Toshiba show 3DTV without glasses

Toshiba unveils 3DTV
Image caption The firm unveiled the sets at the Ceatec electronics show in Tokyo

Toshiba has launched what it claims are the first 3D television sets that do not require special glasses.

The two sets are able to create 3D effects in real time from standard film and television pictures.

The televisions use a special lenticular sheet to create an array of nine overlapping images.

A viewer sees different images with each eye, creating the illusion of a 3D picture.

The system is similar to that used in the Nintendo 3DS handheld console.

Both Toshiba televisions use the Cell processor - originally designed for the PlayStation 3 - to process the pictures.

Masaaki Oosumi, president of Toshiba Visual Products said it was "obviously more natural to watch TV without glasses".

However, the technology requires a person to be sat in an optimal position to see clear 3D images.

The electronics giant suggests a person sits 90cm (35in) from its 20in set and 65cm (25in) from the 12in screen. The picture is also best viewed with a 40-degree "sweet spot" in front of the set.

These limitations are why most manufacturers - including Sony, Samsung and Panasonic - use glasses to generate 3D effects.

These rely on images for each eye being broadcast one after the other in rapid succession.

Filters in the glasses flash on and off in sync with the picture, filtering the correct image to each eye. The brain recombines the image into a 3D picture.

3D TV is still in its infancy, but broadcasters are already ramping up efforts to provide content in the UK.

Last week, Sky launched Europe's first dedicated 3D television channel, whilst Virgin has launched a 3D movie channel.

Toshiba said the smaller version of its new sets will cost about 120,000 yen ($1,400), and the larger one will be double the price. It is also working on a larger 56 inch model.

It said it hoped to sell 1,000 units a month but currently has no plans to sell the sets abroad.

They were unveiled at the Ceatec electronics show in Tokyo, Japan.

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