James Cameron Says 3-D Coming to Mobile Devices Sans Glasses

Las Vegas – 3-D will come to mobile faster than anyone has anticipated, and without the need for awkward glasses, Avatar director James Cameron told an audience today at the CTIA Wireless conference.

When the screen is small as on mobile phones, viewers won't need the glasses any more to get 3-D. "It's the difference between a multiple user screen and one for a single user. When the screen is small enough, you don't need the glasses," Cameron explained. "The … screen [on a cell phone] is oriented to you and you get perfect 3-D."

Cameron made it sound simple. "What you want to do is move the HD pictures around, cut it in half and combine it to make 3-D," he said.

Cameron said he was surprised by this year's release of 3-D TVs. He expected a transition period when 3-D content would be broadcast in theaters, but 3-D TV manufacturers – including Panasonic, Samsung and Sony – "jumped that hurdle" and brought 3-D TVs to retail beginning last month.

He said he will not underestimate how quickly 3-D technology takes hold and has a start-up company underway to produce branded 3-D content for television. The company will provide a complete solution for 3-D entertainment, including providing the necessary equipment and training.

Despite the availability of 3-D TVs, there is still a content gap, according to Cameron.

He predicts "the smaller innovators will scoop the big studios" to close the gap, and sent a clear message to app developers in the audience to begin development of 3-D apps for mobile.

Cameron also noted during his talk that Avatar was the most pirated film in history, but says this is good news.

It proves that people discriminate between seeing a movie in a theater and owning a movie and watching it at home, he said.  "There's the acquisition experience and the social experience of the theater. I think they can co-exist. People want both."

In a bold move, Cameron has shortened the time between theatrical release and the release of the Avatar on DVD. "Let's just bring out the DVD while it's in theaters and see what happens," he said.

The 2-D version of Avatar will be available on iTunes in May.

Leslie Meredith
Leslie Meredith is a contributor to Live Science. She has a bachelor's degree from UCLA in psychology and has directed tourism and ski publications for the Salt Lake Visitor & Convention Bureau and managed promotions and events for Sunset Magazine.