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3-D enthusiasm is anything but flat

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First and foremost, of course, there are the glasses. Not those flimsy, two-tone cardboard specs, but snazzy, lightweight, polarized shades or active-shutter glasses, battery-powered eyewear that whips up left and right eye content as fast as 120 times in a second. (A “auto-stereoscopic” type of 3-D content not requiring glasses is being developed, and the lab has an early version of it, but most observers say the low resolution makes it years away from viability in the home market.)

At the first setup, Mr. Gonzalez dons the passive, polarized eyewear and plunks down in front of an impressive screen.

“This is just one of many options,” points out K.C. Blake, director of business development. There are at least three different 3-D ready screens commercially available. And the Blu-ray players that the lab uses are just like those being sold at any consumer electronics outlet. Even the glasses are relatively available, both the polarized and active-shutter type.

But the one element in this “ecosystem” – as the group is fond of calling its area of study – that’s missing is the one part the folks at home really care about: the content. Right now, the team is playing a trailer from Disney’s animated film, “Bolt,” footage donated by Disney that is not available to the public.

“Similar to what happened with high-definition TV, the technology [for 3-D TV] is here before the material to watch,” points out Mr. Wertheimer.

The current momentum behind the home 3-D experience is coming not just from the movie industry but from video-game developers as well. Not unlike past flirtations with 3-D back in the 1950s and ’70s, studios are once again looking to 3-D to help prop up the theatrical release of films. And now, equally eager to get more return on the 10 to 20 percent premium spent to film in 3-D, they hope to expand the home 3-D market as a potential support for the DVD release.

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