History of 3D
Stereoscopic display devices have been used pretty much used since the Victorian era when stereoscopes were very popular for viewing 3D photos. Many different 3D silent film shorts were made including a train arriving at a station by the Lumiere brothers in the 19th century. Then with the introduction of TV's in the '50s, ticket sales were down. 3D movies were introduced to refocus the publics attention on cinemas. The Anaglyph system used red (right eye) and blue (left eye) glasses. The first ever 3D movie (with sound) was Bwana Devil (1952) but House of Wax with Vincent Price was the first major 3D movie hit at the time
The Anaglyph system 3D then languished for 30 years till 1983. With the release of Jaws 3D and Amityville 3D reaching its peak in the 1986, with the release of Michael Jacksons - Captain Eo. At this time 3D was branded a gimmick that was used to sell poor product.
Jumping forward to 2003 - Spy Kids 3D and IMAX launched the last batch of 3D anaglyph films to be released. IMAX in particular has been very successful because it uses 3D not as a gimmick but to immerse you in a different environment
Rolling forward to 2010. With Home Cinema projectors and Blu-ray disc's offering a cost effective alternative with better image quality than commercial Cinema. Cinema numbers were again down. To the rescue new improved whiter than white 3D in all its glory. Savior of the cinemas? Again 3D refocused the publics attention on the Big Screen, with Cinema's installing Real-D's technology ASAP. Numbers were up nearly as high as the price of popcorn, which exceeded that of gold, popcorn jewelry was all the rage. 3D had given Cinema a needed shot in the arm, moving its technology ahead of other mediums. Avatar like IMAX before it, used 3D to take the viewer to a different world and 3D was reborn. Unfortunately not all 3D movies are Avatar quality, many rely on software to convert the 2D movie to 3D. Time will tell if this is an acceptable path or if 3D will again be dubbed a gimmick.
One great potential for 3D is the broadcasting of events. The first concert recorded was of U2 in 2007, Gimmick free the feeling was as close to a live event as you could get. The first 3D sporting broadcast, 1st February 2010, was a football match between Manchester United and Arsenal. Football fans across the UK and Ireland are said to have been "wowed" by the broadcast, with the greatest impact when close-up and slow motion replays were shown.
Different 3D Display standards
So what's different this time? This time there are a number of systems available each using a different technique. Wowing the audiences in cinemas is the Passive polarization system.