Samsung and 3D specialist RealD announced a plan today to jointly develop a technology called RDZ that they say will mean brighter 3D TVs that work with 3D glasses used in RealD-equipped movie theaters.
RDZ, integrated into an LCD display, works through a synchronized switching of the display between left-eye and right-eye views. The companies argue that it's better than "patterned retarder" 3D technology, which devotes half a screen's pixels to each eye by masking alternating lines. That approach works with passive 3D glasses, which typically separate the right-eye and left-eye views with polarized light, but it reduces resolution or brightness.
RDZ will work with current RealD glasses at full brightness and HD resolution and also work with 2D viewing, said Bob Mayson, president of RealD's consumer electronics business.
Today's dominant companies sell 3D TVs that use active-shutter glasses, which require batteries to power technology that alternately blanks the left-eye and right-eye views in sync with the TV. But passive TVs are coming, and indeed Vizio's 65-inch passive 3D TV is now on sale for a list price of $3,700.
Added Seonki Kim, master of research and development at Samsung Electronics' LCD business, "LCD-based RDZ 3D displays will offer consumers the choice of eyewear technologies without compromising image quality, which only active sync 3D technology can do."
The companies said they'll demonstrate RDZ at the Consumer Electronics Show this week in Las Vegas, but didn't say when it would arrive in products.
3D has become a major thrust of a consumer electronics industry seeking new revenue now that flat-panel TVs are commonplace. Even though 3D content is starting to arrive, chiefly in the form of video games and movies, 3D is technologically complicated. Different 3D display systems can be incompatible, and the holy grail--3D without any glasses at all--remains visually crude for the most part.
Updated 6:29 a.m. PT with further background on passive vs. active shutter technology.