During the early eras of IT development, the concept of integrating 3D technology was not high on the list of priorities for developers. But one company insists 3D is coming to our computers and Internet experience.
According to Matt Liszt, vice president of marketing for MasterImage 3D, the new visual technology is coming to computers and the online world whether audiences are ready for it or not -- but that arrival might not be on standard laptop or desktop computer screens.
“We believe 3D will hit the online entertainment world in 2012 with the emergence of glasses-free 3D-enabled mobile devices,” Lizst told me. “This technology already exists today in smartphones and tablets, and the image quality is bright, sharp, and immersive. Even former skeptics can appreciate the experience and find it quite beautiful.”
Since users want 3D content without glasses whenever possible, Lizst said 3D PCs might be a non-starter for now.
The big question will be: How desirable is 3D for consumers and computer users? The debate still rages in the movie business as to whether audiences really want and enjoy 3D movies. Do moviegoers seek out 3D experiences? Or do they simply have no choice? In that light, will 3D cause conflict within the Internet world?
“Even with all of the new 3D movies in theaters and the big push of 3D televisions, the online entertainment world today remains predominantly in 2D,” says Liszt.
There are a handful of 3D notebooks equipped with active 3D eyewear for 3D Blu-rays and 3D gaming (thanks to Nvidia's 3D Vision).
While we will still see the value in cozying-up to a home viewing of Hugo or watching the Super Bowl with 3DTVs, we also see that 3D will burst into the home with the mass-market, personal convenience of glasses-free 3D mobile devices that are touch-enabled, 4G-connected and loaded-up with 3D content -- whether premiums on your favorite streaming video service (like Netflix) or games and apps on the App Store or Android Marketplace.
To that end, MasterImage 3D, founded in Seoul in 2004, has two lines of business -- 3D cinema systems and 3D display technology for mobile devices. They manufacture glass for LCD screens that makes it possible to view 3D on smartphones or tablets without the need for special eyewear.
Glass from MasterImage 3D was on display at a tradeshow earlier this year:
So far, so good. But can online technologies emerging in the IT world take 3D in directions we haven't seen yet?
“We are banking on it, but there are several steps to this process,” Liszt said.
The first is a frictionless distribution channel for Hollywood 3D movies. That currently depends on 3D TVs and Blu-rays. It's believed that by the end of 2014 there will be a 3D movie catalogue of roughly 250 films. With all this 3D content, it just makes sense for the likes of Netflix, Hulu, or Vudu to start incorporating it into their business models.
Liszt says wider use of 3D will also require a cross-platform model for cable networks that already have invested in 3D programming, such as ESPN, BskyB, and 3Net (the joint venture among Sony, Imax, and Discovery). And independent 3D production studios will need exposure on their own portals or someone else’s.
In the meantime, the fate of mobile-based 3D technology will rely on the proliferation of smartphones with dual-lens still-and-video cameras. Components for these kinds of devices are already available from semiconductor companies like Qualcomm or Nvidia, Liszt states.
Bottom line? 3D is coming this year on mobile devices, if MasterImage 3D has its way. “We are primed to monetize the adoption of 3D mobile devices by the end of 2012 and into 2013,” Liszt says. “We believe this will be the start of a whole new business for 3D content creators across online entertainment categories.”
I just saw a 3D movie with the glasses and thought that while the 3D effects generate a few "wow" moments, they don't really make the movie for me. As for the glasses, I put them over my own, which was fine for just sitting in the theater. But I'm sure no one would want to don special glasses to view mobile devices.
I remember, one of International airports in Moscow announced that since that time,they had 3-d monitors for advertising. What I saw, was just a blury picture, that did not only impress but really disturbed the eyes, so it was very hard to concentrate on the picture.Besides, I was waiting for my luggage more than 60 minutes- so I wasn't really impressed by 3 d technologies, thinking, that. it would be much better to arrange a decent system of luggage delivery than tried to impress people by doubtful technologies.
Agreed that glasses are a barrier for me too. I can't see without my own glasses, so wearing something on top of that is just not easy. I have contact lenses, but even if I had perfect vision I believe the headgear would be an imposition. I just don't like it.
Since I wrote this piece, I checked around and I believe these 3D screens are a little slower in coming into the mainstream than the manufacturers might like.
But, when they arrive on a wider scale, I believe it'll work the way all improvements work in the pricing department. First edition off the line, add maybe $100 for the feature. Wait a cycle to go around the market, it'll be absorbed in the price and will no longer be a price booster.
Chris, interesting question! I believe with the already diminishing battery life of smartphones it wouldn't be possible to utilize the true potential of the technology. I mean I am assuming if I watch 2D videos on my smartphone it gets drained in 8-9 hours with 3D I think the drainage factor would multiply.
While YouTube has for some time been providing 3D videos, viewable in many different formats, with and without glasses, it's a niche audience that likes that kind of stuff. The difficulty of making a 3D video that would impress the average person is a stumbling point.
Most of the videos seen on YouTube are very poor examples of the 3D technology. It's fairly easy to make a "3D" video with consumer cameras and even webcams are now in 3D, all using twin lenses to duplicate what the human eyes do.
I see no mass market in 3D viewing devices at this time. Probably the best place to seek a large market might be game players, where the novelty feature and ability to use animation to it's fullest capability in 3D would work well.
Hi John, I was curious to know what the additional pricing for 3D enabled mobile devices would be. Also, I find it a stretch to have 3D technology for a tablet device but see no need for a smart phone to have such a need. Finally, wouldn't 3D eat up a lot of additional RAM?
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