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CES 2014: Glasses-Free 3D Back Again, Ready for 8K

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With the age of 8K screen technology on the horizon for 2020, a handful of manufacturers have been showing off glasses-free 3D technology. Remember that craze from a few years ago? Well, it's still hanging on in there, and higher screen resolutions should help quality improve.

With an 8K TV and source, 2D images are viewed in 7680 x 4320 pixels, so with a glasses-free 3D mode sending 16 images simultaneously in different directions, that'll drop to 7680 / 16 = 480 x 4320 pixels, or 2.1 Megapixels per glasses-free 3D image. That works out as a pretty similar resolution to current Full HD TVs in 2D mode (1920 x 1080 = 2.1 Megapixels), which is considerably better than the 0.5-Megapixel images you get with 4K glasses-free 3D (3820 x 2160 pixels / 16 = 239 x 2160 pixels). The increased screen resolution should therefore improve quality considerably.

3d sans lunettes samsung

Samsung's 4K glasses-free 3D TV gives us an idea of what 3D viewing could be like in around six years' time. Sharp, on the other hand, has jumped straight in at the deep end with an 8K glasses-free 3D TV.

Sharp 2014 3d sans lunettes

Samsung's TV is nice enough, and we were pleased to have seen it in action. During the demo, Samsung told us that the 4K resolution used with 2D viewing effectively becomes 720p in glasses-free 3D mode. This drop in resolution is noticeable too.

Sharp's demo was more impressive, but we have to stay that we still weren't completely blown away. Once positioned correctly in front of the screen, the 3D effects were visible and not overdone, but the experience was spoiled by a kind of grid appearing over the image. We noticed the same thing with Changhong's glasses-free 3D TV too.

Changhong 3d sans lunettes

So maybe glasses-free 3D viewing won't become a reality with 8K after all. Maybe we'll have to wait for even higher resolutions, like 32K, for quality to really come into its own.