It’s always fun looking at the technology comments following a show like CES. Last year the big push from the Consumer Electronics players was 3DTV. While still very present this year, the bigger push was tablet… everything iPad and lookalike.
What I think is interesting is how so many people think that 3D will not take off before you can experience it at home without glasses. There is technology that enables that, it is called “auto-stereoscopic displays”. The simplify explanation of that technology is that it puts a “lens” in front of the display that limit the viewing of an individual pixel to specific angle. When you look at the display, you have to find the right angle where both eyes will see a different picture and not being in a “transition” zone. The more different angles you create the more position you can place yourself in relation to the screen and also the more people can experience it. The big drawback is that the more angle you do, the lesser is the resolution (the screen resolution is split by the lenses). Increase the number of viewing angle and you find yourself with a low resolution screen. On large displays with multiple angles, you can not really read types. This does limit the possibilities of that technology a lot and put practical consumer TV to many years in the future.
Tablets are not new in the consumer industry. I remember seeing it at Comdex (anyone remember that?) around 2000 with big push from Microsoft. The big difference this year is Apple success of the iPad in positioning it not as computer but as the ultimate device for personal media consumption. That took off big time.
The link between the two? I think the writing is on the wall: Auto-stereoscopic display technology in an iPad. For personal media consumption, an auto-stereoscopic display requires only two angles and with two angles, you don’t loose that much resolution.
Once people are able to experience 3D with good quality on a personal basis with a 3D iPad, how long do you think it will be before that want to have it also on their TV, even it they have to wear glasses when they do so?