Avatar Movie Could Boost 3D TV Sales


As James Cameron’s 3-D sci-fi epic “Avatar” lands in cinemas, Sony and 3-D cinema technology specialist RealD announce a partnership to bring that 3-D experience home via Sony’s Bravia LCD HDTVs

Consumer electronics and technology giant Sony Corporation and 3-D technology company RealD announced a technology partnership aiming to provide immersive 3-D home entertainment to consumers beginning in 2010.

The pact includes Sony licensing the stereoscopic RealD Format, know-how in producing active and passive 3-D eyewear and other RealD technologies. With the December release of the highly anticipated science fiction film “Avatar,” many film industry insiders are predicting a rosy future for three-dimensional entertainment, in the cinema and in home theater environments.

The companies are working in partnership to bring to market 3-D compatible Bravia LCD high definition TVs and other consumer products in Sony’s current and future portfolio that would support the stereoscopic RealD Format. The RealD Format is a side-by-side 3-D format capable of delivering high-quality 3-D utilizing all channels of the existing HD broadcast infrastructure. RealD’s 3-D cinema technology is deployed across the world’s largest 3-D platform with more than 9,500 screens contracted and 4,800 screens installed in 48 countries with 300 exhibition partners, the company claims.

“Sony has its proprietary LCD panel driving technology to reproduce full HD 3-D images on the screen of new Bravia LCD TVs, which will work in sync with new 3-D eyewear based on RealD’s technology,” said Sony’s executive deputy president and officer in charge of consumer products and devices group Hiroshi Yoshioka. “We are excited to work with RealD in bringing 3-D to the home.”

Earlier this month, RealD announced more than 100 million moviegoers worldwide have seen a film using RealD technology. Since the release of the animated film “Chicken Little” in RealD four years ago, 24 films have been released using RealD technology. For the 2009 calendar year, RealD expanded its installation base by 200 percent. The company said there are currently more than 50 films slated for release on RealD 3-D. The next step, it would appear, is to bring that experience into consumer’s homes. The Blu-Ray Disc Association threw its hat in the 3-D ring this week when it announced that the codec for creating full 1080p 3-D Blu-Ray content had been set, paving the way for 3-D Blu-ray discs (and games on Sony’s PlayStation 3 console) in 2010.

“We are thrilled to partner with Sony on 3-D eyewear and to integrate support for the RealD Format into Sony Bravia LCD TVs and other Sony products,” said RealD chairman and CEO Michael Lewis. “This collaboration enables the distribution of high-quality 3-D content to Sony displays through the existing HD infrastructure, a vital element to the widespread adoption of 3-D in the home.”

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