Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Toshiba's glasses-less 3D TVs

Toshiba unveiled glasses-less 3D-TV models to coincide with this week's Ceatec electronics show near Tokyo.The Regza 20GL1 is a 20-inch flat-panel display with 1,280x720 resolution. The Regza 12GL1 is a 12-inch flat-panel display with 466x350 resolution. Toshiba said that its 3D technology, which is currently best-suited for small displays, provides "nine different perspectives of each single 2D frame." The company added that those perspectives are then "superimposed" by the viewer's brain "to create a three-dimensional impression of the image."

The 3D effect is available within a 40-degree area in front of the set, Toshiba said. According to the Associated Press, viewers must also sit two feet from the 12-inch LCD and three feet from the 20-inch LCD to view 3D content. The new LCDs are "first step into the 3D future in the consumer home cinema market," Toshiba European marketing chief Sascha Lange said in a statement. "But it will take several years to develop larger 3D TVs without glasses with screen sizes of 40 inches and more at a yet reasonable price point."

The possibility of viewing 3D content sans glasses is something that many consumers will welcome, though. Last month, a survey about 3D TVs showed that 30 percent of people don't like the need to wear special glasses to view 3D content.

Toshiba claimed that the new integral imaging system helps the users to experience 3D videos without wearing 3D glasses. The new Toshiba 3D TV uses a perpendicular lenticular sheet, an array of small lenses that directs light from the display to nine points in front of the set. If a viewer sits within the optimal viewing zone, the brain integrates these points into a single 3D image.


Although Toshiba is trying to make its name in the glasses-free arena, the company is already a player in the 3D TV market. It currently sells the WX800 line of 3D TVs. Both the 46- and 55-inch models of the WX800 require glasses. Toshiba's 20GL1 and 12GL1, which switch from 3D to 2D mode, are scheduled to be released in Japan later this year. They will retail for about $2,900 and $1,400, respectively. The company has not announced plans for availability outside of Japan.

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