3-D technology continues to be on a roll. Last week four major Hollywood studios were on the verge of a billion-dollar deal to expand the number of 3-D movie screens -- see Studios, theaters seen announcing digital cinema deal that will boost 3-D.
Now this week we have the introduction of the world's first 3-D video and still image recording and display product, the new Fuji FinePix Real 3D System -- see Fujifilm pushes consumer 3-D camera. Over a decade ago some companies, most notably Toshiba, introduced 3-D camcorders, but they suffered from the requirement that viewers use "shutter glasses" to view the 3-D images on a regular TV screen (the system used alternate video fields for left and right stereoscopic images).
The new Fuji camera has a built in 3-D LCD screen for playback, and this 2.8-inch screen requires no glasses. It has been my observation that the smaller the 3-D screen, the less objectionable the problems of the no-glasses LCD technology, so this sounds like a good match.
The missing link in all this, of course, is the big home screen -- the 3-D version of the living room TV. There will be a considerable amount of 3-D content available once this screen becomes available, as numerous 3-D animated films have been released theatrically in recent years, "Journey to the Center of the Earth" is expected to be the first of many new live-action 3-D films (there are also many from the 1950s), and Dreamworks recently announced that all future animated films will be made in 3-D. And Blu-ray discs have been shown capable of holding 3-D HD movies.
It all comes down to the home screen. As mentioned in my previous blog, Sony recently showed an LCD 3DTV requiring movie-style polarized glasses, and it was excellent.
In my opinion, if theatrical movie audiences are willing to put up with these lightweight glasses and pay a premium on the ticket price too, then polarized glasses will prove OK for home viewing -- but with one condition: the consumer must be able to "flick a switch" -- press a button on the remote -- and go back to normal 2-D viewing. So the 3-D becomes a special occasion feature, used for watching movies or other "full attention" content, while the 2-D mode is more commonly used for background or casual TV viewing.