[SID] Sony Announces New 3D Display Method

May 19, 2011
Shinya Saeki, Nikkei Electronics
The 24-inch prototype
The 24-inch prototype
[Click to enlarge image]
2D mode (picture taken in the author's interview)
2D mode (picture taken in the author's interview)
[Click to enlarge image]
3D mode (picture taken in the author's interview)
3D mode (picture taken in the author's interview)
[Click to enlarge image]

Sony Corp developed 24- and 10-inch 3D LCD displays that can be viewed with the naked eye and announced their details.

The announcement was made at the 49th SID International Symposium, Seminar & Exhibition (SID 2011), the world's largest academic conference on display technologies, which is taking place from May 15 to 20, 2011, in Los Angeles, the US (lecture number: 34.5L).

Though Sony exhibited naked-eye 3D LCD displays at International CES 2011 (See related article), the latest prototypes use a new 3D display method, which is different from the method used for previous prototypes, the company said.

The new 3D LCD displays have a structure where backlight for 3D images is added between an LCD panel and backlight for normal 2D images. It is possible to switch between 2D and 3D modes by lighting either of the two backlights.

The only components that were added for the backlight for 3D images are LEDs placed on the light guide plate and its edges. On the light guide plate, scatter patterns are formed at even intervals in the horizontal direction to direct light to the outside.

Because lights that come from the LED light sources must be reflected on the scatter patterns to go to the back side of the panel, it is as if lights are partially controlled by using "parallax barriers." As a result, it becomes possible to show different images to the right and left eyes, realizing 3D display. But Sony declined to comment on how it formed the scatter patterns on the light guide plate.

The 24-inch 3D LCD display was developed based on a display having a brightness of 300cd/m2. It has six viewpoints, and its 3D images are best viewed from a distance of 80 to 160cm. In 3D mode, its pixel count is 960 x 360, and its brightness is 86.1cd/m2. The brightness of a prototype of Sony's normal 24-inch naked-eye 3D display is 44.4cd/m2, and the company said, "The new method can prevent brightness from lowering by about 50%."

In 2D mode, the pixel count and brightness of the display become 1,920 x 1,080 and 192cd/m2, respectively. Even though the backlight for 3D images was added, view-angle properties, etc do not deteriorate in 2D mode, Sony said. Also, it showed the 10-inch model in the author's interview that followed the announcement

The new method can be applied to displays whose size is between about 4 to 30 inches. And Sony aims to commercialize it within a few years.