Forget 4K HDR - Samsung patent points to holographic TV

Ready to upgrade your TV again? First there black and white, then there was color, then ill-fated 3D TV, before we jumped to the delights 4K and HDR. Now, according to a Samsung patent, we may be looking at a future filled with holographic TV sets.

The patent application, filed in January 2016, has been spotted by Patently Mobile, and describes the potential tech required to make a screen with visuals that appear to hover in front of the display.

And no, you wouldn't require any annoying glasses to make the most of it.

Lasers, lights and eye-tracking

As you'd imagine, Samsung anticipates a lot of different technologies working in tandem to pull off the Star Wars-like floating images.

A light source - most likely a laser - would be fired through a "spatial light modulator". This would then be focused through "Fourier lens that allows the light modulated by the spatial light modulator to be focused at a predetermined space". 

To put that in something approaching layman's terms, light would be projected through a panel and lens that would produce images that sit off of the screen, ready to be looked at from multiple angles.

With an eye-tracking module also included, the set could then determine precisely the amount of depth to be simulated to trick the eye into thinking a real object was hovering in front of it.

As ever, a patent does not necessarily denote a product in active development - but it does show Samsung's interest in the area. As Patently Mobile points out, early reports on Samsung's Quantum Dot displays pointed at those screens being ready in the 2020s, and they're in the shops right now. So, by that precedent, you may not have to wait too long for the holographic screen of the future.

Gerald Lynch

Gerald is Editor-in-Chief of Previously he was the Executive Editor for TechRadar, taking care of the site's home cinema, gaming, smart home, entertainment and audio output. He loves gaming, but don't expect him to play with you unless your console is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system. Before TechRadar, Gerald was Editor of Gizmodo UK. He is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press.