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Glasses-Free 3D Gets Ready For Prime Time

2/07/2011 12:01:00 AM Eastern
NEW YORK — Among the diverse new approaches for developing the burgeoning 3D TV market was an attempt by several manufacturers at the recent International CES to test the U.S. waters for glasses-free 3D TV.

Several manufacturers showed prototype glasses-free displays, with varying degrees of success in presenting the illusion of 3D.

On the surface, the concept appears to be the panacea for most of what ails the nascent 3D TV movement.

Most consumers who have expressed disinterest in 3D TV in focus studies have cited high price and the need to wear glasses as the greatest impediment to making a purchase.

The glasses-free concept demos at the show offered hope that very soon glasses-free 3D sets will be viable market drivers. Limitations in most of the demos were a very narrow viewing angle to see the effect, and warnings by several set makers that the technology could make some people feel discomfort and could be harmful to young children, while their vision develops.

One company is already planning to deliver a set to market in coming months.

New York-based Team ACX showed what may be the first auto-multiscopic glasses-free 3D LCD TV to reach the U.S. market. The 24-inch set produces high-resolution 3D images that can be viewed without special glasses.

Called the Vibrante 3DX-24 ($800 suggested retail), the 3D set will display FullHD 1080p 3D content and includes an ATSC tuner, HDMI, component, VGA, S-Video, and composite inputs, a 20,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, 5ms response time and a 16:9 aspect ratio.

ACX said the Vibrante will be distributed nationwide exclusively by M. Rothman & Co.

It is scheduled to be available at selected retailers and online etail stores later this year, the company said.

Several manufacturers tested prototypes on CES attendees.

Sony showed early prototypes of glasses-free LCD TVs and a glasses-free 3D OLED display. These included a 56-inch 4K pixel LCD monitor, a 46-inch 2K pixel LCD and a 24.5-inch 2K pixel OLED display.

Toshiba showed 65-inch, 56-inch, 20-inch and 12-inch lenticular glasses-free 3D panels, but all were prototypes with no immediate plans for commercial introduction in the United States.

The larger screens offered 4K resolution in 2D only, and enabled viewing a 3D effect from three positions in front of the screen.
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