As readers of these pages may recall, I've written at length over the years about a Philadelphia-based company called Stream TV Networks, which has developed a product, Ultra-D, that allows for remarkably high-quality 3D TV without glasses.
My initial article was here, and then this is one of the follow-ups. I've seen the product in operation, and it's quite terrific, though there have been long delays in setting up deals and getting it into production. So much so that I've taken a been of heat from some skeptics that this was all vaporware and would never come to be.
The thing is, I speak periodically with Mathu Rajan, the enthusiastic head of the company, and he's told me off-the-record of many of the deals that are in place (some significant), and many of the fascinating planned additional products. Still, nothing was in the market yet.
A few months back, Mathu invited to fly me in to a big press conference they were hoping to have soon in Beijing. But it was too long a trip for only like 1-1/2 days, and there were also some personal conflicts, so I passed. In the meantime, I waited. And certain corners remained skeptical.
And it turned out that there were delays. But then, last week, I got an email from the company that intrigued me. Because for the first time, Stream TV's glassless 3D technology was in a product for sale.
The company putting this initial set on sale is IZON, which is based in Florida, though the product is being manufactured in China. There are two models on sale, 50" and 65". The price is a bit higher than I think it should be at the moment -- $5,499 for the smaller version, though not much more ($5,999) for the 65" model. I'm sure when other companies begin competing, the price will come down, perhaps significantly. I suspect significantly.
I don't have much for information than this. I spoke with Mathu Rajan a couple of weeks ago, and he gave me a lot of updates and stories about these other companies and products, though nothing for publication yet. One thing he did say for attribution, though, is that the recent delay was about some hiccups establishing content deals. Content is critical in this technology -- a desert-like absence of content was part of the death-knell for 3D TV with glasses. But a bunch of content deals are now in places, as well as games, and the Ultra-D technology also allows for instant real-time conversion of any TV broadcast into 3D.
As for that aforementioned matter of content, Stream TV Networks had a related-announcement just last week, that they are partnering with CAN Tech Co. LTD "to make its live programming and extensive content library available in Glasses-Free 3D for the first time" in the Ultra-D format. (CAN Tech controls thousands of hours of content, either as a producer or rights holder.) To be clear, this deal with CAN Tech is for the China market only, but it shows the growing foundation of content in glassless 3D-TV, as well as support for the technology.
From what I know from what Mathu Rajan has told me in the past, there should indeed be a lot more updates. (To be cryptic, if I may -- you don't offer to fly someone out to Beijing on a whim.) So, when I know more in specifics that I can officially talk about, I'll pass it along.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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