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Toshiba launches 3D TVs without glasses

Toshiba today presents its first 3D screens that do not need special glasses to reproduce three-dimensional images. Promised are two televisions, with screens 12 and 20 inches (30.5 and 50.8 centimeters, respectively) and a laptop, also 12 inches.

The equipment, to be shown during the CEATEC 2010 consumer electronics fair, which takes place in Japan, will begin to be sold in the country “at the end of this year”, the manufacturer said in a press release. For Europe, dates have not yet been put forward.

The launch represents an advance compared to most technologies proposed by competitors, which imply the use of traditional glasses to provide the 3D experience – as, indeed, it also happens in cinema. The possibility of dispensing the glasses was already ensured, but only on smaller screens and intended to be used at a shorter distance from the user’s eyes.

Sharp had promised, in April, screens of the kind intended for portable devices and the same type of proposal will be accessible with the portable console that Nintendo launches in March 2011, 3DS. Other manufacturers have also shown the possibility of watching 3D TV without glasses but always using external devices that connect to the TV.

Even so, most have shown resignation to the possibility of providing larger screens, claiming the difficulty in providing a 3D experience without the aid of glasses in the case of screens that are not placed close to the user’s eyes, but Toshiba guarantees that “new TVs offer a comfortable three-dimensional viewing experience”.

According to the company, “the technology developed for the new 3D TV without glasses uses a full image definition system, which captures nine different perspectives (parallax) of each 2D frame that the brain overlaps to obtain a three-dimensional impression of the image “.

To dispense with glasses, “Toshiba engineers developed a powerful engine and algorithm to extrapolate these perspectives from 2D frames to which they added a perpendicular lenticular sheet, with a wide range of lenses, which makes the brain overlap the perspectives”.

As has always been the case with 3D TVs, the user can switch between 3D and 2D viewing, which here can “be done in seconds”, stresses Toshiba Portugal’s Marketing Director, Jorge Borges.

The company recognizes that the equipment, with small screens, is also intended for “early adopters”, with the launch objective also demonstrating that “auto-stereoscopic 3D screens are viable both technologically and commercially”, added the responsible . Jorge Borges also admits that “a few more years are needed for the development of larger screens – over 40 inches – for 3D TV without glasses at a reasonable price”.

The presentation at the international electronics fair is scheduled for the end of this morning. The (few) images that have since been made available online are reproduced below.

20-inch and 12-inch televisions, respectively