Electronics manufacturers Sony, Samsung, Toshiba and Panasonic will integrate support for the RealD 3D format into their TV sets and will work with RealD to develop active shutter glasses that are compatible with their 3D-enabled display panels. The RealD 3D format creates depth perception by synchronizing on-screen images with viewer glasses, whose lenses alternate between states of opacity and transparency.
Sony, Samsung and Panasonic will make their RealD enabled 3D TV's available to consumers in 2010, while LG and Vizio are developing 3D TV's for future release.
This deal represents RealD's bid to expand the reach of its 3D technology from the cinema into the home. By integrating its technology into the TV's of several of the market leaders, RealD will be in a strong position to secure wide distribution of its active shutter 3D glasses. RealD has also applied for several patents for its 3D technology, including a method to split a signal into left and right images. If these patent applications are accepted, they would likely grant RealD strong IP in one of the few theoretical ways of transporting two images to a display. It seems reasonable that any licensing terms would include coverage of all RealD's ongoing patent applications relating to 3D.
TV manufacturers are counting on the 3D TV market to boost revenues as growth in the HD TV set market slows. YoY HD TV set shipment growth will average 14 per cent to 2013, while over the same period the 3D TV set market will display growth of over 100 per cent YoY. Commitments from several networks to launch 3D broadcast services later this year, including DirecTV and ESPN in the US, Sky in the UK and KDB in Korea, will strengthen the demand for RealD enabled TV's and their accompanying eyewear.
However, the growth of the 3D TV set market will be limited by higher costs due to more complex screens and technology in active shutter glasses. Manufacturers will need to persuade consumers to exchange their flat screen HD TV sets for flat screen 3D HD TV's. Consumers are already familiar with the RealD brand through its dominant position in 3D cinema. Its branding on TV sets may allow manufacturers to market their product as one which can bring the 3D cinema experience into the home and could prove effective in aiding uptake