CES 2011: Toshiba demos glasses-free 3D

Written by Harry Butler

January 6, 2011 // 8:03 a.m.

Tags: #3d #ces-2011 #glasses #no-glasses #no-glasses-3d #toshiba

CES 2011: In the last 18 months, the world seems to have gone mad for 3D, with more and more films, and even TV shows and sport evens, being produced in 3D.

Whether you think 3D is a cynical fad to gouge cinema audiences out of extra cash, or a genuine step forward, the largest drawback of the technology remains its dependence on dorky looking bulky glasses. That and the threat of a 3D Noel Edmonds.

Out at CES in Las Vegas, though, Toshiba has raised a few eyebrows by demonstrating its glasses-free 3D technology, having already sneakily released smaller 720p 16in and 20in displays equipped with the technology in Japan during December 2010.

Knowing that us Europeans would scoff at such tiny panels, however, Toshiba is aiming for a worldwide launch of glasses-free 3D TVs in the fourth quarter of 2011.

The demo panels here at CES are 56in and 65in respectively, with both boasting 4,096 x 2,160 pixel (4k2k) resolutions. Rather than previous attempts to make glasses-free 3D TV, which have used methods such as ridged panels, Toshiba claims its technology offers wide viewing angles, and doesn't even require a 'sweet spot' in which you have to sit.

When pushed on how the technology precisely worked, Toshiba described it as a sheet across the display, which pitch-shifted certain frames to create the 3D effects, with the help of an on-board software algorithm named CEVO.

Toshiba will take off all the wraps later today when the main CES exhibition opens. However, those that have already seen the effect say that it's not yet as convincing as that of shutter glasses, but still impressive.

Pricing details remain sketchy, but Sascha Lange, Toshiba's Head of Marketing for Visual Products, was keen to stress that the technology will launch at a price point some way above current high-end displays. In short, very expensive.

Nevertheless, ditching the specs is a big step forward for 3D adoption, and a few years down the line we can see every TV shipping with similar technology. Our big question, though, is with glasses-free 3D now firmly on the horizon, will anyone buy all the clunky, uncomfortable shutter glasses now hitting the market?

What's your take on glasses-free 3D? Would this convince you to ditch 2D for good? Just bought a 3D TV and unhappy? Let us know in the forums.

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