You know how you just can’t go back to watching normal resolution television now that you’ve gotten used to HD? Well the next era in TV technology is fast approaching. In the same way that HD killed low-res, 3D televisions will eventually make 2D images seem artificial and lifeless, no matter how clear and sharp the picture.

Case in point: a new 200-inch, HD screen on which images shift through 57 different viewing angles to give the appearance of 3D – without the need for glasses. The trick behind the glasses-free 3D is an array of 57 projectors behind the screen, each projecting the same image at a slightly different angle. As awesome as the images are, the screen is not quite practical. You’ll need an extra room for the array and a forklift to move its 500 kg.

More practical is the 55ZL2 glasses-free 3D TV from Toshiba that will be launching this Christmas in Europe. When it does it’ll be the first of its kind available to the public. Powered by CEVO-ENGINE, the 7 core processing unit that uses special picture-algorithms to turn 2D pictures into 3D.

“Practical,” except for the reported price tag of $11,676.

But who needs a CEVO-ENGINE when you’ve got 500 kilograms worth of projectors? Developed by Japan’s National Institute of Information and Communications (NICT) and JVC Kenwood, the 3D effect is currently limited to 13 degrees of viewing range. A condenser lens focuses the image onto the screen, and a special diffuser film makes the transitions between the different angles smooth. Take a look in the video below, and start wishing you had one.

[image credits: technabob and NICT]

image 1: sunflower
image 2: shark
video: DigInfoTV

Peter Murray was born in Boston in 1973. He earned a PhD in neuroscience at the University of Maryland, Baltimore studying gene expression in the neocortex. Following his dissertation work he spent three years as a post-doctoral fellow at the same university studying brain mechanisms of pain and motor control. He completed a collection of short stories in 2010 and has been writing for Singularity Hub since March 2011.