There are number of options when it comes to producing a 3D image on a 2D platform. The oldest, and simplest method being those old cardboard glasses with one red and one blue lens; the thought of thing you watched Jaws 3D in and, more recently, the Batman: Arkham Asylum Game of the Year edition.
This is the cheapest option but not without its problems, the biggest being that everything ends up inheriting a greenish-tinge, a by product of looking through coloured lenses. Sure, they can create a 3D image of sorts, but not much more than a slightly deeper looking 2D image when all’s said and done.
The next option up is the passive solution employed by your local 3D cinema, requiring the use of those plastic disposable glasses they’ve even started charging for. They work by splitting the image in two on screen, your left eye sees one half of the image, your right eye the other et voilà: 3D.
The main problem here is that a filter is needed to be placed on the TV screen to produce the two images and this reduces the brightness of the screen by up to 50% making the display very dark; not an issue for the projected cinema but not good for home use. And, as you need to display two images on screen at once, it reduces the resolution possible by half as well; a cheaper option then but one not without its limitations.
The third option, and what the 3D pioneering manufactures are going for, is the ‘active shutter’ solution. This gets around the problem of filtering the screen by placing the filter directly into the glasses themselves. The glasses then work in tandem with the screen to rapidly block the image to each eye in turn. This allows the TV to show full HD resolution images on the screen and because of the high refresh rate of modern TVs it does so without creating a flicker on screen.
Sony has even taken the extra step of polarising the glasses so that environmental light isn’t blocked by the glasses, just the image from the TV. This removes the blur around the TV and stops your eyes getting tired quickly; an elegant solution but also an expensive one. There are a few glasses free options, most notably the upcoming Nintendo 3DS, but for the moment these are limited to a small screen and a single user.
So how to get 3D at home then? Well, as it stands the best option is the glasses option and regrettably a new TV capable of 3D. The PS3 is already set for 3D support so you’ll need one of them and probably a copy of Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs on Blu-Ray – that being the only movie currently available in 3D though Sony do promise more to follow quickly.
There are also over twenty games set for release soon; we’ve just had the chance to play Virtua Tennis 4, MotorStorm Apocalypse and Crysis 2 in 3D and they all look the business. Wait until you get to experience Virtua Tennis 4 in gorgeous 3D and using the PS3 Move as a virtual racket – brilliant (not to mention knackering).
Lets face facts: 3D is here to stay. Sony have invested so much into it that, like Blu-Ray before it, they’ll sink enough money into it to make it viable. The big stumbling block at the moment is the cost – a 3D TV with PS3 and Glasses will set you back something in the region of £1500 – but costs are coming down and will continue to do so as Sony start panicking. If you’ve got the money then it’s a no-brainer, if you haven’t you’ll just have to settle for that HD stuff they were banging on about not too long ago; it’s like, so passé.