January 05, 2011
| by Grant Clauser
Not long ago Toshiba began selling two small glasses-free 3D TVs - called autostereoscopic - in Japan. Of the two models offered, the largest one was only 20 inches, which is too small for a home theater experience by a long shot.
Last night at a CES press reception the company revealed a larger LED-based LCD model, more than 50-inches diagonally, that was capable of autostereoscopic viewing. The unit shown was only an engineering sample and doesn’t represent exactly the look or size of the models that will be on the market, but Toshiba’s Scott Ramirez said that the company will be offering the technology in “home theater sizes above 40 inches.”
The sweet spot for experiencing 3D effectively wasn’t especially wide on the engineering sample, but the company explained the production models would be suitable for a standard home experience.
The TV uses a lenticular lens system with pixels directed separately at the right and left eyes, eliminating the need for polarized or active-shutter glasses. In addition, all the autostereoscopic TVs Toshiba offers in the US will sport 4K x 2K resolution, significantly greater than standard 1080p TVs.
When asked whether the company’s Cell processor, which is in one of the current Japanese models, would be included in the new TVs, Ramirez explained that several of the Cell technologies, including the 2D to 3D conversion, will be in the TVs, but incorporated into a new TV processor called CEVO (for cell evolution). The CEVO processor will also be featured in other Toshiba TVs to be released in March which will include models that use passive glasses and models that use active glasses.
Ramirez conjectured that in 2011 the 3D TV market will segment into a sort-of good, better, best scenario in which the passive glasses models fill the good slot and the autostereoscopic models the best slot.
No word on when the glasses-free TVs will be available.
Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had audio training from Home Acoustics Alliance and Sencore. He's also the author of the book The Trouble with Rivers
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.