Samsung doles out a glasses-free 3D reality check

Posted by Mike Luttrell

With Nintendo's 3DS on the horizon and the fact that making fun of 3D glasses is so incredibly easy to do, it's easy to start thinking glasses-free 3D is the way to go. But Samsung says, "Not so fast."

Samsung, which is voraciously rooted in the current market of stereoscopic 3D TV, said the technology is not yet ready to make glasses-free 3D a viable medium.

It is true that glasses-free 3D technology, also known as autostereoscopic 3D, is ready for the market. That's why the 3DS is coming out, and digital photo frames are already using it. But those are small gadgets. The problem is, as screen size increases, potential problems magnify exponentially.

One of the biggest issues is there is not a lot of leniency when it comes to viewing angle. With the 3DS, users will be staring directly head-on at the screens. With TVs, it's different. "You have to watch it virtually motionless," said Samsung's John Review in a PC World article.

That hasn't stopped Toshiba from saying it plans to bring out a full-size autostereoscopic 3D TV within the next year, and Sony has also come forward saying it's working on prototypes. Samsung is in fact also researching the technology itself, but it doesn't want anyone to feel that stereoscopic 3D, the technology that requires glasses, is somehow already obsolete.

Also, let's be realistic. People who complain and joke about having to wear 3D glasses probably don't actually own a 3D TV. After a while, it becomes second nature and is not an issue at all. It's just something that's easy to poke fun at, but in the end consumers will accept it as the next movement in home entertainment technology.