2010 was the year in which 3D technology really entered the mainstream. After sixty years of trying a variety of different techniques, the film studies finally cracked the art of producing films in high quality 3D. As with so much that starts in the film world, technology companies are now working on turning the 3D technology in our cinemas into 3DTVs that we can enjoy in our own living rooms.
There are several obstacles that need to be overcome before 3D television sets become the norm in our homes. First of all, there is the relative lack of 3D programming, although Sky have blazed a trail with the launch of their dedicated 3DTV channel (which was, at the time, the first in Europe).
This, however, is a relatively insignificant problem compared to the usage of glasses, which makes a real difference. In the cinema it’s fine to wear special glasses for 3D, it’s only for an hour or two and it’s part of the viewing experience, but in your house, it’s a completely different matter and many experts believe that until glasses-less 3D is perfected, people are going to be reluctant to buy the television sets.
To that end Toshiba have been working round the clock to produce a 3D television set that doesn’t require glasses. The end product is incredible, featuring nine different overlapping images and a computer processor big enough to fire a Playstation 3. The overlapping images mean that each eye sees something different and produces the illusion of 3D.
Unfortunately, even with their most advanced prototype, you still need to be sat in a rather specific place for the effect to work. This is potentially fine for gaming, but if you wanted to sprawl out on the sofa, or even have several people watching the same screen, the 3D effect just isn’t convincing. For that reason, many of the other major manufacturers have stuck with 3D with glasses so far.
Some cynics are unsure as to whether glasses-less 3D will ever actually really work, and even if it does, whether several people will be able to watch the same screen and enjoy the 3D at the same time. With the technology developing rapidly, and with major broadcasters taking an interest in 3DTV, it seems only a matter of time before the perfect television set is made, but until then it’s unlikely that 3D will ever really get out of the cinema.