LAS VEGAS, Nevada – A breathtaking wave of 3-D televisions has hit the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), where the technology is being touted as the next big thing in home theater.
"When it comes to home entertainment, there really is no experience like 3-D," Sony chief executive Howard Stringer said while unveiling the innovations on the eve of the official start of CES in Las Vegas.
"We intend to take the lead in 3-D. We want to provide the most compelling 3-D content possible."
The Japanese electronics giant's plans range from being part of a 3-D television network in the United States to streaming live performances in the format.
Country music star Taylor Swift performed at a Sony demonstration of live 3-D broadcasting and said she will use 3-D technology to document her coming Asia tour.
Sony has teamed with Discovery and IMAX in a 3-D TV network and with ESPN to broadcast football matches and golf in 3-D.
While the depth-perception technology has been around for years, it is finally "ready for prime time" as proven by box office successes of recent films "Avatar" and "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs," according to IMAX.
Sony will release a line of 3-D-ready televisions this year capable of synching with sensing units and "active shutter glasses," worn by viewers to create the illusion of a three-dimensional image.
On the CES show floor, massive TV screens linked to wireless glasses were displayed by South Korea's LG Electronics.
"3-D is going to be the next big buzz," LG's Randy Overton told AFP. "Everyone is going to want it. Then the gaming systems will jump on."
Forrester Research analyst James McQuivey said that while 3-D offerings are visually stunning, it is unlikely consumers will rush to buy the premium-priced television sets.
Many consumers upgraded to high-definition sets in the past three years, and an infrastructure to deliver 3-D content to homes isn't in place, according to McQuivey.
"I know we are all excited about how well 'Avatar' did, but it is very hard to jump on this bandwagon when you don't see a path for bringing it into anyone's home," McQuivey told AFP.
Growth of 3-D has been slow because of a lack of programming, the need for the special glasses and the higher prices of 3-D sets, but last month's release of science fiction blockbuster "Avatar," a 3-D film by "Titanic" director James Cameron, has renewed interest in the medium.
The likelihood that adoption of 3-D TV may take years, as did the Blu-ray DVD format, has not deterred manufacturers.
Toshiba unveiled a flat-panel Cell TV that converts digital video into 3-D.
Panasonic went 3-D with a "Live In It" campaign for its electronics.
"3-D is not about guys jumping off the screen, but really a more immersive and a more engaging experience for the consumer," said "Avatar" producer Jon Landau at a Panasonic event here.
"It heightens the senses. I think you'll see 3-D become ubiquitous."
South Korea's Samsung has teamed up with DreamWorks Animation, maker of "Shrek" and other hit movies, and Technicolor in a push to bring more 3-D entertainment into the home.
The three firms announced they have formed an alliance to "accelerate the worldwide deployment of in-home 3-D to mainstream consumers."
Samsung will be marketing a "complete 3-D entertainment offering for the home" featuring a 3-D television set, 3-D Blu-Ray player and "stylish active shutter 3-D glasses."
Technicolor chief executive Frederic Rose, hopes to capitalize on the current excitement over the format, saying 3-D in theaters is "a gateway into the home."