In this chapter, the current state and major technological accomplishments that are within the scope of this book are highlighted, accompanied by some open problems.
As in any other imaging modality, 3D imaging involves the capture of 3D information, its delivery and storage, and eventually its display. The interaction of the end user is primarily with the display device; therefore, for the consumer the terms "3D Video," "3D Games," "3D Cinema," or "3DTV" are always associated with a display device. Typically, this is a conventional TV-like monitor in stereoscopy and multiview 3D systems; a screen for the cinema as in conventional movie theaters; a game console with a TV-like monitor; or a ghostlike image in a hypothetical true-3D ideal display case. 3D graphics and 3D games are also commonly displayed on conventional 2D monitors. However, this is essentially due to the very limited availability of 3D monitors compared to their 2D counterparts.
End-to-end imaging systems are much more involved than just the display: there is very sophisticated technology throughout the chain, and that includes capturing or artificially generating 3D content, delivery to the user, ability of the user to interact with and probably modify the content, etc. The display is only one end of the chain. Each of the chain components is important, and the overall success is possible only if these components function properly. Therefore, it is important to understand the current state-of-the-art in all of these functional components of an end-to-end 3D system.