Sky has announced the arrival of a 3D television channel in the next few months and Sony is already predicting that these sets will compose 30 to 50 per cent of all its TV sales in 2012. It seems the world of 3D, as seen in James Cameron’s blockbuster Avatar, is set to become an everyday reality.
Much of this technology has been in development for decades, but this is the first time that relatively low-cost 3D television sets will be rolled out (prices are expected to be upwards of £1,000).
As in the cinema, viewers will still need to wear specially designed glasses to experience the effects at home and will have a choice between ‘active’ or ‘passive’ systems.
The active sets display the programmes in a series of rapid frames to be viewed alternately by the left and right eyes, while the glasses block out each corresponding eye as the frames are transmitted at high-speed. Active sets cost less, but the glasses will be priced around £50, so if you’re planning to host a 3D football match with friends it could be an expensive evening.
Passive systems rely on a polarising filter on the TV to split the image into its left eye/right eye components, which is viewed using a pair of polarising spectacles, similar to the over-sized sunglasses you can get at 3D cinemas. These glasses cost less than £1 but the TVs are expected to be more expensive.
For the moment it might be wiser to keep an eye on falling prices instead of getting caught up in the hype.