Glasses-Free 3-D Set to Grow, Thomson Reuters Says

Published on November 23, 2009
by Lauren Goode

The term “3-D” has been largely synonymous with Hollywood blockbusters, buttered popcorn and ill-fitting cardboard glasses since the 1950s, when three-dimensionality was introduced to draw TV owners into theaters.

Over the past 20 years, 3-D-capable devices like set-top boxes as well as 3-D programming have become available at home. A lack of standard broadcasting formats, relatively little content and the need for 3-D glasses, however, have kept it from a broad audience.

Tech companies are betting that will all change, and when it does, you’ll be able to lose the glasses.

According to new data from Thomson Reuters, 3-D-related patents have risen sharply in recent years, led by companies such as Samsung, Panasonic and Toshiba. “It will only be a matter of time before 3-D televisions start showing up in the home,” the report says.

Patent activity in the 3-D television space grew 69 percent over a five-year period, with more than 1,000 unique invention patents filed last year alone. This year is on par, with 486 filed in the first half of 2009.

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