3DTV at CES 2011
This year’s CES might be described as “3DTV, take two,” as vendors came back to reaffirm their commitments to 3DTV despite the fact that the number of things to watch on a 3DTV at home is still very limited. At the show, not only were 3DTVs everywhere but we think we are starting to see signs of a potential glasses format war.
The Largest LCD 3DTV
Was 73-Inches

Samsung laid claim to the largest 3DTV at CES with a very thin 73-inch screen. Mitsubishi was showing a good looking 92-inch rear projection 3DTV as well as an attractive 3D front projector.
Passive 3DTVs Could
Reduce Cost of Glasses

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could outfit a family of five with 3DTV glasses for $50 or better yet invest in your own pair of prescription 3D glasses that you could take to the movie theater or use at home? This is the goal of the passive 3DTV vendors like LG and Vizio who were showing 3DTVs that use circular polarized glasses as opposed to active shutter glasses or even optical coated glasses (Dolby3D). Passive TVs have one serious limitation and that is you’ll never get more than 540 lines on a 1080p set but that could be addressed in future higher resolution TVs, Even so, the passive TVs we saw at CES looked pretty good and for many viewers might very well look good enough.
Glasses-Free 3DTV Are Not Really Here Yet
The glasses-free TVs we saw at the Toshiba booth, in our opinion were not ready for prime time; too many constraints on how you have to hold your head to get the right viewing angle. The Sony high resolution glasses-free 3DTV looked better but the fact is glasses-free 3DTV is years away. The smaller screen 3D screens we saw in handheld devices weren’t anything to write home about either.
2D to 3D Conversion Could Help Ease Content Shortage
We saw some interesting technology that takes any 2D content like something from a DVD or Blu-ray disc or over the air and converts it on-the-fly to 3D. Admittedly it wasn’t “Avatar” caliber but the demos we saw both on the show floor and off were impressive.
What to Expect in 2011
With every major vendor showing off new 3DTVs, we expect to see more products to choose from this spring, more content to watch, and even a potentially less expensive alternative to active shutter glasses. Based on some impressive 3D demos we saw at CES, if the elusive OLED TVs ever become a realistic competitor it could be a very satisfying 3D experience.

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