OK, hands up if you’ve heard of AU Optronics. Me neither.
Apparently the NYSE-listed company with 2010 revenues of US$16 billion was formed in 2001 from the merger of Acer and Unipac Optoelectronics. The AU Optronics company now claims ownership of “more than 17% of the world’s large-sized TFT-LCD market” and employs 42,000 people worldwide.
Interestingly, AU Optronics have just thrown down the gauntlet to all LCD manufacturers by stating that Glasses-Free 3D will go mainstream within two years!
According to Diginews, AUO plans to start shipments of glasses-free 3D products, mainly for IT (notebook and monitor) products, in 2011 and expects glasses-free 3D technology to become mainstream technology in 1-2 years.
But the glasses-free 3D technology is still not ready for large screen 3D TV’s based on Toshiba’s news about the disappointing sales of their glasses-free 3DTV’s where we concluded “perhaps the technology is one to keep an eye on”. We also looked at the different 3D TV technologies in Which 3DTV “Format” Will Win? where we said…
“autostereoscopic” (the fancy name for “glasses-free”) 3D TV’s suffer from other problems. Firstly, they’re expensive (£900 for Toshiba’s Regza GL1 12-inch LCD 3DTV and £1,800 for the 20-inch LCD 3DTV). Secondly, you can only get the 3D effect in a few “sweet spot” viewing angles, which may be fine when you’re playing a DS game, or playing/working on a laptop, but not fine when you and your mates want to watch football in 3D from six different viewing angles and distances from the screen.
So AUO seem to be talking about small-screen devices when they say that glasses-free 3D will go mainstream and not specifically about 3D TV technology… yet.