3D TV, the three-dimensional show
In the near future, those typical glasses used to view 3D television images will no longer be required as we will be watching 4K auto stereoscopic displays: current research is trending in this direction. As we wait for consumer-friendly stereoscopic technology, those glasses are the only means we have for reproducing the thrill, the wonder, and sensational magic that we experience at the cinema when we watch one of the many seasonal blockbusters, whether it be an animated or an action film. According to the research and consulting firm DisplaySearch, global sales of 3D TVs in 2012 touched 41.5 million units, a significantly higher number compared with 24.1 million in 2011 and 2.2 million in 2010. Interest in 3D TV is definitely on the increase.
Stereoscopy, which is essentially based on image disparity, that is, on the horizontal distance between the two points of sight, is currently the most widespread method for capturing and distributing 3D video. This technology received a boost from the appearance on the market of HD display panels; in fact, this brought stereoscopy to consumer screens with high-quality results, whereas in the past the stereoscopic effect appeared flat and consequently aroused little interest in consumers.
Live 3D productions, too, such as broadcasts of sports or major events, have very high standards of sophistication in order to avoid color misalignment or loss of focus between two video cameras, defects that can compromise the 3D effect. People generally perceive 3D as something contemporary, if not actually belonging to the future. Yet it is curious to note that stereoscopy was invented way back in 1838 by the English inventor Charles Wheatstone and stereoscopic TV was presented for the first time in August 1928 by John Logie Baird in London.
Since 2008, the year in which the first 3D TV station was launched by the independent Japanese network BS11, so far more than 30 specialist channels have been launched in The United States, Europe, Australia, and the Orient including China (even if still in the testing stage).