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Glasses-Free 3DTV [Nearly] Here

Ardjuna Seghers


Glasses-Free 3DTV [Nearly] Here

Come December, you will be able to enjoy something technology enthusiasts have been dreaming about ever since Avatar: glasses-free 3D TV in your home – if you live in Japan, that is.

As it turns out, Toshiba will actually be one of the first to have a screen available that lets you enjoy that third dimension without strapping lenses to your face (unless you need them to see the display in the first place, of course). It achieves this by using a perpendicular lenticular layer, similar to the new Nintendo 3DS.

Though the 466 x 350, 12in 12GL1 is probably closer to a photo frame, at 20in and sporting a HD-ready 720p resolution, the 20GL1 is just about usable as a movie showcase.

Even if its bezel and stand are practically bigger than the viewable screen, just think of how envious your friends will be as they all squeeze into the narrow viewing position from which they'll get the stereoscopic glory! It will only cost you an estimated £1,850 plus the cost of importing it from the land of the rising sun, and surely that's worth it to see Santa in 3D?

Or you could just get the 15in LG 15EL9500 OLED TV for less now, and wait till 2013 for Philips' quad-HD (4K), 56in glasses-free 3D monster. Your friends will probably be more impressed.


October 5, 2010, 8:27 pm

The point about it being big, ugly and expensive notwithstanding, it's reassuring to hear that at least one manufacturer is at least trying to make some progress with the idea of non-speccy 3d tv.

Still not sold on the basic idea of 3dtv though.


October 5, 2010, 9:00 pm

Philips also seem to be making efforts in that direction.

As to being sold on 3DTV, have you seen Avatar? Not that I'm comparing the cinema experience to a 20in display of course, but it does work given the right conditions. Gaming is an even more compelling reason than movies (for which Avatar is the only real mascot), and depending on the title it can really enhance the experience.

James Simmons

October 6, 2010, 1:38 am

3D sucks, in every implementation currently available or soon to be. I suggest you seek medical help of you can't see that.

Tim Sutton

October 6, 2010, 4:29 am


How odd, I thought Avatar was a perfect example of current 3D entertainment, in that I watched the film at an IMAX and came out having spent the entire three hours watching 3D rather than the film. And with a headache. I watched it again on blu-ray recently, and much preferred the 2D experience.

I've always said that I will buy into 3D when glasses free is the norm though and hopefully by that time the content will be immersive rather than jarring. Sport on TV will be fantastic when the 3D kinks are worked out.

I do feel bad for the early adopters this time round with their soon to be obsolete screens and glasses, but honestly, this was so obviously going to happen.


October 6, 2010, 4:30 am


I'm with you on OLED. I'm still most excited by any technology that pushes image quality itself. Having been given a taste of the eye popping colours and crispness on today's smartphones as a glimpse of home theatre's future, if I had my way, that's where I'd be throwing all the R&D and marketing money, to get decent sized screens to mass market prices. But then I'd probably bankrupt the company because as we've seen with the fall of the almighty Kuro, basics like long term viewing experience don't capture the bland imaginations of consumers roped in by instantly gratifying gimmicks such as 3D. I mean, how many times can you be impressed by bullets jumping out a screen? Newsflash people : the Resident Evil films are not known for their replay value. Compare that to the prospect of watching Inception or Toy Story 3 in 40" OLED - wow!


October 6, 2010, 11:01 am


I'm going to start saving ....


October 6, 2010, 1:43 pm


Yes, the demise of the Kuro was a sad day for movie-lovers everywhere. Unfortunately, Kuro's high prices put them out of reach for many, and even those who could afford them often didn't realize they were worth the premium.

Personally I'm also looking to OLED as the 'ultimate' screen tech of the near future, and hopefully they'll become affordable sooner rather than later.

Have you seen http://www.trustedreviews.com/... ?


October 7, 2010, 1:58 pm


Yes, I have seen Avatar, and I saw it, in 3d, in the cinema. I thought the 3D was impressive, but to be honest, I had forgotten about it after the first 20 minutes or so, once the novelty had worn off and I got taken in by the story and general visual beauty of Pandora. Then, every now and again, I had a "wow" moment, but mostly, the 3D effects just distract from the story telling experience. Heard the phrase "suspension of disbelief"? Anything which interrupts that during a film watching experience is a bad idea, in my books. Kudos to Christopher Nolan, who resisted studio pressure to make Inception in 3D, for precisely that reason.

Anyway, what I said is that I don't buy the idea of 3D TV, not 3D cinema. What I mean is that the average TV in the average living room fills a much smaller field of view than the average screen in the average cinema, so the immersive experience is that much less with TV. With that in mind, I just don't think that for the _average_ viewer in the _average_ living room, it will be any more than a gimmick.

