CES 2013: Dolby Demonstrates 4K Glassless 3D TV [Video]

Paul Lilly

Might 2013 be the year of glassless 3D TVs? It's looking that way.

Television makers and the entertainment industry as a whole has been trying to cram 3D viewing down our collective throats (or eye sockets, as it were -- apologies for the unpleasant visuals), but having to don a pair of sometimes goofy looking goggles hasn't proven popular. The other problem with 3D TVs is that they're often limited to strict viewing angles. Sit just a little bit off axis and the 3D effect goes out the window. It doesn't have to be that way, as Dolby demonstrated at its booth at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Yep, THAT Dolby, the one that's known for sound.

Reporter extraordinaire and Online Editor Jimmy Thang had a chance to demo Dolby's 4K glassless 3D TV, and sure enough, the 3D effect was preserved when viewing the screen from an angle.

For the technology to truly shine, Dolby said it was best if the content was 3D to begin with, rather than trying to upconvert 2D footage into 3D. The ability to upconvert is there, it just won't be as good as native 3D content.

If you're thinking this is the same technology used in Nintendo's 3DS handheld console and similar devices, think again. Those devices are single-viewer gadgets that, as mentioned above, requires a direct line of sight with the display. Dolby's technology is called Multi View Glasses Free 3D, which is exactly what it sounds like. An algorithm runs in real-time and converts the stereoscopic 3D input signal into a Multi View signal, Dolby explains.

What's equally interesting here is that Dolby is primarily known for audio, not video. Dolby feels it's mastered the audio space, and the next logical step was to dive into video. The company has already developed some professional products in the video space, such as digital video cinema servers, a professional reference video monitor, and more, and is now ready to focus on the consumer end.

Dolby says it plans to license its 4K glasses free 3D TV technology to third-parties rather than sell its own products.

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