If you're the type of person who keeps a close eye on the gadget-obsessed consumer technology industry -- or if you're simply someone who feels the need to own a tricked-out television -- then there's a decent chance you've recently heard the name Stream TV Networks
The latest trend in ultra high-definition technology, 4K, is being touted as the next big thing. But just a few years back it was 3DTV being trumpeted by every industry analyst with a magazine column. That prediction, as we now know, never came to pass. Why? The recession certainly didn't help, nor did the functionality issues surrounding those goofy 3D glasses: At upwards of $200 a pair, they were pricey. And they offered no cross-platform functionality -- only Sony's 3D glasses, for example, would work with a Sony 3DTV. To put it plainly, the technology had tons of promise, but too many roadblocks.
Enter Stream TV Networks
, a small Philadelphia-based tech firm. They've been popping up in the national press, thanks to an impressive showing at the 2014 International CES, a massive consumer electronics convention. It was there that Stream TV showed off its most promising new innovation: a fully consumer-adjustable 3D technology that doesn’t require glasses.
Known as Ultra-D -- the technical term is "autostereo" -- this feature should be available on 4KTV sets sometime this summer. Ultra-D also has the capacity to work on tablets, video game consoles, even Skype. If your device has an HDMI connection, simply plug it into your Ultra-D-enabled TV, and gasp in astonishment as everything from YouTube documentaries to your live chat with grandma pops out of the screen in three surprisingly lifelike and super high-definition dimensions.
"In the simplest terms, Ultra-D allows any content to be converted in real time into 3D without-glasses,” says Leo Riley, Stream TV's VP of Sales. “It doesn't matter what source it is. It can be internet-based, like YouTube or Netflix. It can be an iPad, an Android tablet, a set-top box, a Blu-ray player, a [Sony PlayStation] -- it doesn't matter."
Stream TV found its footing back in 2009, after CEO Mathu Rajan purchased a small Silicon Valley-based company that had been dabbling in 3D technology. During an overseas trip, Rajan met four former Phillips technologists who were all looking for work. (Phillips had recently disbanded its own glasses-free 3D division "after dumping almost a billion dollars into it," explains Riley.) Rajan brought all four of them onboard, putting them to work at Stream TV's R&D lab SeeCubic
in the Netherlands.
Almost every member of Stream TV's Center City-based executive team is a native of the Greater Philadelphia area. And while doing more hiring locally isn’t in the immediate future, the company continues to innovate. Recently, they were was one of six Philadelphia firms to win a Marcum Innovator of the Year award
, which honors "the contribution of innovation to the Philadelphia area economy."
Perhaps most promising for the future of the company is the fact that their technology can be imbedded or integrated into anything from a mobile phone to an entire digital city wall system.
"We have a reach into a lot of different areas of the consumer electronics channel," says Riley. "Basically, anything that has a display, we have a play."
Writer: Dan Eldridge
Source: Leo Riley, Stream TV Networks