Monday, February 7, 2011

3D Smartphones, Yes! 3D Television with Glasses Required, No!

About a week ago I read an article in the Joongang Daily that was completely devoted to a standards dispute between two different standards for 3D television, both of which require that the viewer wear specially-purchased glasses!  It turns out there are two kinds of 3D technology in use:  active shutter glasses and passive polarized glasses.   Read the article if you're interested in further details.
Last year I toured Samsung Electronics headquarters in Suwon with some international visitors and had a chance to personally try out 3D television, with and without glasses.  I will go on record here and now, predicting that any 3D television technology that requires the use of glasses will likely be a non-starter in the global market and may serve a small niche market at best.  For the reasons why, ask anyone who has worn glasses and think about how this relates to the television viewing experience, especially when a person is out of the home or office, and "on the go."
Consequently, I was very interested to read in the Chosun Ilbo that LG Electronics is set to debut a 3D smartphone at the 2011 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona later this month.   It reportedly allows a viewer to see 3D content without glasses, at a distance of 30-50 cm from the screen.  Now this is a technology that makes sense and will seem natural to users.  Expect to see 3D television become popular on smart phones and small devices, long before it (at least the type that requires glasses) hits the big screen.  If you have good arguments against this scenario, I'd like to hear them.

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