Stream Ultra-D 4K glasses-free TVs coming 2014, smartphones and tablets to follow
Stream TV Networks has created a class of glasses-free 3D screen that can manage 4K resolution. It first showed off the screen in the madness of CES. We met up for a more detailed chat to find out where the screen technology is going next.
It looks like you can expect the TVs soon, with smartphones and tablets shortly after.
The TV itself displays in 3D at 2160p resolution without the need for glasses. It can also display full 4K with 8 million pixels in 2D. The signal can be from 3D Blu-ray, Sky 3D and even upscaled from 2D. Ultra-D TVs are also able to play 3D games glasses-free. The 3D works no matter where you're sitting in the room and doesn't suffer from the lines across the screen that other attempts before it have suffered from.
Stream will be licensing out the Ultra-D technology (a bit like Dolby does for audio) to a number of manufacturers including Hisense, Toshiba, Huawei, TCL and BOE with two more well-known Japanese brands to be announced shortly. Another interesting partner is Sky, which chose Stream for its plans to deliver 4K content and, potentially, glasses-free 3D.
Stream's seeQube box, separate to the TV, decodes messages using its 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 8074 processor with the latest Adreno 330 GPU. This technology would allow Sky to send a compressed 4K signal in the same bandwidth as it currently uses for HD. With Netflix set to start streaming 4K this year Sky needs to overcome this problem soon, and Ultra-D smarts in the Sky box could be the way to do this.
It's this use of the Snapdragon processor which also makes glasses-free 3D at 2160p possible on smartphones and tablets. Stream has one of each in testing right now.
The level of 3D can be controlled to create a flatter 2D image or a deeper 3D shot - ideal for those that otherwise struggle watching 3D comfortably. From our experience around the 130 per cent mark felt the perfect blend between 3D depth and the comfort of watching in 2D.
We were also shown Casablanca upscaled to 3D and 2160p from a 1080p Blu-ray. It was a great surprise to see a level of depth added to the black and white film that really pulled us in. This is one area we could see the technology becoming popular - giving new life to old films that can be bought for cheap. The adult entertainment industry is also showing a big interesting in this new technology.
We should start to see the Ultra-D technology appearing on sale mid-way through 2014 with price tags of under £3,500 for the 50-inch and 55-inch screens - 40-inch models will follow later for a cheaper price. Obviously, with multiple brands selling Ultra-D, it's tough to get specific dates and prices right now.
The smartphone and tablet are in testing right now and could appear soon. When we asked if these would be on show at MWC we were told Stream can't comment. We'll keep our eyes peeled in Barcelona next month.