Glasses? We Don't Need No Stinkin' 3D Glasses!

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People hate 3D glasses. It’s among the biggest hang-ups consumers cite for why they’re uninterested in upgrading to a 3DTV (see 3DTV Tickles Interest But Most Consumers Aren’t Sold Yet: Survey).

But glasses-free 3D sets are coming. And now Toshiba says it will be the first to introduce a consumer 3D television that requires no clunky headgear, to go on sale by late December in Japan.

For now, however, the sets are considerably more expensive than glasses-based 3DTVs and require you to sit fairly still, lest you destroy the three-dimensional illusion.

The Regza GL1 is priced at the equivalent of about $1,440 U.S. (with a 12-inch screen) and $2,880 (20-inch model). Toshiba has a 56-inch model in development but hasn’t said when that might hit retail.

For you techies out there, the TVs have LED-backlit liquid-crystal displays that use a perpendicular lenticular sheet to create nine parallax images. That means the display’s 3D effects are viewable from nine angles, with left- and right-eye images narrowly beamed into each of those nine slices.

So if you move your head too far, the images become blurry. As Toshiba puts it in a footnote disclaimer: “There is viewing zone that can be seen as 3D; however, outside of this zone, images may not been seen in 3D, in whole or in part.”

Toshiba is projecting sales of about 1,000 per month for the “Glasses-less 3D Regza GL1,” the company announced Monday at a Tokyo press conference.

The Regza GL1 also will automatically convert 2D into 3D, a concept that horrifies Hollywood purists who argue that crafting great 3D requires a human hand (see Depth Charge: Programmers Look at 2D-to-3D Conversion).

In the U.S., the Consumer Electronics Association currently expects about 2.1 million 3DTV sets to ship in the U.S. in 2010, though the forecast has been a wildly moving target for the industry (see CEA Ups 3DTV Forecast To 2.1 Million Units For 2010 and TV’s Third Dimension).

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