Better Than 3D? One Screen, Dual Viewing

CES 2012

If you're a gamer, you know the dilemma of 2-player mode on one screen. Even with a spacious 50" display, split-screen mode is akin to sharing your favorite dessert: it sucks. But at this year's CES, HDTV manufacturers LG and Samsung unveiled a technology which solves not only the gamers' 2-player mode limitations, but also may put to rest any couple's disagreement of what to watch: one display, two whole distinct displays broadcast at once!

To the naked (non-3D-glasses-wearing) eye, preview HDTV concept sets from Samsung and neighboring LG look like an amalgamate mess of two overlaid images playing at the same time...the video equivalent of tuning in between two radio stations. But put on a set of the special Dual Display glasses and the magic of the technology becomes crystal LED clear. Each user is presented with their own full-screen image, two video feeds at once. But how does it work?


YouTube blogger Ty Moss of Ty's iHelp shows the magic of Samsung's Dual HD OLED concept.

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The dual screen 3D effect is created by showing two images at a near imperceptible frame rate. Without the engineered glasses, the image is blurred, with battling displays overlaid upon one another. With 3D, glasses sync with the image on screen, filtering one video feed by mechanically "blinking" (aka shuttering), sending one image to the left lens in the glasses, and the other image to the right lens in the glasses. Because this shuttering of images is happening so quickly our brain interprets the separate images as one, giving the illusion of depth, fooling our own binocular vision.

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This same concept is applied with both the LG HDTV (55LM9600) and Samsung OLED model demoed at CES. Instead of using 3D glasses to send a left and right image to each eye for simulating 3D effects, each pair of glasses is fitted with lenses of opposite polarity: one person will only see the left image, and the other person will only see the right image. We were able to simulate the effect with regular 3D glasses by just covering up eye; viewing with just the left or right eye revealed the single filtered effect. Theoretically, this means you could create your own dual display glasses by swapping lenses with two 3D glasses, one with only 'right' lenses, and the other with only 'left' lenses.

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Unfortunately the dual display technology does come with limitations. A maximum of 2 players/viewers are supported, and the image displayed is limited to 2D, so no dual display 3D gaming or movies. Nevertheless, we think the technology has the possibility of proving even more popular than 3D (or at least replacing PIP), for both avid gamers and households where a TV is shared. We're imagining a future when we can finish watching a movie or play a video game, while our kid sister rolls in to watch that episode of Glee.

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