Toshiba guns for no-glasses 3D TV market

3D TV that's as natural to watch as the regular 3D world is the holy grail of video. With the 55LZ2, Toshiba is betting the technology is mature enough to sell.

Toshiba's glasses-free 3D TV uses lenses to direct light to in separate left and right channels across nine different angles so 3D video can be seen from different vantage points.
Toshiba's glasses-free 3D TV uses lenses to direct light to in separate left and right channels across nine different angles so 3D video can be seen from different vantage points. Stephen Shankland/CNET

BERLIN--Critics rightly gripe about the annoyance of wearing glasses to watch 3D video, but Toshiba believes now is the time to move engineering prototypes for no-glasses 3D to the market.

At the IFA show here, the Japanese electronics company unveiled its new 55LZ2, a large-screen 55-inch TV that can be viewed from a wide range of angles in 3D.

3D works by showing separate views to the left and right eyes; the brain reconstructs the 3D world from the two images. Toshiba's TV uses numerous tiny lenses to direct two different views in slightly different directions so each eye sees something different. That's easier to do with a single viewer at a fixed distance to the screen, but harder with multiple viewers. Toshiba's 55LZ2 divides the overall viewing area into nine separate regions so people can use the 3D over a broad range of angles.

It's not quite as easy as regular TV, though. Before watching, a button on the remote control launches face-tracking software on the TV to detect viewers' positions to best control the picture.

Toshiba's 55LZ2 3D TV doesn't require any glasses to watch 3D TV.
Toshiba's 55LZ2 3D TV doesn't require any glasses to watch 3D TV. Stephen Shankland/CNET

It's got a screen resolution of 3,840x2160 to enable the nine-angle viewing, and Toshiba notes that helps when you're just looking at photos, too.

The TV also includes Toshiba Places, the company's cloud-based service for things like renting video and sharing. And it can record digital video to an external drive connected by USB.

To underscore its point, Toshiba handed out glasses with the words "bye bye" printed across the lenses. But if you've taken the 3D TV plunge, you might want to hang onto them for awhile longer yet. Even Toshiba is still selling a broad range of 3D TVs lower down the product hierarchy that still need glasses.

The 55LZ2 will be availble in Germany in December, Toshiba said, but didn't detail other regions or prices. Given that it's at the top of the company's extensive TV product line, expect it not to be cheap.

Toshiba says it's time to throw away the 3D glasses--at least for those who can afford its top-end 55LZ2 3D TV.
Toshiba says it's time to throw away the 3D glasses--at least for those who can afford its top-end 55LZ2 3D TV. Stephen Shankland/CNET
About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Don't Miss
Hot Products
Trending on CNET

HOT ON CNET

Looking for an affordable tablet?

CNET rounds up high-quality tablets that won't break your wallet.