What would change my mind, I suppose, is if the glasses were VR glasses, and the images you watched were more like Omnimax or IMAX Dome images, but in 3d. This way, the action would be in front of you, but your entire field of vision would also be filled by the environment. I understand that the difficulty with Omnimax is how to stop the "other" camera lens, and the entire film crew, from appearing in the frame!


October 7, 2010, 3:30 pm

"and wait till 2013 for Philips' quad-HD (4K), 56in glasses-free 3D monster."

Cool, cant wait. Then we'll buy Star Wars yet again on 4K-3D format haha. Yes, I'm a sucker.. :)


October 7, 2010, 3:35 pm


Yep, even in the cinema the 3D effect firmly splits viewers. Some of us in the TR office were very impressed by Avatar 3D, some could take it or leave it, while another member of staff thought it was a horrible gimmick that detracted from the experience.

Gaming is where I really see it taking off for the average viewer/living room though. PS3 is making good strides in that direction, while Nvidia's 3D vision works on hundreds of titles.

3DVR glasses would be awesome! :D


I would too (but only the original trilogy)


October 7, 2010, 5:28 pm


oh I dunno.. Love the original trilogy, but also the pod race on dvd in 5.1 surround was awesome, so I'm looking forward to the blu-ray release and yet again in 3D for that additional experience..


October 7, 2010, 10:14 pm

I'm sorry, this is absurd. This isn't Empire but point of order here. It doesn't matter that the 3D in Avatar is underwhelming - even if the 3D was breathtaking (which it isn't) *THE FILM SUCKS*. There isn't a single plot or character nuance in its entire 160 minute runtime. There's no need for it to be that long.

The villain is deeply uninteresting. The foreign policy metaphors are anaemic at best and non existent at worst. The world is - well what? Lots of plants and some blue hippies? Hardly transcends the imagination. Even on just the level of a diverting action adventure, the set pieces are only okay. Are people forgetting what a real immersive battle sequence is like? Omaha Beach? Helm's Deep? Maximus and the Romans against the German Horde? And I'm astounded that people are pulled in by this new age rubbish which couldn't be more cynical and transparent. Does anyone really think James Cameron wants us to 'feel the emotions of the environment'? Come off it. I thought we were done with that racket in the 90s.

What really sticks is that Cameron is capable of so much more. It's not Terminator or T2. It's not Aliens. Hell, it's not even True Lies - that's a film with a good plot and interesting, witty character motivations in it.

Contrast Avatar with Toy Story 3 where the narrative is so tight, and the characters' emotions extracted are so sincere, that the gimmick of 3D can't even detract from the experience and take you out of the picture. And it didn't need nearly three hours either.


October 8, 2010, 8:20 pm

@GoldenGuy hmm I was getting off topic and your post is even more so.. ;)

Whilst I love the movies you quoted, its pretty difficult to raise an argument against one of the highest grossing movies of all time = massive fail. sorry


October 9, 2010, 3:36 am


You say massive fail but I'm very happy to raise arguments against disgustingly successful films - particularly ones like Avatar that have caused a hell of a lot of damage to cinema by leaving a whole wake of subpar films, and decent films with distracting effects, in its wake.

Titanic, Pirates 2 and 3, Alice in Wonderland and Harry Potter 1 all occupy the top ten highest grossing movies of all time. Does that resemble your 'Films to See Before You Die' list? What's still ranks #1 in IMDb's Top 250? Shawshank Redemption - a complete box office disaster from 16 years ago. Where has Avatar slipped to in less than a year? #123. It will fall further.

Disappointing movies and their gimmicky effects will continue to make tons of cash - I've never been under the illusion that this will ever stop. (Transformers 3D will be another ghastly success, no doubt.) But in the vast majority of cases, box office only indicates a successful ad campaign and audience anticipation leading to how many people went see the film, NOT how many of those people left satisfied. Gauging that actually takes time, depending on a longevity of public and critical appreciation, and the instant results era of mass communication we live in today, does not lend itself well to that kind of scrutiny.

I reckon the 3D fad, at least in films, will eventually fade, but I'm sure in the short term it will continue to be a goldmine. That doesn't detract from it being cinematically bankrupt.


October 9, 2010, 2:13 pm


Yes, I do see what you are saying.. It is still early days for 3D and room for improvement. I compare it when PC games were vga (320x240) and then went into super vga and eventually HD. And yes, fancy graphics or animation on the screen do not make a good game or movie..but when you combine the fancy picture with a great story, then you have magic. Once 3D has matured, and you watch great movies on it, I think 2D will look "flat", literally, in comparison. I think this is progress that will mature again into even more exciting technology that the future will hold, eg. holographic projection that will turn the cinema into the battlefield for a truly "being there" experience.

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