Toshiba To Release First Glasses-Free 3D HDTV for Consumers

The Tokyo-based company announced on October 4, 2010 that they will start selling glasses-free 3D television sets towards the end of this December.

Titled the Regza GL 1 Series, there will be two versions of the flatpanel TV, the 12-inch 12GL1 and the 20-inch 20GL1. The sets reportedly will be sold at prices in the $1,400 to $2,800 range. Photo: Toshiba

Toshiba Corp. believes it has a solution for television viewers who like 3D TV but hate the glasses. The Tokyo-based company will be putting an innovative new product on the consumer market. The company announced on October 4, 2010 that they will start selling glasses-free 3D television sets towards the end of December.

Unveiled at the Ceatec technology conference in Japan, the public got an initial glimpse of this cutting edge product. Titled the Regza GL 1 Series, there will be two versions of the flatpanel TV, the 12-inch 12GL1 and the 20-inch 20GL1. The sets reportedly will be sold at prices in the $1,400 to $2,800 range.

Once this product arrives to market, it will be the world’s first 3D television set that viewers can watch sans the special glasses usually required to be worn in order to view the 3D effects.

While traditionally 3D viewing without the glasses has traditionally had some issues with clarity, it seems Toshiba, with the Regza GL 1 Series, perhaps has defined and improved lucidity enough to be willing to bring the product to market.

3D technology has long been embraced for entertainment value, and is perhaps fun for the movies, but viewing 3D in the home is far less popular as most consumers in general do not want to pay exorbitant costs for a television and then have to deal with the 3D glasses which, if lost or broken, have to be replaced.

According to Toshiba, the fundamentals of the TV is “an integral imaging system” that offers “nine different perspectives of each single 2D frame which the viewer’s brain superimposes to create a 3-dimensional impression of the image.”

The company also said they developed “a powerful engine and an algorithm to extrapolate these perspectives out of the 2D frame and used a perpendicular lenticular sheet, an array of lenses, that enable the viewer’s brain to superimpose the perspectives.”

Toshiba said it is able to achieve the glasses-less effect because its LED backlit LCD panel is designed for 3D content “that systematically aligns pixels,” and the company has also adopted a “perpendicular lenticular sheet in order to realize precise rendering and natural, high quality 3D images.”

Toshiba 20GL1 has approximately four times the pixels of a full high-definition panel, approximately 829 million pixels, according to Toshiba. It will have a display of 1,280 x 720 pixels and dimensions that are 64 x 10.5 x 66.3 cm.

It will incorporate energy-saving features such as automatic stand-by if the remote controller receives no command for approximately three hours or if no external input signal is received for approximately 15 minutes.

Additionally, the power consumption of the 20GL1 is controlled by maintaining optimum image brightness, Toshiba said. It incorporates newly developed technologies, dubbed Cell Broadband Engine and the Glasses-less 3D Cell Regza engine.

The 12GL1 uses the same approach for approximately 147 million pixels, and will have a pixel display of 466 x 350. Its dimensions are 33.7 x 5.2 x 27.2 cm.

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.

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.

While this sounds like an awesome holiday gift, unfortunately the rest of the world will have to wait to have the opportunity to purchase one of these TV sets. Initially Toshiba’s plans are to only sell the glasses-free product in Japan. To date there is no confirmed news on if/when the product would be sold in the U.S and other international markets.

Despite the fact no overseas market plans have been announced at this time, chances are in time the opportunity to purchase a glasses-free 3D television will eventually be available to the rest of the world. [via NY Daily News and Fast Company]

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