If we're going to have to put up with 3D being the next big thing in HDTVs, the least we can hope for is that we're not stuck wearing those plastic glasses on our sofas for the next 50 years. While that's exactly what Panasonic and other 3D proponents are pushing with their new sets and services, there are a few promising signs that 3D will be possible without donning special specs.
Hitachi is at work on a glasses-free solution, and recently displayed a 10-inch version at the CEATEC trade show in Japan. The Full Parallax 3D TV uses 16 projectors with 800x600 resolution and a special lens array sheet to create the perception of depth without special eye wear, though the display currently tops at a meager 640x480 (VGA) resolution. The low resolution is the result of having to provide multiple viewpoints of the image—the good news is that it permits viewing from any angle. In the future, the plan is to combine in one set to create a 4k image (which is
roughly twice four times the resolution of 1080p HD).
Of course, the bad news is that there's no time line for when the company can produce a set that's bigger than a netbook display. On the other hand, I'm confident plenty of people will be waiting for a glasses-free option before getting excited about 3D on their HDTV.