If the recent flurry of technological gizmos at CES is of any indication, 2010 will probably be defined by an overwhelming surge of 3D displays, 3D players, and what-have-you. However, make no mistake into thinking that creating a 3D home experience is just about putting on a fair of funky glasses.
Traditionally, stereoscopic movies and their accompanying paraphernalia have met with a fair share of hits and misses over the years. To date, cinema magnates have already deployed a mixture of RealD and Dolby 3D concoctions for the local market. Interestingly, a number of movie-goers have claimed that RealD's circular polarization technology is less nauseating than the latter two, apparently for RealD's less obvious flickers and lighter set of polarized glasses. Others, on the contrary, swear by their eyeballs that Dolby 3D is profoundly superior in terms of visual and color representations with a slimmer chance of ghosting. Compared to RealD, Dolby 3D does not require a specialized silver screen to function since it uses a different polarization technique known as "wavelength multiplex visualization". Which is better? You decide.
At the home theatre end, we are already bracing ourselves for a flood of 3D displays to arrive over the next few months. Industry players such as Sony, Panasonic, LG and Samsung will be at each other's throats in no time. Again, many pundits are likening this 3D resurgence to the early introduction of HD content in recent history, and I have to agree that they do share common similarities. Mass adoption would probably arrive, just not anytime soon. While your 3D TV is probably capable of converting 2D sources to 3D on the fly, the end result is most likely to be less impressive than pre-encoded 3D content. Not just that, if you're planning to install a Full-HD 3D home entertainment system, chances are you'll have to overhaul your existing setup. Besides the aforementioned 3D TV, you'll need a dedicated 3D Blu-ray deck, and yes, a 3D-ready audio and video receiver. Ouch. There aren't many receivers endowed with HDMI 1.4 (required to pass through 3D formats) currently, and that really sucks, doesn't it? On the bright side, Sony has just announced the STR-DN1010, a relatively affordable 7.1-channel AV receiver equipped with four HDMI 1.4 ports which accepts 3D video from compatible devices and processes them for suitable high definition 3D televisions. The DN1010 won't surface till June though, according to Sony.
it's going to be an expensive package. Like they say, good things don't come cheap. That is, if you decide 3D pictures are, ultimately, a good thing to have.
Andy Sim / Former Senior Tech Writer
Andy is a self-made geek with a penchant for good music and a hearty pint. His domain includes swanky TVs, notebooks and networking gizmos.