During the 3rd Annual 3D Entertainment Summit, RealD president and co-founder Josh Greer said that licensees will be able to offer the world's first Full HD passive 3D HDTVs in 2011. This means that consumers will no longer need to shell out $130 to $200 for a pair of active-shutter glasses, but rather use a pair similar to ones offered in theaters that cost just a buck.
According to Greer, the RealD system uses a patented electro-optical "ZScreen" technology that’s inserted into the front of a flat panel. This system rapidly changes the light from clockwise circular polarization to counterclockwise, and then back again.
The RealD glasses have circular polarized passive lenses that simulate shutters. The left image will go to the left eye while blacking out the right image from the right eye--the right image will go to the right eye while blocking the left image from the left eye. Like current 3D HDTVs, the images are displayed sequentially on the flat panel.
The benefits of using RealD's ZScreen technology include lighter, cheaper glasses that don't require recharging or replacing batteries. Additionally, the 3D effect won't be lost when someone walks between the 3D HDTV and the glasses, as ZScreen doesn't use an infra-red sync emitter.
Greer said that RealD's passive 3D solution won't replace the current active-shutter offering, but will be sold alongside the older 3D tech for at least the next four to five years. Products are expected to hit the market in Spring 2011, however the first licensed RealD HDTV manufacturers to bring passive 3D HDTVs to the market--either Sony, JVC, Samsung, Toshiba or Panasonic--has yet to be determined.
Greer plans to showcase the new technology during CES 2011 in January.
In the theater, RealD's portfolio includes The Last Airbender, Clash of the Titans, Alice in Wonderland, Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D and more.