3-D has been a major push for the movie industry since James Cameron's "Avatar" debuted at the end of 2009 and proceeded to make nearly $3 billion worldwide [source: Box Office Mojo]. 3-D's momentum isn't only affecting films: In 2011, Discovery Communications, Sony and IMAX launch their partner project 3net, the first cable channel offering 3-D programming 24 hours a day [source: Discovery].
Major electronics companies want in on the profits and are marketing 3-DTVs as the next big thing in HD. In addition to the basic convenience of watching at home, 3-D televisions offer something the movie theater can't match: choice. The current standard in flat-screen TVs is called active shutter 3-D. This technology uses battery-powered glasses to "shutter" an image in one eye and then the other. Matched with the refresh rate of the TV, this means each eye is seeing a slightly different image, creating the 3-D effect. Passive 3-D (the technology used in movie theaters) uses two image projectors and non-powered glasses with polarized lenses to block out a different range of light in each eye. This allows the left eye to see only one projected image and the right to see another, creating the 3-D effect [source: Best-3-DTVs].
With choice and convenience comes a downside: price. 3-DTVs are more expensive than regular high definition televisions, and the active shutter glasses can cost more than $100 a pair. In the future, manufacturers will be able to sell autostereoscopic 3-DTVs that work without glasses, but Samsung predicts such TVs won't be commercially viable until 2020 [source: SlashGear]. Once those screens become affordable -- assuming 3-D proves to be more than a short-term fad -- the home 3-D experience will definitely have movie theaters beat.