Perfecting 3D HD Without the Geeky Glasses

No one knows for certain exactly how many CE manufacturers may be working on some future form of 3D, but some firms currently testing prototypes of multidimensional video include Philips, Orange and SeeReal Technology.

The makers, working with current digital technology, are using a form of holography with so-called Viewing Window Technology to attempt to answer several technical challenges, including how to reduce the number of pixels required to produce sufficient 3D quality. (A new form of 3D was demonstrated at some trade shows in the past year, although that technology requires special eyeglasses.)

Orange is working on a glasses-less 3D TV service that someday it hopes will be a key element for its envisioned 100 Mbps fiber optic broadband service now being beta-tested in Paris, which is Orange’s main base. One reporter detailed a recent demo at Orange where, in a TV commercial, a glass of beer “looks as though you could lift it off the screen, and then there’s a demo of a computer game in genuine 3D with bullets flying at you. Four professionally cynical journalists are silenced for once,” said The Guardian in London.

Some of the current 3D experimentation features different images for each eye by manipulating the angling of the images. In Orange’s trials, up to eight separate images of the same object are employed. (Fewer images had created nausea in earlier testers.) Yet Orange said a major drawback to rolling out any new form of 3D in the near future is simply the lack of quality content.

Apart from some IMAX features, there are only a couple of 3D Hollywood motion pictures set to be released in 2009 by a few of the big name directors, which 3D proponents hope could start the 3D ball rolling. But whether even the talents of Steven Spielberg and James Cameron are enough to pique sufficient interest in 3D cinema to accelerate it in two years is yet to be seen.