Will Your RealD AVATAR 3D Glasses Work At Home?

3D Did you keep your AVATAR 3D glasses after you left the movie theater? Many people saw AVATAR in 3D, in normal 3D or IMAX 3D. You get your special glasses when you give them your ticket, but you don’t always have to hand the glasses back. If you still have the RealD 3D glasses, will you be able to use them to watch AVATAR at home? There is a difference between IMAX 3D glasses and other 3D glasses; active 3D technology and passive 3D technology. Will either work on a home release of AVATAR in 3D?

Guest Post By Rebecca Scudder

When AVATAR was released, there were generally three different prices to see the movie. You could watch in 3D, in IMAX or in a regular theatre, with no 3D effects at all. Both the 3D showing and the IMAX showings gave you 3D glasses to watch and enjoy the movie.

At the end of the IMAX AVATAR showing, did you notice an usher hovering next to you as you stood by the bin for your IMAX glasses? They strongly suggested that you drop your glasses in as you left.

If you watched the 3D version where they handed you shrink wrapped RealD glasses, no one really seemed to care if you left with your glasses for a souvenir. Will they do you any good later?

The difference is in the technology used in the glasses. AVATAR 3D glasses from RealD give 3D vision passively, with oppositely circularly polarized lenses. They are cheap to produce, and they are not built to last. Instead, a special projector made by Sony shows images for left and right eyes separately, with an attachment that polarizes the images and projects them into the theater at the same time, superimposed on each other. Without the special projector and a silvered screen, the RealD glasses will not work. RealD technology is going to stay in the movie theater, due to the equipment needed to make the passive polarized lenses work.

AVATAR 3D IMAX LC shutter glasses use active technology, with a receiver built into the frame. The theater does not consider them disposable, as they are not inexpensive. If you did manage to leave the theater with a set of the glasses, will they work on home equipment? They could theoretically work with some of the future home 3D systems, depending on the transmission frequency. But the likelihood of them using the same transmission method and frequency is not very high, because the current LC shutter lenses may use infrared, radio frequency, DLP-Link or a Bluetooth receiver in the glasses to receive the timing signal.

In late March 2009, Panasonic started selling a 50” plasma TV along with a pair of 3D glasses and a Blu-ray player. Samsung has recently shipped a 55” LED Back lit LCD TV which is now in stores. Sony is also supposed to release a 3D TV in June of 2010. For computer users, Panasonic will introduce the new BT-3DL2550, a 25.5-inch 3D LCD production monitor with full 1920x1200 resolution at the 2010 NAB Show. With it, the viewer uses LC shutter glasses with a timing mechanism which opens and shut the lenses on each side alternately. Nvidia has released the GeForce 3D Vision kit, which has 3D LC shutter glasses, a transmitter, drivers and special software. The limiting factor is the need for a 120 Hz monitor, because there are not many available.

In short, by the time you need AVATAR 3D glasses for home viewing, you will have a choice of different systems you can watch it on. However, you’ll need the glasses that come with that system, not those souvenir RealD glasses you have gathering dust on a shelf.

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If you saw AVATAR in 3D, did you keep your 3D glasses?

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