StreamTV Networks at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas demonstrated a prototype technology that it says will allow consumers to view images in 3D without having to wear glasses. Company CEO Mathu Rajan at a press conference explained that the Ultra-D (not to be confused with LG’s term for 4K resolution) technology converts any 2D image, be it a Blu-ray movie; cable, satellite or Internet content; video game; or family photo, into 3D. Consequently, consumers will have access to an unlimited 3D content—lack of content has been one of the biggest inhibitors of 3D adoption, so the possibility of watching everything in 3D is sure to shake things up.
Of course, many 3D TVs currently on the market have 2D to 3D conversion already built in.
Today, the technology is built into a converter box, called the seeCube, but the company expects TV, tablet, and phone manufacturers to build the technology directly into products, although StreamTV did not comment on specific partnerships. Rajan said we should expect to see products mid year. One of the first products to hit the market will likely be StreamTV’s own glasses-free 3D LED TVs, in 42-inch and 55-inch models, with the SeeCube included as a standalone component.
In addition to being glasses-free, the Ultra-D 3D solution is positioned as providing a more natural viewing experience. “It’s less like a special effect and more like what you’d see if you looked out a window,” says Rajan. “We believe that a technology should have to trick our brains into seeing 3D.”
StreamTV provided a sneak peek of these TVs at the press conference, and just as they said, the 3D effect seemed very natural—a lot less jarring than what I have experienced when viewing 3D with glasses. It was also nice to experience the technology with a dozen or so other people. In the past, 3D demonstrations have tended to be a solitary exercise, with one person donning the glasses, making sure to stand directly in front to the screen, then handing off the glasses to the next in line. In this demonstration, the 3D stayed true to even those standing off to the side of the screen.
Below is a tablet PC demonstrating the Stream TV 3D technology.
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Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.