Toshiba Unveils Glasses-Free 3D

Toshiba unveiled its first big screen glasses-free 3D TV here at CES 2011. We're not so sure about the technology.

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CES is just warming up here in Las Vegas, and we can already see that 3D will continue to play a major role, despite the slow uptake from consumers. At tonight's show event, Toshiba debuted a new glasses-free 3D display. It's not quite a product yet – more of a technology debut. As near as we can tell, it uses a lenticular screen to create the 3D effect. Lenticular screens have been in use for decades on novelty trading cards, CD covers, and the like, but display manufacturers have been busy refining the process in to get in on the new 3D craze.

The biggest weakness of lenticular screens is the viewing angle, which is typically limited to only a few degrees. Compare that to a 60-degree+ viewing angle on active shutter 3D TVs. Our staff on the floor reported that this particular Toshiba display had several "sweet spots" where the 3D effect was strongest, but failed to maintain a consistent field of view.

Toshiba has announced no plans to release this technology just yet, but stated that it would be available some time in the future on 40-inch and larger TVs that possessed a resolution of 2K or 4K. This is news in and of itself. Ultra-high resolution 2K and 4K TVs are expected to gradually replace 1080p TVs at some point in the future, but there has been no serious attempt so far to push it into the consumer market. Perhaps this is just Toshiba's way of buying time to develop a better glasses-free 3D display.

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