP HDTVs with built-in 3D support. Hyundai and Spectroniq have LCD HDTV products that can show 3D content. And now there is a 3D@Home Consortium that aims to promote in-home 3D entertainment, backed by industry heavyweights including Samsung, Philips, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, Universal Studios Home Entertainment, and IMAX.

But perhaps the most interesting news came out of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) convention this past week in Las Vegas. A company named 3ality Digital provided a live broadcast of a sneak peak at a new game show from Howie Mandel. The event was captured at a studio in Burbank, and transmitted live as a single stream through satellite transmission to Las Vegas, where it was displayed at a digital screening room. What made this event special is that it was in 3D. The fact that it was live meant that there was no lengthy post-processing done to create the 3D effects; it was all done in real time.

The ability to broadcast live 3D content could be a huge factor in the adoption of the technology by consumers. What sports enthusiast wouldn’t want to be standing at center court with March Madness swirling around? Or be standing on the goal line as an NFL fullback dives for a touchdown attempt? 3D could add to the immersive effect of large screen television.

I’ve been a 3D skeptic in the past, but this is beginning to make a lot of sense to me.