CES: 3d Tv, Without Glasses


We were hoping to get to test drive some of the 3d televisions that don’t need glasses. We had speculated about how they worked, and we were mostly right.  It appears to be some type of lens that works similar to those little printed holograms. The strange thing is that we haven’t seen any of these TVs in the big name booths. The few that we have seen are in little booths at the edges. The big names are usually doing the polarized glasses or shutter glasses.

“it was nice not wearing glasses”… yeah, I know, I’m wearing glasses.

22 thoughts on “CES: 3d Tv, Without Glasses

  1. Perhaps you could describe the experience a bit more. That is, is the effect only available in a small area in front of the screen? Does the effect annoying reverse as you move left to right? I am speculating the answers to be “yes” and “yes”. And, of so, at that point I can understand why the “big outfits” are not that interested.

    BTW, I thought a lenticular screen was a reflective surface that preserves the polarization of the light. When someone says lenticular I think of two projectors with polarizing lenses and wearing polarizing glasses to view a 3D image. All I saw in the back ground was something that looked like a flat screen TV.

    If true, they are using a flat screen TV, then I suspect there is little magic at all going on here. By simply placing a vertical lined mask slightly in front of the screen, one can present independent images to each eye by interlacing two images each given alternating vertical strips of the screen. For one eye, the strips for a given image are hidden behind the mask but, for the other eye, they are completely visible. The problem? Viewers have to be in certain let to right positions for the effect to work. Further, the distance from the screen effects to viewers ability to experience any 3D effect.

    1. @ST2000,
      there is definitely a “Sweet spot” where the lenses actually work. On this unit it was fairly wide, maybe 30 to 45 degrees. The 3d effect was slight, but definitely clear. If you are outside of that spot, there really wasn’t a bad effect. It just lost the 3d.

  2. I really don’t see how it could be done with anything except lenticular style stuff. If wearing glasses is too much, you’re in trouble to start with. As the person writing, thanks, but I’m kind of wearing a pair anyway. Whenever I’m awake. The added value has to be pretty narrow for throwing on a pair of polarized glasses to be a deal breaker. And right now, I guess it mostly is. I’d focus more on shutter or polarized. Especially for gaming – you’re already picking up a controller, walking over to turn your ps3/360/wii on and grabbing a controller. Most of the output is already rendered from 3d.

  3. @Larry,
    I guess we just have to suffer with that for now, but shutter glasses simply suck for a large amount of people. They give headaches to most people I know. Polarized systems are the big thing right now, and seem to be doing well.

    I’m just simply more interested in the future of the technology.

  4. Ah, thanks for the follow up Caleb. Humm, good for a fairly wide angle (much more than I would expect) in the center but back to 2d beyond that. I am still sceptical. I would like to see it for my self. I would pay close attention to the effect in the sweet spot as I moved my head the width of my eyes from left to right. I still think the effect should reverse about every 3 inches.

    Any ways, wikipedia knows all! Spurred on to do a little research because of your post, I found this article which, if in fact this is what they are doing, explains a lot:

    ((A couple of jumps later and I found this wikipedia note – which I think is deserving of it’s own hack-a-day post even if it is from a well know manufacturer:
    On page:
    It says:
    “(a parallax display) is also being used for the navigation system in the 2009-model Range Rover, allowing the driver to view (for example) GPS directions, while a passenger watches a movie.”))

    …what a cool idea!

    1. @st2000,
      yeah, it wasn’t perfect and there was a small transition period from 3d to non 3d. Actually the non 3d may not have been to great either, but my brain was fried so I don’t recall too clearly. In that small transition, everything looked super goofy.

  5. Did you guys never see the Sharp 3D displays used on DoCoMo cell phones from a few years ago? You just held the screen head-on and got a nice 3D effect of the photos taken with the twin cameras mounted on the back of the device.

    It didn’t use lenticular lenses, just a carefully aligned filter with black bars spaced about the same as the RGB fliters embedded in the LCD. Recall some company in Japan released a 17″ laptop with the same technology maybe ~2005. As a poster above mentioned, you really had to stay within 20 degrees or so of head on to the screen, otherwise the 3D effect vanished.

  6. I remember seeing a 3D TV that you didn’t need glasses with at a Microsoft Tech-Ed Europe conference in Barcelona two years ago. They had a basic 3D demo running on a loop.
    I sincerely hope things have improved since then- even if you were stood in the sweetest spot for the effect, it barely registered as 3D! At least to me.
    As time went on, in fact, it seemed the effect worstened, maybe the screens were burning in and being damaged from being left on all day, but I suppose it could have been psychological.
    I would imagine these screens you’re seeing are a lot better.

  7. I don’t get why it needs to be without glasses, will people refuse to wear glasses at all?

    I guess so, because I need to wear glasses and some people I know need them and refuse to wear them.

    What about circular polarized contact lenses? Too much?

    I hear RealD (Avatar 3D) is really getting a lot of positive response, and the glasses aren’t even mentioned.

  8. I disagree with 1st commenter JJRH.

    Its already happening, with ESPN 3D live events this year. Im assuming it will be a yearly subscription and will come with at least one pair of shutter glass (probably the active sony shutter glasses)

    The future of TV is entirely 3d. Say goodbye to camera operators, as the viewer will be allowed to control the viewing angle entirely because a dome of all encompassing cameras.. also there wont be a need to place cameras to achieve “matrix” like bullet time effects…

    The only thing it wouldnt work for is LIVE events, since audience will be there.. Im guessing live events will be limited to several viewing angles, above court,end of court/field, behind rim etc…

  9. I was at a broadband forum last year in Melbourne and Alcatel had a “glasses-less” Full-HD 3D TV set up to demonstrate the requirement for fibre to the home.

    The intriguing fact was that the TV was manufactured by Philips. The unit had multiple sweet spots of maybe 20° each so multiple people could view the effect at the same time. Of course if you deviated too far from the viewing angle, the image looked terrible.

    I prefer the concept of not wearing glasses to watch TV, kinda reminds me of going to the early 3D movies in the ’80s with the Red-Blue glasses.

  10. Thanks for the post, 3D TVs are the future! The games are going to be really good but the downfall is people with eye problems may not be able to see the 3 dimensions and also cost factor. Can’t wait to see the 3D Tvs in action.

  11. nintendo 3ds ahead of the game 3d gaming and media no g;lasses portable for around £150

    sony ps3 $250
    sony 3d tv £2500

    sony has taken the cost of console gaming way above top spec pc gaming that is insulting



  12. hi there you are right $250 for a 3D ps3 plus a 3D tv $2,500 plus glasses $100 each or $400 for 4 players 3D sony epic fail and nintendo 3DS epic win you are right how many rich hard core gamers going pay over $3,250 just play 3D games but look at what else i can get for that price a 15 inch macbook pro with 4 gb ram and a 512 gb ssd or a toshiba R-600 with 3 gb ram and a 512 gb ssd for $3,500 or a 13.3 inch macbook pro with 2.53 ghs cpu 4 gb ram and 512 gb ssd for about $2,800 or get 8 gb version for $3,250 or a alien ware with a 256 gb ssd

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