The world in 3D
By Marc Saltzman
THE EYE-POPPING VISUALS in movie theaters
popularized by 3D films such as Avatar, Toy Story 3
and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs can now be
experienced at home.
3D TV is one of the biggest buzzwords of
2010, with many television manufacturers (and
Hollywood studios) on board to deliver “
three-dimensional” stereoscopic entertainment to you in
your favorite La-Z-Boy.
In case you haven’t yet experienced a 3D movie,
the sense of depth is truly remarkable. Characters
and objects appear to float, pop or stretch out of the
screen and onto your lap. It’s not for everyone, of
course, and requires special glasses for the effect.
But with prices just a bit more than for a regular
HDTV, you might consider a 3D-ready television
when it’s time for an upgrade.
How it works
Instead of the passive polarized glasses
worn in the theaters, today’s 3D TVs require
active-shutter glasses that accept a transmitted
signal from an emitter built into the television.
These TVs refresh the picture at least 120 times a
second, with alternating frames for the left and
right eyes, which tricks your brain into seeing only
one 3D image.
Some of these active-shutter glasses require
small batteries, which need to be replaced every
few months or so, while others come with a USB
cable and can be plugged into a computer or electrical socket to recharge. One other note: Some TV
manufacturers are working on sets that can work
with passive glasses, like the kind you wear in theaters today.
All 3D TVs can also show regular 2D content,
where the glasses aren’t necessary. In fact, a 3D TV
must be an exceptional 2D TV too, as it needs to be
fast enough to deliver a high-definition video signal
to each eye, simultaneously.
Keep in mind that many of these televisions can
also turn 2D content into 3D, though the effect isn’t
as striking as with original source material that was
filmed or edited in 3D.
Only a dozen or so Blu-ray Disc
movies are available in 3D so far, but
all the major Hollywood film studios
have committed to releasing more
3D films for the home in the coming
months and years. Keep in mind,
however, you’ll need a 3D-enabled
Blu-ray Disc player to see the effect.
But it’s not just feature films that
are going 3D in the home: Sports and
television shows are making the jump,
too. This past summer, for example,
ESPN debuted a 3D channel. Roughly 25 of the
FIFA World Cup matches were broadcast in 3D, and
the network has said it will show at least 60 more
sporting events on the channel this year.
Sometime in 2011, another 3D channel is set to
launch—a venture backed by Discovery Communications (owners of the Discovery Channel, TLC
and Animal Planet networks), Sony and IMAX.
Streaming 3D movies will also be available.
You can also play a growing collection of 3D
video games on the PlayStation 3 console via a
free downloadable software (“firmware”) update,
This includes upcoming and eagerly anticipated
sequels such as Gran Turismo 5 (out November 2)
and Killzone 3 (out March 28, 2011), as well as
download-only games such as Wipeout HD,
Super-Stardust HD, Pain and MotorStorm: Pacific Rift
By the time you read this, PlayStation 3 owners
should also be able to watch 3D movies on Blu-ray
Discs (via another free download).
Many new cameras and camcorders are able to
shoot in 3D, as well. That means you can capture
memories with friends and family and play back
these 3D images on a compatible television. C
electronics or computers
you purchased at
Costco? E-mail them to:
Or send them to:
The Costco Connection
P.O. Box 34088
Seattle, WA 98124-1088
or fax to (425) 313-6718.
in the subject line. Marc
will answer selected ques-
tions in this column. We
regret that unpublished
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Costco offers a variety of 3D TVs and Blu-ray Disc
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OCTOBER 2010 ;e Costco Connection 17