In a closed door event, glasses free 3D specialists Stream TV Networks were showing potential content providers and journalists their new consumer level autostereoscopic display – a 42” Hisense model. The goal is to aggregate a range of content (2D and AS3D) for connected TV 3D VOD content apps in time for the imminent launch of a range of TVs in the UK next year.
Unfortunately, the 4K model was not available to see, but we were shown how the 3D depth control operated, examples of manually converted autostereoscopic content (some of which was converted from 2D) and real-time conversion of a 3D Blu-ray Hollywood movie. We also saw an example of 3D gaming on the system.
3D to AS3D conversion is achieved by the SeeCube box. The version we saw was very large but Stream TV Networks' CEO Mathu Rajan said they are currently talking to manufacturers to integrate the processing technology into TV sets. Some of the people being invited to the Soho venue over the next few days include content providers. Discussions are in place to encourage content owners to supply 2D and 3D content for a VOD on-demand channel(s). The Stream TV Networks 'Ultra-D system allows signals to be sent down an existing HD pipe but it is likely content will be delivered by an over-the-top model like LG’s 3D World App.
Stream have chosen Can Communicate as their preferred production partner. Due to a slow-down in the 3D market, Can Communicate’s 3D output has reduced in comparison to 2D, although their first production since the merger with Touch Productions – I, Human, pushed the envelope of 3D documentaries with visually stunning endoscopic shots of operations. It is currently airing on Sky 3D. Both companies aim to “harmonise products and services to deliver fully integrated 3D solutions.” RAM Interactive is Stream TV’s reseller, and they have digital signage presence in UK cities and over 45 shopping centres.
Rajan told us that they are on target to launch the first glasses free 3D TVs in the UK early next year although the pricing is to be set by the display manufacturers Pegatron and Hisense.
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The Philedelphia based company will have competition from TV maker DaVinci, which, like Stream, also claim to be able to offer a ‘true glasses free 3D TV’. Stream claim Ultra-D is the only true glasses free 3D technology as it is based on a unique optical system, and not lenticular like its rivals, meaning there are no viewing cone ‘jumps’.
Stephen Blumenthal, the DaVinci Inventor and CEO, defends their system despite it being deployed in the less than well received Toshiba GL1 glasses-less 3DTV saying that their new autostereoscpic display also has adjustment controls to increase the depth in a recent press release (many claimed the images on the Toshiba GL1 looked flat).
DaVinci is also planning on launching an Internet channel in 2013 designed to provide 3D stereoscopic content for “With Glasses Consumer TVs” including 3D stereoscopic movies / indie music videos, cutting edge animation, sports and 3D art.
Stream TV will be presenting the 4K model to 3D Focus in a few weeks’ time. The 60” screen uses patented algorithms to add pixel data so all 8 million pixels can be utilised meaning native 4K content won’t be required to take advantage of the screen.
We noticed slight judder and blurring artefacts on the model we saw but we are told that these do not appear on the 4K set. The higher res version also offers 200% more depth.
There is no doubt that glasses free 3D TV will be available sooner than many were expecting. Stream TV Networks’ system is a great step forward and the real time 3D to AS3D conversion was impressive. The gaming example looked great although there were definitely viewing cones – if I moved my head slightly, the negative and positive parallax would invert. Colours and brightness were excellent and we can’t wait to see the 4K version. Stay tuned to 3D Focus.
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