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Sony, Toshiba show off massive glasses-free 3D TVs

David Ludlow
6 Jan 2011
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Prototypes for now, but full production models could be as early as the end of this year

Both Sony and Toshiba are showing off large-screen 3D TVs that don't require you to wear glasses at this year's CES show in Las Vegas.

Both companies have only created prototype displays at the moment, although Toshiba claims that it could be selling its TVs by the end of the year.

Toshiba was first to demonstrate its TV, a 55in LED-backlit model. It uses a lenticular display to create the 3D effect. Engadget was first to look at the TV and found that it produced a decent 3D image, but one that wasn't quite on par with an active shutter set.

Sony glasses free OLED

Sony had a range of TVs on display, starting with a 24.5in OLED display. We weren't very impressed with it and struggled to see any sign of a 3D effect. In fact, one other viewer walked up to the TV and slid on a pair of passive glasses in an attempt to see anything in 3D.

Sony glasses free LED

Fortunately, the 56in and 46in LED-backlit models were much better. Sony wouldn't tell us what technology it was using, but the 3D effect was impressive. However, viewing was slightly marred by a shimmering across the screen, which was accentuated when we moved. Still, it's early days yet for this technology and it's bound to improve before being released to market.

Sony glasses free portable DVD

Sony also demonstrated a prototype portable DVD player. Again, Sony wouldn't tell us what technology was being used, but the 1,366x768 10.1in LCD screen displayed a decent 3D effect. Again, we noticed a bit of shimmering, particularly when we moved side to side.

Sony 3D headset

Strictly speaking, the last product isn't glasses-free, but more 3D built in to a set of glasses. The prototype personal 3D viewing was one of the most interesting products on display. The device slides on to your head where two OLED 1,280x720 screens are used for each eye to display the 3D image. On the good side this means no crosstalk problems and a great 3D effect; on the downside, the current prototype is massively front-heavy, making it very uncomfortable to use and hurting our nose.

Headphones are built-in and produce 5.1 sound. It's an interesting idea, but we'll wait until pricing is announced before we make any final judgements.

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