The main problem with 3DTV is the need to wear dark glasses which is not really practical for regular television viewing. There are approaches which do not require glasses, using so-called autostereoscopic displays. Philips was a proponent of this approach but after a decade of research abandoned product development. Dimenco, a start-up company founded by four former Philips employees has licensed the technology and is now showing its 56” lenticular screen on the Philips stand at the IFA trade show as the 3D of the future.

For many year Philips has been showing the technology behind this prototype, which is based on small lenses on the screen which refract the left and right images for each eye. Although Philips dropped development to concentrate on the more immediate opportunity of 3DTV with glasses, it could come to market within 3-5 years, and will be available for professional and advertising applications later this year.

The screen has a resolution four times greater than high-definition, at 3840×2160 pixels, but the effect is of lower resolution as a result of the different images provided for up to 15 different viewing angles over a 120 degree arc. In theory, this means freedom of viewing position, in terms of distance and angle. You can also perceive depth as motion parallax while moving within the viewing field.

The views can be created using software tools from 3D animations, games, and dual camera stereoscopic imagery.

Meanwhile, perhaps we should look forward to screens with four times the resolution of full high-definition television as the next step in the ever ascending upgrade path on the technology roadmap.