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RealD, Samsung Sign 3D License Agreement

16 May, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Pact for LCD screens would incorporate RealD’s inexpensive theatrical eyewear

RealD Inc. and Samsung Electronics LCD Business May 16 announced a license deal to promote third-party utilization of Samsung’s 3D LCD screens, including RealD technology and eyewear.

Los Angeles-based RealD is one of the largest manufacturers and distributors of 3D technology used in movie theaters.

The LCD panels are expected to be available for PC monitors in 23-inch and 27-inch sizes by early 2012 and for TVs in 55-inch size thereafter.

Combining the two companies’ forays into 3D technology should help boost the format’s home entertainment adoption, according to director and 3D advocate James Cameron.

“Full resolution viewing is key to experiencing 3D as a filmmaker intended, and when combined with the comfort and practicality of RealD 3D cinema glasses, this display technology will set a new standard for 3D in the home,” Cameron said in a statement.

Specifically, the jointly developed advanced active technology 3D displays offer full resolution, high-definition 3D video to each eye and are compatible with the same lower-cost 3D cinema eyewear used in RealD 3D-equipped motion picture theatres around the world.

The need and cost associated with 3D eyewear is considered a major stumbling block in wider consumer adoption of 3D Blu-ray in the home, among other issues.

Unlike film patterned retarder-based 3D displays that cut resolution to each eye in half, the new Samsung display technology delivers full-resolution, high-definition 3D images to each eye by adopting active shutter technology on the display, resulting in a brighter, flicker-free, fully immersive 3D experience across a wide viewing angle.

“3D displays should not compromise image quality by degrading resolution; it’s simply not the premium viewing experience consumers have come to expect from 3D,” said Bob Mayson, president of consumer electronics at RealD. “By working with Samsung to integrate active-shutter technology on the panel, these displays deliver a full resolution 3D experience with the convenience and familiarity of RealD 3D cinema eyewear.”

Ralph Schackart, media analyst with William Blair & Co. in Chicago, projects RealD will generate more than $151 million in revenue from its theatrical eyewear and related 3D technologies this year, in addtion to $127 million in cinema royalties.

"We do not believe that the license with Samsung is exclusive, and with Samsung having now become a licensee, we believe that RealD will begin negotiating with other large panel manufacturers to license their technology, if it has not already," Schackart wrote in a note.

He said Samsung predicts 3DTVs will account for 30%-40% of TV market share by 2014, or 80 million to 100 million units, up from an estimated 20 million in 2011.

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