3D TV has had a troubled past, comparable to 3D gaming’s struggles. However, Magnetic3D believes that it may have been the wrong technology at the wrong time. The company is now gearing up to introduce its glasses-free lenticular-powered 3D televisions to consumers.
Lenticular technology, an ancient form of 3D image generation, is the driving force behind Magnetic3D’s display technology. It dates back to the days of 3D postcards that could showcase different angles of an image as you moved from side to side. Magnetic3D has taken this concept a step further by placing the lenticular bands at a 45-degree angle and utilizing subpixels.
During my initial encounter with the 55-inch glasses-free 3D TV, I did not perceive any 3D effect. This was because I was viewing it from an extreme angle. However, as I circled around to the front of the screen, the 3D imagery became apparent. I witnessed stunning visuals of fish, abstract art, basketball players, and a basketball that seemed to come out of the screen. The clever use of large black borders at the top and bottom of the image enhanced this effect.
While there were occasional artifacts in the 80lb 4K 3D TV, the majority of the display held up well. Eye-tracking technology is not yet integrated into the TV, but future models may include it. According to John Bracciante, the company’s COO, the optimal viewing experience is between 8 and 15 feet away from the screen.
Magnetic3D has primarily focused on selling their specific brand of 3D TV to retailers and for commercial use. However, they now aim to entice consumers to embrace 3D technology once more. They are marketing sets ranging from 43 inches to 65 inches, with the latter size being ideal for modern consumer UHD viewing.
The company plans to sell these sets starting at $10,000 and going up to around $20,000 for the 65-inch level. Each purchase includes a custom frame and some 3D content. However, the steep prices raised eyebrows, as top-notch TVs generally start in the $2,000 to $4,000 range. Very few people would be willing to spend $10,000 on a TV set.
We discussed the history of 3D TV and how consumers showed little interest in purchasing sets marketed solely as 3D TVs 15 years ago. Content availability, alongside the high price, posed significant challenges. Just as there was a lack of 8K content holding back the adoption of 8K TVs, scarcity in 3D content is a major hindrance. Currently, the only way to access the appropriate 3D content on Magnetic3D’s sets is through a USB stick, though the company is developing an app.
Despite these obstacles, one aspect mentioned by Bracciante caught my attention. People with these sets could use them to showcase their NFTs (non-fungible tokens) and digital art. While I personally view NFTs as part of a cryptocurrency bubble, there is a market of enthusiasts who own and enjoy displaying them. Magnetic3D’s expensive 3D sets could serve as display centers for these digital works of art.
It remains uncertain whether these sets will find buyers. However, the captivating and unique imagery they offer might be enough to entice some individuals. Before I departed, the CEO, Tom Zerega, handed me a small tablet. As I stared at the 7-inch display, I was astonished to see purple blobs appearing to leap off the screen. It was one of the most impressive glasses-free handheld 3D experiences I have encountered in over a decade of exploring 3D technology. Zerega referred to this tablet as the company’s calling card, and I could understand why.
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Deepak Sen is a tech enthusiast who covers the latest technological innovations, from AI to consumer gadgets. His articles provide readers with a glimpse into the ever-evolving world of technology.