The 3D offerings at CES 2011 were pretty damn slapdash. I tried out Samsung, Sony, LG and Panasonic's line-up at varying points over the course of the show. All of them looked fantastic. And all of them looked pretty much the same.
There were cosmetic differences in the physical design (Samsung had the sexiest models) but in terms of image quality? They all looked 3D. I couldn't tell the displays apart in a line-up, and I doubt the average customer could either.
So the Present of 3D is pretty boring. Which is why sales are so stagnant right now. But the future of 3D? That's something to be excited about.
Sony brought a ton of concept glasses-free 3D products to CES 2011. They had smaller OLED glasses-free 3D TVs, an assortment of portable glasses-free 3D blu-ray players and several portable goggles that were basically a portable 3D entertainment system for your face. Though we shouldn't expect these to hit the market any time soon, they sure as hell worked well when I saw them.
Image quality was fantastic, and this marked the first time I've ever been able to watch 3D video without seeing a little bit of weird image doubling. Goggles like these, assuming decent battery life, would be perfect for blotting out the hellish confines of Coach in a 747.
The interesting thing about these concept goggles was that there is very obviously no room for a DVD drive or anything like that. Which leads me to believe that Sony is looking towards microSD or USB or some other form of file-based storage to push 3D distribution. Imagine having a pair of goggles like this that you could just plug into your computer. They'd have an SSD of some sort (32 GB or 64 GB, if not more) and you'd just download HD 3D files right to the headset.
3D may be in a dull spot right now, but concept products like this give me hope that bright minds in the industry do have some interesting ideas for how to push it in the future.