January 09, 2012
| by Grant Clauser
Toshiba once again treated us with a special preview of its autostereoscopic (glasses-free) 3D TV just two days prior to the opening of CES. Like the peek we got last year, not all the details were complete, but the US delivery of this breakthrough TV is definitely a little closer.
The 55-inch TV uses a 4K x 2K LED LCD panel. For regular 2D viewing, all content is upscaled to 4K, but for 3D, the glasses-free experience is delivered at 720p for up to nine viewers. Each of the nine viewers needs to be seated in specific “sweet spot” locations, but a face tracking system (operated by a built-in camera) will locate the viewer so the nine viewing spots are not necessarily rigid.
The TV is currently shipping in Japan and available for about $10,000. It will be available in Europe next and in the US probably by the second quarter of this year, according to Toshiba’s Scott Ramirez.
Glasses-free wasn’t the only 3D news for Toshiba. Ramirez said that the rest of the company’s 3D line will all use the passive 3D system currently employed by Toshiba’s 3D sets. At last year’s CES show, Toshiba exhibited both passive and active 3D, but has chosen to focus only on passive for 2012.
Toshiba also make some developments on the smart TV front. New TVs will no longer feature Yahoo Widgets, but will include Toshiba’s own smart TV platform—this will possibly make accessing online content a little easier for consumers by offering one easy route online, rather than two.
One of the most compelling features in the company’s smart TV roster is the e-portal, which uses Rovi’s media guide. Users can also use a table PC to control the TV as well as any other connected components via IR blasters, which ship with the L6200 and L7200 series.
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.