Naked-eye 3D TV that works!

Naked-eye 3D TV that works!

Summary: 3D TV was huge at NAB 2011 - in hype and flop. But NAB 2012 delivered the goods: watchable glasses-free 3D on big, colorful and very watchable screens.

TOPICS: Storage

3D has been a gimmick for years in comics, movies, postcards and, now, flatscreen displays. I first saw liquid crystal shutter (active glasses today) 3D in the mid-80s as a proof of concept than a workable product.

And that's where 3D has stayed until Avatar. Even after that I've remained skeptical that 3D would have a mass market.

2 demos But that opinion changed at NAB 2012.

First up was the 200 inch 3D display from Japan's NICT (National Institute of Information and Communications Technology). The still images had an excellent 3D "pop" that showed what the system could do.

Make no mistake, this was clearly a prototype, not a product.

There was visible banding on the screen, probably due to poor calibration of some of the 64 rear projectors that produce the 3d images. And there weren't any moving images either, but a spokesman said they expected to show those next year.

As an advertising display it will have few equals once the bugs are worked out. And there don't seem to be any major issues keeping the technology from scaling to much larger and engrossing sizes.

Even more impressive was the Dolby Labs and Phillips demo of Dolby 3D. Embodied in a 4k 54 inch display, the demo delivered bright, clear and detailed moving images. Very watchable!

The 3d effect wasn't as pronounced as in the NICT demo, but that may not be a bad thing. After all, 3D isn't the first thing we perceive when we walk into a room, and it shouldn't be the first thing we see on a home display either.

The Storage Bits take Though much work remains to be done to make home 3D displays an affordable and compelling reality, these demos opened my eyes - and mind - to the potential of naked eye 3D.

One of the chief obstacles to consumer adoption will be the availability of 3D programming. Sports is an obvious target, as are effects-heavy Hollywood blockbusters and nature documentaries. Character-driven dramas - where our involvement is with the story, not the set - won't have much use for 3D, just as they haven't benefited by Blu-ray's crisper picture.

The potential infrastructure impact is clearer. If 4k displays become the 3D standard, that octuples (4x pixels x 2) the bandwidth and storage required for programs.

You won't be streaming 3D from Netflix over America's decrepit networks any time soon. But it might give next-gen Blu-ray a much-needed shot in the arm.

Comments welcome, of course. I'd love to see Werner Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams documentary in 3D at home.

Topic: Storage

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • 4K will become the standard with or without 3D. Any "streaming" media

    that doesn't whole heartly embrace local media libraries will miss the boat because isp bandwidth caps have already become a very large stumbling block to video streaming. The streaming experience is about to get much worse, not better. I already have a tough time watching streaming netflix on a 60 inch tv because the pixelation is so annoyingly noticable. Until we get freaking awesome new bandwidth or awsome new codecs any viable new tv stb/dvr replacement better have more than just streaming capabilities.
    Johnny Vegas
    • Not clear on 4K traction

      Johnny, 4k on smaller screen sizes - less than 80" IMHO - just doesn't do much over 1080. I can see producing content in 4k - future proofing - but until screen sizes get really big it just isn't that big of a difference. Which is the same problem Blu-ray found.

      R Harris
      • Who has an 80" TV screen?

        80" = 6' 8"

        That's taller than most people (excluding basketball players and Nancy Archer). And I can't even imagine where I'd put a screen larger than 42".
  • Nobody cares about 3D

    I turned the 3D on my 3DS off after about a day. I watched a few movies on a friend's 3D TV before the novelty wore off. I watched two movies in 3D then decided I'd rather save the extra two bucks. Nobody I've met is actually enamored with 3D. Given the choice between a 3DTV or a larger non-3D for the same price, most people are going to opt for the bigger one.
    • As long as we're doing anecdotes...

      Plenty of people play the 3DS in 3D, and at max strength. My whole family likes the 3D movie nights I host. I've seen 20+ 3D movies in theaters. Hugo, Titanic, Avatar, Tron, Tintin, How to Train Your Dragon- the list of impressive 3D movies is large. If you weren't impressed chances are you have something wrong with your eyes, the theater was cheaping out on the projector bulbs, or the films were shot in 2D and converted quickly.

      3D is great and I don't let a bad director or greedy studio change my opinion about the filmmaking tool itself.
      • They don't want to get it

        I can understand people not liking 3d. Pick anything in the world and there are people that don't like it. I know people who just don't get into the whole tv and movie watching thing. It's ok to them, but they just get bored with it. What people that don't like 3d do is totally ignore the sector of people that do like 3d. For 3d to succeed you only need about 40 % of the population to like it. Tons of people don't go to the movie theater. I don't. Yet theaters do quite well because enough people do go. Same with 3d. They just don't get it. Actually, they don't want to.
      • 3D is worthless!

        Can't stand 3D movies in the theater, in fact I avoid them and refuse to support them if that's the only way they're released, and certainly wouldn't want to be forced or coerced into buying a TV with that feature when I'd NEVER use it. BTW, I've got friends who swear by 3D and even they said the new Titanic was worthless in 3D! Just a scam to get more money out of us.
  • Decrepit?

    Come visit us in New Zealand and we'll show you decrepit networks! I can't even receive wired broadband because there is not enough local exchange capacity to satisfy demand. Friends who have wired broadband find it slower than my 3G connection. I have to pay $40US for 2Gb of data and cannot purchase more than a 4Gb bundle any one month regardless of how much I'm prepared to pay. Just shows there's always someone worse off....
  • Great 3D quality!

    I can’t say much about these TVs since I've never tried them, though recently I have tried LGs LM7600 in 47-inches and my experience with this model was beyond my expectations. Great 3d quality, and the light weight passive 3d glasses were easy to wear for long time.