Toshiba May Launch Glasses-Free 3D TV In Japan By Christmas

Jonathan Sutton

To date, even the most fervent 3D advocate must concede that 3D TV adoption among consumers has been less than spectacular. The need to wear special 3D glasses to watch 3D material on the current batch of 3D televisions has always been thought to be a major hindrance. Seeking to address this problem and seize the initiative from rivalling TV manufacturers, Toshiba is apparently planning to launch at least 3 models of glasses-free 3D TVs in Japan by the end of this year according to an unconfirmed news report.

Influential Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun published the said report which claimed that Toshiba would be selling the world’s first extra-dimensional televisions that allow viewers to enjoy content in 3D without needing to put on 3D eyewear in time for Christmas this year. The technological concept behind this glasses-free (or more technically known as autosteroscopic 3D) display is simple: separate rays of light are emitted at different angles from the screen, creating the illusion of 3D depth when viewed by the naked eye.

To be launched sometime near the end of 2010 to capitalise on the festive season shopping frenzy, Yomiuri Shimbun suggested that three Toshiba autostereoscopic 3DTV models are in the pipeline (one of which sports a 21-inch screen), each likely to cost in the region of a few hundred thousand yens (i.e. thousands of pounds).

Toshiba did not issue any official confirmation or denial of the published news report, but said in an email that they are indeed developing 3D televisions that do not need 3D glasses, but that’s about as much as they can disclose at the moment, because they haven’t yet devised any detailed specifications or definite plans to bring the products to the mass market.

Regardless of the truth contained within this unconfirmed news piece from Japan, a surprise appearance of these autostereoscopic 3D TVs in the Toshiba exhibit booths at the upcoming IFA 2010 trade show in Berlin will undoubtedly whet the appetite of 3D enthusiasts. Now if only the prices come down, and more 3D content are available…