3D is still in the early stages of adoption, with many consumers waiting on the sidelines. Lots of people still haven't seen a 3D movie, sports event or musical spectacular, but enthusiasts say that once good three dimension footage is experienced, then there's no turning back. 2D just isn't good enough any more.
And remember how colour screens once seemed pointless on cellphones? Well in the past there were people who were arguing that colour movies seemed like an unnecessary expense and, further back, sound distracted from the actors' performance.
Whatever's at the cutting edge soon becomes normal.
The future for 3D glasses
While availability of programming is obviously very important for the development of the new market, consumers who haven't yet jumped on the 3D bandwagon are being enticed by more advanced offerings from the TV and hardware manufacturers.
Those who have been bothered about the size and weight of the viewing glasses they've been offered can now look forward to lighter and more comfortable designs. While we are still looking forward to glasses-free 3D TV, glasses-free 3D is already here on devices with smaller screens, such as portable gaming consoles and prototype laptops. And how long before we see the first 3D smartphone?
James Cameron's view of the 3D future
James Cameron is the director of the benchmark movie for 3D, Avatar. In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, he stated he believes 3D will be everywhere within the next decade. He also stressed the importance of disposing of glasses from the 3D experience.
He sees glasses-free 3D as the next important threshold for 3D, with slow but steady growth until then. Cameron predicts that broadcast (particularly sports) and gaming will be the most important drivers of 3D adoption in the home.
Nintendo's 3DS hand-held games console is the 3D development of the successful DS. Already in the hands of games players, the real advance here is that Nintendo has eliminated the need for glasses. The response has been that the gaming specialist has a killer piece of hardware on its hands, backed up with a strong software line-up.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, people in the industry and gamers have reacted well, typically noting that 3D gameplay is almost universally a better a experience than 2D gameplay. The future for 3D TV and 3D gaming seem very much interlinked.
Making your own 3D videos
While many professional movie-makers are using twin HD cameras fixed to stereo jig, a consumer version of the 3D camera used to shoot Avatar is in development. With a simple, compact solution for shooting our own 3D videos, 3D TV screens and computer monitors will be a must.
3D and the Internet
As 3D videos become more widespread, more and more of the content will be offered over the Internet. With 3D developments appearing in almost every sector of home entertainment, as well as cinema and other areas, it seems to be approaching the tipping point, where consumer and user expectations will be for 3D, and 2D content will appear lacking.
Steve Owen is Director of Marketing at Quantel. The company develops innovative, world-leading content creation systems for broadcast, post and DI. Quantel products deliver at SD, HD, 2K, 4K and Stereo 3D. Learn more about choosing the right 3D imaging system.