Glasses-Free 3D Fails To Wow At CES 2011

If glasses-free 3D is truly the future of TV, you wouldn’t know by the handful of companies that are showing off the technology at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

LG put their glasses-free TV right out on the demo floor. Unfortunately, the company also had to put a white line in the carpet to show onlookers where to stand. And even then you must stand dead-center to get a semi-decent 3D effect. Standing off to the side even by just a few inches reveals the limitations of glasses-free tech.

Over at the Toshiba booth, they made glasses-free 3D the centerpiece — literally — of their large booth. Convention-goers formed long, snaking lines to enter the black box housing several of the glasses-free sets.

And even though the set-up of the booth succeeded in drawing interested parties, what awaited inside was a letdown. While the Toshiba TV is viewable from a few more angles than the LG set, it still wouldn’t work for more than three people sitting very close together on the couch.

On a more positive note, one of my colleagues at Consumer Reports got her hands on the Nintendo 3DS portable gaming system. “The graphics were clear, and the 3D effects added a new dimension–pun intended–to the gameplay,” she wrote.

Companies like Samsung, RCA, JVC and Panasonic decided against bringing glasses-free technology. Sharp only demonstrated it on two prototypes for portable devices (one tablet-sized and one with a 3.8″ screen).

Speaking to Consumerist, reps for the companies that refrained from showing off glasses-free 3D voiced the opinion that the technology will someday be standard, but that it hasn’t been developed enough to sell to the retail market.

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