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Sony shows off OLED 3D TV demo: We're suitably impressed

We haven't always been the biggest fans of 3D, but it does seem that when OLED screens finally arrive, they'll have something worthwhile to bring to the third dimension

Sony has excellent reasons to try and enthuse us about 3D. It makes piracy harder, which keeps the people at Sony's film division happy. It also requires a new TV and Blu-ray player, such as the ones announced today, which keeps the consumer electronics people in new shoes. Filmmakers and broadcasters all need new 3D cameras, which helps Sony's professional equipment business stay in the black. But so far, there's been little reason for consumers to actually pay for any of it.

At the Sony CES 2010 stand, however, we saw an OLED TV demo that made 3D look about as good as we've seen it outside of cinemas. OLED has the distinct advantage of producing more vivid colours than both plasma and LCD. For 3D, this is important because the process looks best when colours are vibrant and bright. We watched some demo material from both video and computer game sources, and we have to say, the 3D was very impressive indeed.

The problems with OLED 3D are almost too numerous to overcome though. For a start, the cost of buying an OLED TV isn't likely to fall any time soon. Sony's own 11-inch OLED screen is still a king's ransom to buy, and for 3D to work well, you need a big screen to watch it on. Even if money were no object, it's still not possible to make large OLED screens in the quantities needed for mass-market appeal. So it seems we're going to be waiting a long time before we get to see anything as cool as this demo in our homes.

The 3D gravy train will rumble on, and it seems that everyone this year is of the opinion that we'll be watching major sporting events and movies at home, in 3D, before CES 2011 rolls around.

Update: Here's a video from our US chum Brian Tong. You can't see the 3Dness, sadly, but Brian's very excited about it.