Interview With Magnetic 3D CEO Tom Zerega

I had the chance to visit Magnetic 3D’s offices in downtown Manhattan and speak to Magnetic’s CEO Tom Zerega. Magnetic 3D is a developer and manufacturer of autostereoscopic displays from 22″ to 55″. The company is busy developing new products for a variety of applications.

While Magnetic 3D was mainly known for developing autostereoscopic displays for the advertising markets and digital signage, the use of this display type in other Pro AV applications is becoming a stronger driver for the company.

The latest product announcement was the Wildfire display that includes a processor which automatically creates a nine view stream for the 42″ AS display from a side by side content stream. The display is based on an FHD (1920 x 1080) panel. The switch between the 2D and 3D autostereoscopic view is accomplished by a toggle switch and not through loading software or by any other means.

The display I saw looked very good and while there were still some distortions visible in the content, the overall appearance was much better than some of the earlier demonstrations I have seen. Since the 3D AS display itself is unchanged, the perceivable difference in image quality stems from the content itself, rather than from display improvements.

While the digital signage opportunity did not materialize as hoped, there is still some success in this market. However, recently there have been more and more applications in medical, military, visualization and scientific markets. These specialized markets use the 3D effect for a specific purpose, rather than simply to draw attention to the display.

When I asked why the newer content looked so much better on the display, Zerega pointed towards the creation of the content as the reason for the better imagery. The first generation content was rendered directly from computer generated content. The rendering contained all the information for the autostereoscopic display, but did not allow changes to any of the parameters controlling the 3D effect. With the Wildfire system, the company can work from any side by side content stream.

The 42″ Wildfire display is available now for $5,900. Magnetic is also working on a 46″ version that will be available in early 2015 for $6,500.

Zerega also told us about some new development that Magnetic will reveal later in December 2014. We will have to wait and see what is coming. – Norbert Hildebrand