Sales of 3D displays to increase sharply by 2010

Sales of 3D displays to increase sharply by 2010

Worldwide commercial sales of 3D display hardware are on track to quadruple by 2010, according to research from US technology analyst, iSuppli.

It expects 2.9 million units to be shipped in 2004, compared with 2 million last year.

The technology, still in its infancy, enables three-dimensional images to be displayed on a screen that differs little in size or format from a conventional PC display, and removes the need for 3D glasses or holographic images.

Sharp Japan - a major developer of 3D technology - is using Perth software developer, Digital Dynamic Depth (DDD), as the Australian sales channel for its 3D notebooks and monitors. DDD has been developing applic­ations for Sharp's 3D technology and is now bundling the hardware with software sales, but it has only shifted a few dozen units so far.

"3D display technology is unique in that it relies on the availability of content," DDD's director of research, Julien Flack, said.

"Sharp came across us as we were developing applications for 3D environments in the US and the relationship has been very close ever since."

With DDD's applications being custom designed for niche fields such as medicine or exploration, Flack is aiming to commercialise 3D technology.

DDD has developed DVD player software that can play off-the-self DVDs and encode into 3D on-the-fly.

"We're aiming for the consumer market," he said. "The technology is ready."

Sharp Australia's deputy managing director, Denis Kerr, has promised to start shipping the units in to the country from Japan in volume when he feels the public is ready.

"We are starting in niche applications - we're in the embryonic stage," he said.

"Our plan is to develop a broad suite of products. Eventually, people will want the same effect in their homes."

Kerr said that Sharp Japan had released the next generation of

3D PCs with much larger screens and improved viewing angle, but he was still waiting for an evaluation unit.

"We have shown our 3D products to our existing resellers and retailers," he said.

"Everybody loved it and wanted it, but nobody would commit to enough volume to warrant us importing the units.

"We're standing back and letting the market take its natural course."

Kerr added that he was keen to find more resellers of the 3D technology, and was in talks with several other content developers.

"We wouldn't turn our back on any software organisation that has the capability to develop for 3D," he said.

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