Philly-based "3-D TV-Without-Glasses" innovator Stream TV Networks, Inc. will be sharing its "biggest technological announcement" with the world at the giant IFA electronics show in Berlin next week, said CEO Mathu Rajan. But as a locally-based company, how could he and they not give Gizmo Guy the inside scoop?
Stream TV Networks, Inc will be touting a technology partnership with Hisense - the "leading TV brand in China" - for a range of televisions and other products using Stream TV's Ultra-D (3-D without glasses) hardware and software. "The technology can be ported to displays in practically all sizes," said Rajan. "We are starting with a 42-inch TV then a 46-inch and products like tablets, laptops, smartphones and PCs thereafter."
While Americans have wavered on 3-D, in large measure because of the need to wear those dern glasses, the technology is being totally embraced by the Chinese populace and will be pushed with Ultra-D's glasses-free ("auto-stereoscopic") tech through Hisense's 1,000 China stores. "Avatar" (finally being widely released in 3-D Blu-ray in the U.S. on October 15) is the biggest grossing film in China, with $208 million in ticket sales. 7,000 of China's 11,000 screens are 3-D capable. In the provinces, the tech is there from day one when the first movie theater opens. "They're skipping the 20th century and going straight to the 21st," noted "Avatar" director/advocate James Cameron in a recent interview.
Hisense has good representation - though sometimes semi-hidden - in the U.S. market as well. Best Buy's house brand Insignia TVs are manufactured by Hisense and have lately moved to the forefront with some interesting feature innovations, beating the major brands. (Some Insigna TVs boast a smart USB port compatible with a new Roku-on-a-stick Internet TV tuner, for instance.) Stream TV Networks' gee-it-really works 3-D-without-glasses tech (involving a special sub-assembly, front of the set optical system and layers of middleware and software) will be another place Insignia and Best Buy can jump out of the pack.
Branded Hisense TVs are found in the U.S. at Costco, Walmart and at HH Gregg "where they really push the brand as your best value," said Leo Riley, Stream TV Networks' v.p. of sales and business development.
While Hisense will first launch Ultra-D sets in Asia, this fourth quarter, the U.S. shouldn't be far behind, said Riley. He's currently plotting with a major Philadelphia sports bar to create a 3-D TV zone showcasing pre-production models and all the weekend college football and basketball games that the ESPN 3-D channel will be serving up this season. "And for 2013-2014 season ESPN is talking about a blockbuster 3-D sports announcement," Riley hinted.