3D On Any TV

Back in the late 1980s, Sega released the Sega Master System, a competitor to Nintendo's NES. This system could be purchased with 3D shutter glasses that plugged into the system. These glasses worked basically the same way as today's glasses, but because they sync'd to the game system, they worked with the TV you already had. Why doesn't someone make a 3D Blu-ray player with glasses that sync to it so that any TV could display 3D? This would lower the barrier of entry and maybe sell more 3D movies.

Robert Johnson

Interesting idea! I suspect the Sega system's 3D worked with any TV in the '80s because the graphics were relatively crude, and even then, I bet there was lots of flicker—talk about headaches!

To do what you're suggesting with modern movies would require a TV that could accept and display 96 or 120 frames per second, which translates to 48 or 60fps for each eye. LCD TVs can easily display 120fps and higher, but I don't think they can accept a frame rate that high. And even if they could, Blu-ray cannot support 1080p at 96 or 120fps—heck, it can't even support 1080p at 60fps. The best it can do in 2D is 1080p at 24fps, and 3D adds only 50 percent to the datastream. So your idea would require a new Blu-ray format and TVs that can accept higher frame rates.

I recently heard of a system that claims to do something like what you suggest, though I haven't been able to find much info about it yet. A company called Video Innovation Products (VIP) has announced four products called 3D-Gamer (shown above), 3D-Displayer, 3D-Theater, and 3D-Discover that are inserted between a 3D source (Blu-ray player, satellite/cable box, game system, etc.) and non-3D display via HDMI, and active-shutter glasses are used to see 3D.

Another company called Just Add Power recently announced a product called 3D Manager that is based on the VIP technology and purports to distribute 3D content over the company's HD-over-IP network to non-3D TVs throughout the home. All of these products are scheduled to be released this summer, and I look forward to checking them out.

If you have an A/V question, please send it to askscottwilkinson@gmail.com.