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Future of 3D

3D Market Could Be Worth US$22 Billion by 2018

— January 5, 2010 — Tech
3D cinema and TV are nothing new. LG and Panasonic are expected to release their 3D-ready television sets this year, in Korea and the US respectively. Sony, Samsung and JVC have also announced partnerships with RealD, which creates the technology behind most of the 3D cinema screens in the UK and the US. Sky has launched its first consumer awareness campaign for its 3D channel and forthcoming 3D HDTV boxset, with airtime before screenings of the movie Avatar across 700 UK cinemas. 3D Blu-ray has also been announced. It seems things are kicking off for 3D technology (which is surely an understatement).

2010 is the year of 3D displays. 7,000 new 3D cinema screens are predicted to be installed globally and another 9,000 in 2011. The only problem, or obstacle, to potential mass consumption of 3D technology (with the exception of the cost of course) is that users will have to wear glasses in order to enjoy 3D cinema or TV. One company in particular, Magnetic 3D, is keen to prove otherwise, having recently announced that it shall soon unveil a 2010 product line of autostereoscopic (does not require glasses) 3D displays. The only obstacle with this technology is that viewers have to be standing in a specific place for each eye to view different versions of the images, thus viewing the images in 3D. The question is how can this be perfected? And if indeed it will, in what may become a race to the top for manufacturers (just as HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc went head-to-head). 3D TV without glasses is nothing new either - it is a valued advertising channel in areas such as the Middle East, and Philips seems to have developed this technology a long time ago.

This isn’t just about cinema and TV of course. New research has bought about some amazing predictions. Developments of 3D technology will inevitably have an impact on our mobile phones—the mobile phone market is forecasted to be the most popular category in terms of sales of 3D displays. Units of 3D ready products sold (TVs, mobile phones, digital cameras/camcorders, notebook computers) are expected to grow from 0.7 million to 196 million by 2018 (that’s revenue of US£22 billion- 3D-ready TVs alone are predicted to grow from 0.2 million to 64 million by 2018). That’s big business.