Taking a break last weekend from a hyper-busy summer in this industry (including getting ready for the Rental & Staging Roadshow at Altman in New York July 29th), I went to see the latest from Pixar/Disney, “Up”. Not much forethought involved, just some light summer diversion.
I won’t go into the plot of the film– suffice to say that it is brilliant, poignant, sad. What really grabbed my attention was the 3D experience in the theater. Especially the fact that it was a 4K digital screening, using two Sony SXRD projectors. An eye-opening experience (yes, both left, and right eyes…)
In the digital cinema arena, DLP tends to dominate. TI historically simply out-marketed Sony and other competitors. But things are heating up, and changing, and 3D is what is doing it. 3D, with (again) the push coming from the consumer side, is coming not just to a theater near you, but also to a stage near you (maybe the one your bidding next week). (See Joel Rollins’ article on 3D in this issue.)
To get around full circle to big-screen 3D, it’s going to start smaller. Probably the most interesting new application on view at InfoComm this year was 3D, using just one projector. Big-gun 3D-ready projectors have been available from other manufacturers for the past couple years–Barco, Christie, Digital Projection, projectiondesign in the DLP camp, and offerings from a variety of players in the LCD or LCoS camp that use two projectors (Sony SXRD and others)– but new at this year’s InfoComm: new, inexpensive 120Hz time-sequential 3D compatible projectors that use just one projector.
All of those single-chip DLP 3D-ready projectors at InfoComm were “3D-ready” because Texas Instruments has begun offering a firmware upgrade to its customers that enables 120Hz– 60Hz full-res image to each eye– projection. Hence DLP projector manufacturers are coming to market with products that are now cheaper to by. All users need: a PC with a standard graphics card that can output 60Hz, or a 120Hz graphics card and of course 3D content from a PC (or, coming down the road, 3D Blu-ray). Why is this important if you’re a stager? Because all those consumers, at home, in schools, etc, are also your customers, and they learn fast. What they see in the “consumer” world, or at work, they will soon expect to be available in their big meetings with full-blown staging.
Norway’s projectiondesign used InfoComm 09 to demonstrate a broad range of 3D stereoscopic projection solutions. Digital Projection also had a big presence at InfoComm. DP had five TITAN 3-chip DLP 3D units in action all over the booth, from the 3D theater to the Low Latency pod to the Mechdyne immersive 3D pod (the one where you could look 360 degrees at the motorcycle). DP also launched TITAN and LIGHTNING WUXGA 3D models (plus other 3D models) at the show as well, so they have a 3D line-up of around twenty-five distinct displays as of last week.
3D is here, now, being pushed from both the high end and the consumer side, and it represents real growth opportunity for stagers with the vision to offer new experiences for their customers.