Ami Dror is one of XpanD‘s Co-founders and the 1st employee of the XpanD. Ami, a Stereoscopic 3D Media Expert, is responsible for XpanD’ overall strategy. With over 2000 3D Cinema installations worldwide, dominate market share in Europe and Asia and full studios endorsement, XpanD delivers 3D experiences to millions of viewers globally. Last week, we had a telephone interview with Ami about XpanD and 3D Home Cinema. Ami was kind enough to answer our questions from a wedding party had attended.
Bijan Tehrani: Please tell us about what XpanD is producing for 3D Home Entertainment.
Ami Dror: Most of the global cinemas outside the USA are using XpanD shutter glasses in order to show 3D. We decided to use the best technology that was available to us instead of using the old polarization technology that was used in the 50’s. We found that the global cinema visitor appreciates quality, and is willing to pay for quality. Currently we have over 3000 3D cinemas globally. While XpanD is associated with the RED glasses, XpanD is the greenest 3D company on the planet as our glasses can be used 5000 times and are not trashed after each movie.
When Panasonic came to us about three years ago and said that they wanted XpanD to develop 3D TV with them for the home, we immediately understood the potential; we developed the first 3D TV with Panasonic. After Panasonic showed the TV last year at CES, everyone was convinced that 3D technology was amazing. Our first challenge was to make people see how great 3D TV was, when we showed the 103’’ 3DTV with XpanD glasses to James Cameron, his reaction was to say that this was as good as cinema.
About two years ago we also found out that there was a problem because each company was using a different communication protocol between the glasses and between the televisions, meaning that if you bought a Panasonic TV then your TV would only work with Panasonic glasses (and not with Sony glasses for example). This is a major problem because, say if you buy a blue ray player from Sony and they are telling you that this Blue Ray player only works with Sony – you will never buy it! We see it today with 3D glasses; retailers do not want to carry 25 different types of glasses, the want to carry 1-3 types that will work with every television. So over a year ago we teamed with the CEA in order to standardize the communication between the products. The problem started when a race began between the TV manufactures in the market and the companies did not want to wait for a standard; lucky enough, we had a patent for universal shutter glasses and when we knew that these glasses were needed, we started to work on XpanD universal 3D glasses – X103. Our glasses work with almost every type of television; you can take the glasses everywhere, and you can also take them to the cinema. I think that these glasses are some of the most sophisticated device in the 3D revolution because it makes life so much easier for the retailer and, of course, the consumer. So these glasses that we plan to release in 60 days are a major contribution to the 3-D world because it really makes everything easier.
BT: When will these glasses be in the market and what will the price range be?
AD: The price will be $129 in retail and we expect them to be in the market in 60-70 days, the latest should be September 1st.
BT: We did a survey and saw that there are more Mitsubishi 3D ready TV’s rather than any other brand; what products do you have for those users now and what products will you have for them in the future?
AD: DLP TVs are 3D ready for many years. We were approached by Texas Instruments and they said that they were starting an educational move with consumer 3D projectors. There were two studies that proved that studying in 3D was three times more effective than studying in 2D.
Our DLP-Link glasses are perfect for DLPTV owners as the only thing they need for 3D are the X102 glasses. There are people who are not even aware that they have 3-D ready televisions at home. All you need is to buy the XpanD X102 DLP-Link glasses and you will see that the quality is better than anything else.
BT: Our own research shows that of consumers with 3D ready TV’s, about 48% of them had Mitsubishi televisions. What is the solution to their problem of compatibility?
AD: Well that all depends on what they want to show. If they want to watch Blu-ray in 3D, then all they would need to do would be to buy a Blu-ray player that supports checkerboard and XpanD X102 glasses and then they should be all set. But if they want to watch live broadcast shows, then they would need to buy a converter.
BT: Where do you see the future of the 3D home market?
AD: I believe that 3D will drive the IPTV revolution as streaming 3D content solves many of the standardization problems. 3D is developing faster than all plans and it will be driven by live broadcast, gaming, education, business and—of course—entertainment. We all see the world in 3D, our TV’s should not be different.
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