Ordinary TV sets deliver 500 lines of resolution. Most high-definition screens reach 1,050. The HD3D hits 1,280 lines and counting - which means better picture quality than that of any TV available today, all in a convincing impression of the third dimension. And here's the seriously trippy part about the new screen, which Deep Light plans to introduce at next winter's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas: multiple "blades" of video enable one screen to show different programs to different viewers, at the same time.
Imagine what that could do to your living room. Your kid sprawls on the floor, happily splattering the virtual walls of Quake 3-D, while you sit on the couch watching the news and your spouse beside you talks with friends in a virtual chat room - all on the same TV, all at the same time, and all in 3-D. Lean a few feet to the right and the latest report from the floor of the stock exchange becomes a live 3-D chat with the couple who came over to dinner the other night; lean the other way and Junior is blasting a zombie. And something similar is going on over at the neighbor's. And halfway around the world.
We see the world in three dimensions, but throughout most of history, we've only been able to depict it in two. Until recently no one had come up with a better solution to this problem than goofy eyewear. When Rover sent back images from Mars, NASA scientists studied them wearing much the same glasses that audiences in 50's movie palaces donned to watch "It Came From Outer Space."
Within the realms of industry, that's been changing, as what's known as stereoscopic imaging has become a big business involving everyone from drug researchers doing molecular mapping to car designers building next year's SUV. Culturally, however, it remains a novelty, consigned to the occasional theme park ride or Imax film. Recent commercial film releases, like "The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3-D," have raised its profile a bit, but they still rely on the dinky glasses.
But the ever-evolving high-tech revolution is finally moving 3-D entertainment to the next stage. Sharp has sold three million 3-D cell phones in Japan since 2003 and has just released a laptop that toggles between 2-D and 3-D views. The South Korean government, meanwhile, recently announced an ambitious "3-D Vision 2010" project to make stereoscopic TV the worldwide standard within five years, and a number of companies are racing Deep Light to build the pieces of that puzzle; just in April, Toshiba announced new display technology for 3-D television screens. "The whole realm of TV," says Chris Chinnock, the president of the market research firm Insight Media, "is the Holy Grail of 3-D."