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Tuesday, August 10, 2004
Sharp Introduces 3-D Computer Display

The $1,499, 15-inch LCD 3-D display is believed to be the first one marketed to consumers.

Hoping to spur a 3-D revolution, Sharp Systems of America introduced Monday a new flat-panel computer display designed to deliver eye-popping images without the need for special glasses. Though a handful of lesser-known companies have produced stand-alone 3-D displays for the medical and scientific industries, Sharp's new 15-inch LCD 3-D display is the first to also target consumers, analysts say.

The Sharp LL-151-3D display, which costs $1,499, allows users to easily switch between 2-D and 3-D modes. The display has a special layer, which, when turned onto 3-D mode, helps to create the illusion of 3-D vision, adding depth to images regardless of whether they were created in 3-D. The special effect is similar to the technology Sharp uses in one of its laptops introduced last year.

A growing number of video games, including ones for cell phones, feature 3-D effects. And software programs that allow users to turn conventional DVD movies or regular digital photos into 3-D images are starting to hit the market, said Ian Matthew, Sharp's 3D business development manager.

Also, graphics chip providers such as Nvidia Corp. (NVDA) and ATI Technologies are developing products that support 3-D images, while Sharp has partnered with other companies, including Sony Corp. (SNE) and Sanyo Electric Co. (SANYY), to create more 3-D applications. Toshiba Corp. earlier this year announced it, too, was developing a 3-D display technology.

"Everyone believes that this market will move forward toward mass adoption," Matthew said. "Even though it's on the bleeding edge right now, it will get there."

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