Taking 3-D to the Next Level

RealD (NYSE: RLD  ) is taking a big step toward becoming the consumer products 3-D company investors hope it can be by announcing some new products and partnerships over the last week.

Baby steps, old technology remade
RealD is working with Freescale Semiconductor to make active shutter 3-D glasses more efficient. The glasses will use Freescale's RF4CE platform's radio frequency instead of infrared, which has line-of-sight and field-of-vision limitations. NVIDIA (Nasdaq: NVDA  ) announced a similar product last summer, so this isn't exactly a breakthrough, but we're taking baby steps here.

Multiprotocol active 3-D eyewear
A bigger step forward is RealD's new multiprotocol eyewear, designed to work with a variety of 3-D display brands. The glasses will be able to read infrared, RF4CE, and Bluetooth, giving manufacturers the ability to incorporate RealD's "system on a chip" in eyewear for multiple brands.

Developer kits will be available in the first quarter of this year with production beginning in the second quarter. RealD is working with Freescale as well as Broadcom (Nasdaq: BRCM  ) , which will incorporate its Bluetooth technology. Until passive eyewear shows mass appeal, RealD's move is a big step forward for the active eyewear consumer.

Active 3-D eyewear is so 2010
If you've ever "accidentally" walked out of the theater with RealD's passive 3-D glasses, you may be ready for the new display in the works from RealD and Samsung. The two companies are working jointly to develop LCD-based RDZ 3-D display technology. Simply said, this new product would be a 3-D LCD TV that uses passive eyewear and isn't terrible as a 2-D TV.

RealD may not be the top dog of the theater, a role IMAX (Nasdaq: IMAX  ) is taking despite having fewer theaters than its rival, but RealD has a big advantage in consumer electronics. More traction in this area could be the future of this technology company, and these three developments are a step in the right direction.

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Fool contributor Travis Hoium owns shares of IMAX. You can follow Travis on Twitter at @FlushDrawFool, check out his personal stock holdings or follow his CAPS picks at TMFFlushDraw.

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  • Report this Comment On January 20, 2011, at 9:24 AM, gudsoox wrote:

    RealD just announced their XLW system, suitable for projection up to a 82 ft. wide screen.

    This compares favorably to IMAX's standard 72-feet wide screen.

    XLW is an upgrade to their XL system -- the XL technology effectively doubles the light output for 3D on DLP-based projectors.

    I believe this will accelerate the pace of theater chains that are developing their own branded premium large-screen format offerings.

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