April 22, 2009, 10:09 AM — Within the next few years, companies from Taiwan may begin selling LCD TVs with 3D (three-dimensional) viewing technology that does not require the special glasses normally used in movie theaters to show 3D films.
"The technology itself is ready," said Hsu Shao-chung, deputy director general of the Electronics and Optoelectronics Research Laboratories at Taiwan's publicly funded Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI).
The research group has already licensed the technology to at least one company in Taiwan and said it will be on display at a major exhibition in Taipei next year.
Initially, the 3D technology will be used in digital signs.
Digital signs are a place for the technology to launch because companies always want to attract people's attention, said Hsu, in an interview.
The research group has been able to create 3D LCD TVs with screens as large as 56-inches, but the technology still needs some work before it can be sold for TV viewing. Colors on the 3D LCD TVs are not as vibrant as a standard LCD TV.
For people willing to wear the special polarized glasses needed for most 3D viewing, ITRI has developed 3D LCD TVs, computer monitors and mobile phone screens that could be on the market any time.
Products would already be out if it weren't for the global downturn, said Hsu.
Companies in Taiwan that ITRI had licensed the technology to had already started manufacturing 3D LCD TVs and monitors in small quantities, with a view to having them on the market this year.
When the global recession hit, production slowed. Companies now want to see how global demand shapes up before committing more resources to the new technology.
Devices made using the 3D technology that requires viewing glasses will not be much more expensive than regular LCD monitors and TVs, said Hsu. He estimated about 10 percent more on average.
Computer gamers will probably find the technology a must-have in the near term. It works well on some games but most are not made for 3D screens.
To get content makers on board with 3D, ITRI is promoting the technology to game developers, TV stations and movie makers in Taiwan to help them capture, render and develop 3D products.
The research group will also host a conference next week in Taipei to promote 3D technology, IDMC 3DSA Asia Display '09 (International Display Manufacturing Conference, 3D Systems and Applications, Asia Display 2009) with software and content makers from around the world slated to attend.