Toshiba to launch first glasses-free 3D TV before Christmas

Toshiba will launch the first TVs that don't require glasses to see the 3D effect -- although you might need regular glasses, as the 12GL1 and 20GL1 are tiny...

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Toshiba is racing to be the first to throw out the 3D glasses, with plans to launch the glasses-free Regza 12GL1 and 20GL1 3D televisions before the end of the year.

The 12GL1 will measure 20-inches from corner-to-corner, with the 20GL1 measuring 20-inches across. They use parallax technology to offer 3D without the aid of glasses, by dividing the picture into infinitesimal vertical strips that show a slightly different picture to each eye. So you won't need 3D glasses -- but you might need normal glasses to see a TV that small.

We were soundly unimpressed by large glasses-free screens at IFA, the recent trade show where several manufacturers showed off tellies with parallax screens. The main problem is that you need to be directly in front of the screens to achieve the effect, which would make it difficult to gather a family of group of friends around your new telly. Still, at these sizes, technology is more of a proof-of-concept or expensive toy than a new family telly.

The 12GL1 and 20GL1 will be available in Japan before the end of December 2010. Meanwhile, back in Blighty, those of you who don't mind glasses can tuck into Sky 3D and Virgin 3D.