3-D has been making a pretty big resurgence lately, especially in movie theaters. From My Bloody Valentine to Coraline, moviegoers have been lining up to put on some silly-looking glasses and watch the special effects jump out at them.
While it's still making inroads for moviegoers, 4K resolution seems to be the display tech of the future. At around 4096 x 2048, 4K digital cinema has four times the resolution of 1080p high-def video. Many filmmakers are filming their movies in 4K, and 4K digital projectors are (very) slowly creeping into theaters across the country.
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Sony is working with RealD to produce a complete projection system that displays 3-D movies in high-def. With a single Sony 4K digital projector, a 3-D dual lens adapter, optical filters, and a lot of clever programming, the two companies hope to create a single device that can put 3-D images on the silver screen at high-def resolution.
Instead of displaying a single 4K picture, the projection system would produce two 2K (high definition) pictures that would be displayed simultaneously on the same screen. Filtered glasses would separate that picture into two, giving the audience a 3-D experience.
A 4K 3-D experience is certainly possible form a technical perspective, but until 8K projectors become readily available and the same technology can be used, the picture would have to be made with two different carefully aligned and filtered 4K projectors. Since 4K digital projectors are currently so expensive and new that they're only available in a handful of theaters, the odds of seeing two pointed at a single screen at a cineplex near you are pretty slim.
Sony and RealD hope to have this system ready to ship in March. Don't expect to see it in homes any time soon, though; considering regular 4K digital cinema projectors start in the low hundred-thousands, 3-D will probably remain strictly in the realm of high-end movie theaters.
— Will Greenwald
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