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Sony licenses RealD’s 3D system

Company makes deal for Bravia line of TVs

Sony’s consumer electronics division has licensed RealD’s stereoscopic 3D (S3D) system for its consumer electronics, notably its Bravia line of HDTV sets.

Deal covers two broad areas of technology. One is RealD’s method for “multiplexing” — encoding S3D on a single HDTV signal, so nets and cablers can deliver S3D programming without having to install a new infrastructure.

The second area is for viewing S3D. Sony will make its own branded active/shutter 3D glasses using technology developed by RealD. The glasses will use tech similar to that used by Xpand 3D and Imax 3D in theaters.

Moviegoers will not be able to use the disposable glasses from theaters with Sony TVs. Sony announced in September it would use active glasses for its Bravia line of HDTVs.

Though RealD’s cinema systems use polarized passive glasses, company has also long provided professional shutter-glass systems. “Stereographics, which we own, was the inventor of shutter-glass technology,” said RealD spokesman Rick Heineman.

In shutter glasses, the lenses darken one at a time, many times a second, so the viewer only sees out of one eye at a time. They must be kept in sync with the screen, which can be done through an infrared or radio signals. Their great advantage in the home is that many existing TVs and computer monitors can be made to show S3D.

Sony and RealD have had a close working relationship. Sony announced in February that its 4K digital cinema projectors would also support RealD for S3D. There has been speculation that Sony might try to buy RealD outright.

The consumer electronics announcement comes in the wake of RealD competitor Xpand’s announcement that it is supporting the DLP-link 3D system, which will be built into DLP home theater projectors (Daily Variety, Dec. 9).

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