How can I watch 3D Movies in 2023
Updated: Oct 23
With the gradual demise of 3D TV, with production pretty much having stopped in about 2016, and the now aging sets potentially nearing their end of life how can we watch stereo 3D content in 2023.
Obviously you can still catch a fair bit of stereoscopic 3D movies at your local Multiplex Cinema - well if you're lucky as some cinemas/chains seem to view 3D as more of a nuisance than a money earner. Of course when you have the like of James Cameron releasing Avatar 2 - you naturally see a surge of renewed interest in the format and it looks like there will be more 3d films released this year than for quite some while.
But for home viewing it's a little more tricky. 3D Blu-ray production has slowed to a trickle with the major studios (for all intents and purposes) stopping 3D releases in Europe and the US. There are still big studio 3D releases in Japan or via specialists like Random Space Media in Australia and specialist golden era content via The 3D Film Archive and their distribution partners. And of course smaller players like Deep Vision Studios. :)
So how do we watch 3D at home?
PROJECTOR & 3D BLU-RAY PLAYER
Most modern projectors still support active 3D with either RF or DLP-Link battery powered glasses. Using a projector you get a near cinema experience with a huge picture and great 3D although in my experience I'd still prefer passive glasses, and my 3D projector definitely is more prone to ghosting than my aging LG 3D TV.
And to feed the 3D to the projector you will need a 3D enabled Blu-ray player - of which there are still a great many on the market.
Projection 3D isn't the only game in town - VR Headsets, ideally the best spec and highest resolution you can afford can do a great job at presenting 3D - grab a side-by-side 3D format film, pop it on the headset and your VR Media Player should be able to do the rest with ease. The effect, when done right is akin to sitting in a cinema watching a 3D film on the big screen. You can virtually smell the popcorn!
GLASSES FREE 3D DISPLAYS
With the likes of Leia Inc recently launching their new Lume Pad 2 glasses free 3D tablet onto the market, as well as other computer screen manufacturers launching glasses free 3D monitors there's a whole new generation of amazing hardware coming into play - don't like wearing 3D glasses? Well here you don't need to. With the Lume Pad 2's eye tracking technology there's none of the old limited 3D sweet spot issues, the 3D effect actively tracks your eyes to make sure you get the best stereoscopic experience from where-ever you are watching.
If all else fails and you are desperate for a 3D fix, the old school red-blue anaglyph glasses are always an option. With the ability to playback on any modern TV and Blu-ray Player anaglyph 3D gives everyone an equal opportunity to appreciate some extra dimensions of fun. I'll be the first to admit it's not as good as modern digital 3D but for a bit of 3D fun it's not to be sniffed at.
Andrew Murchie is an award winning Stereoscopic 3D filmmaker and creative technologist based in Edinburgh, Scotland where he specialises in virtual reality, augmented reality, stereoscopic 3d and a range of more traditional digital filmmaking skills. He has produced & directed independent stereoscopic 3-D films &Virtual Reality 360 3D films.