Sony And Panasonic: 3D Wars?

Posted: Sep 4 2009, 10:35am CDT | by , Updated: Aug 11 2010, 4:06pm CDT, in IFA


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Okay, so Sony's confirmed that they're bringing 3D to all PlayStation games in 2010. (Engadget) Meanwhile, over at IFA 2009, 3D technology is also making lots of noise. Panasonic has a prototype (StuffTV) for a 3D player and augmented-reality system, and Sony is getting ready to unveil a series of Dolby Real 3D DVD players.

It looks like we're heading straight for a 3D revolution. Both Sony and Panasonic are getting ready to throw a lot of money behind new lines of 3D players. The technology has finally advanced far enough to be practical for mainstream adoption, and people seem pretty psyched for the chance to watch 3D movies and play 3D games on their own television. As the early adopters here, Panasonic and Sony stand to make a lot of money when 3D takes off.

That is, if they don't kill each other first. Sony and Panasonic are both backing different methods of 3D display. (TG Daily) Sony wants customers to use polarized glasses to view 3D. Those are the exact same types of glasses you get in the movie theater. They're cheap, easy to replace, and everyone is familiar with them.

Panasonic, on the other hand, is taking a gamble. They're using active shutter glasses, which are much more complicated and thus more expensive. The active glasses have to be powered, and have to sync up with a signal to work effectively. It's a bit of a hassle, but it provides a substantially better picture.

Either format will be equally easy to create content for. The question is; which approach will win out?

Right now, I'd put the smart money on Sony. They're going with the cheaper, more familiar route. 3D in the household is already a new concept. People understand the old, simple polarized glasses that they've been using forever. I don't think many customers are going to want to go with a more expensive, more complicated (and probably more error prone because of it) system. Active shutter technology might very well be the future of 3D, but I doubt it's going to be what spurs people into widespread adoption.

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