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Samsung's Prototype 55'' Glasses-Free 3D LCD

Starting off on a personal note, this particular journalist isn't all that excited about 3D. There. Said it.

To be honest, I have yet to venture out into theaters to watch a 3D flick on the big screen. I own a PlayStation 3, but don't really have the urge to dump loads of cash into a 3D HDTV or LCD screen. In fact, the one and only time I tested a 3D HDTV left me wanting to peel off my toenails rather than don those annoying shutter glasses again and fall prey to the head-throbbing aftereffects. The only specs I want to wear are shades to block out the intense sunlight when I emerge from my dark cave.

With that in mind, Samsung's prototype 55-inch glasses-free LCD TV sounds promising. It sports nine specific viewpoints with an optimal viewing distance of eight to twenty feet. Big screen. No glasses. Sounds great. When's it heading to the States, and how many limbs will I have to Black Market in order to pay for it?

The current problem is that the technology isn't ready for commercialization, as Samsung said it may be three more years before a glasses-free 3D LCD of this magnitude will reach the market. That's certainly disappointing news, but at least there's some hope that affordable, glasses-free 3D on a large scale is on the horizon.

According to a hands-on by Tech-On, the prototype was recently shown at FPD China 2011 which took place from March 15 to March 17 (today) in Shanghai, China. Like the smaller Nintendo 3DS glasses-free screen, this prototype provides a switch for moving between 2D and 3D modes. The TV itself seems to consist of two LCD panels, one serving as a lens and the other mounted underneath displaying the actual imagery.

"The first LCD panel functions as a lens and shows different images to the right and left eyes," Tech-On reports. "And when the optical refraction index of the first LCD panel is not changed, the TV shows 2D images."

The site also said that the TV's specs include a pixel count of 1920 x 1080 (HD), a brightness ratio of 500cd/m2 and a contrast ratio of 4,000:1. It also uses a direct-lit cold cathode fluorescent lamp (CCFL) backlight unit, but could be replaced with an LED backlight unit, Samsung said.

We're betting we'll see this prototype again sometime this year, so stay tuned.