TechRadar: Pay a visit to Steven Spielberg’s favourite cinema this summer and it won’t be the latest blockbuster that catches your eye. Walk through the foyer at the Bridge Theater in Los Angeles and you’ll be awe-struck at the sight of wall-mounted displays throwing out images in glorious 3D – and you won’t need to wear googly glasses to see them.
The professional displays are the work of Philips 3D Solutions, which is currently rolling them out worldwide, appearing in airports, shopping malls, casinos and, of course, cinemas. The best thing is that the technology Philips uses is fairly straightforward, promising great things for the TVs we’re used to having at home.
The Philips WOWvx uses a series of tiny lenticular lenses mounted in front of a regular high definition display. If lenticular sounds familiar then that’s because it is – Philips WOWVx uses a similar technique to the animated 3D postcards you can find at tourist traps the world over.
Of course, having a lenticular lens in itself isn’t enough – you also have to create a stereoscopic image to give the illusion of depth. Philips has two different formats for content creation – a standard version called 2D-plus-Depth, plus and an extended version it dubs Declipse.
2D-plus-Depth does exactly what it says on the tin. It takes a 2D image and then adds depth to give you a 3D representation. If a normal display has pixel information as ‘x’ and ‘y’ co-ordinates, then 2D-plus-Depth adds ‘z’ to describe how deep the image portrayed by that pixel should be.
The exciting thing for all of us, and for Hollywood, production studios and broadcasters, is that 2D-plus-Depth is backwards-compatible. Any movie, TV programme or music video you’ve ever watched can now be presented in 3D, adding a new whole dimension – literally – to your viewing experience.