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Third dimension of entertainment

James Cameron spent a decade refining the technology that brought Avatar to life and a host of movies since then are walking down the 3D aisle. Soon, you will be able to watch these movies on your TV at home. But have you ever wondered how it works?

Print Edition: April 18, 2010

1) 3D Technologies

Anaglyph: Oldest of the technologies. Two projectors throwing overlaping images — cyan and red shades — on the screen, fool the brain into seeing 3D.

Polarising: The screen produces two polarised images — vertical and horizontal. When filtered by polarising glasses, a 3D image is received.

Active Shutter: Active shutters in the glasses are in sync with the screen. Alternate and very fast turn on/off generates 3D image in the brain. Glasses are battery-powered.

Lenticular: Future lies here. Alternately interlaced images meant exclusively for the left and right eyes pass through half-cylindrical lenses and 3D feel is perceived by the brain. No glasses needed here.

2) The Content
It will be a while before you get to see TV content being beamed in 3D straight to your home, though sports broadcasters are experimenting by shooting events such as the IPL, English Premier League and the World Cup Football using 3D cameras. For the time being, you might need to buy a 3D Blu-Ray Player and 3D versions of the movies on discs.

3) The 3D TVs

LG Infinia LH9500
LG just signed a deal to bring 3D TVs in restaurants and bars with Valuable Media, so that patrons can enjoy IPL matches in 3D. This 55-inch TV set, which has a 480 Hertz refresh rate, was showcased at the Consumer Electronics Show, Las Vegas, in January and should be available in the US soon.

Price in India: To be decided

Sony BRAVIA XBR-LX900
Sony India wants to become the dominant player in the Indian TV market. One way to get these: 3D TVs, which it intends launching in the country by the middle of the year. The LX900 is Sony's top-of-theline 3D TV and uses Active Shutter technology.

Price in India: To be decided

Samsung UN55C7000
All the TVs in this line-up use LED backlighting, but this set from Samsung claims to be the thinnest of the lot. It is already available for sale in the US and the Korean company launched it in Delhi on March 25.

Price in India: Ranges from Rs 1.3-4.4 lakh

Panasonic VT25
This set won all the reviewers' hearts at the Consumer Electronics Show, primarily because it was felt that Plasma technology still has an edge when it comes to delivering 3D images. With Panasonic revitalising its TV sales in India, expect to see this in a shop near you fairly soon.

Price in India: To be decided

4) Future

3D capability should become de rigueur in most LCD/Plasma TVs by 2012, and that should lead to more content being created for such televisions. Imagine weepy Saas-Bahu soap operas where the tears seem like they're almost true? More frightening than dinosaurs popping out of TV, some might say.

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