Tuesday, August 24, 2010


We all knew this was coming, eventually, but this is much, much sooner than I expected. From Gizmodo:
Before the end of the year, three 3DTVs from Toshiba not requiring cumbersome glasses to get the full effects are expected, after using something similar to Sharp's parallax barrier tech, as seen in the Nintendo 3DS.

The Japanese publication Yomiuri Shimbun is claiming Toshiba will launch three models before Christmas, using a technology they developed which emits light rays at different angles, meaning glasses aren't required.

Toshiba previously spoke of this technology as being 21-inches in size, with the panel not quite full HD, at 1280 x 800 (WXGA) resolution.

Oh, my.

This is not very complicated. The degree of penetration that "glasses required" 3-D screens could obtain has always been dependent on how quickly non-glasses technology could reach the market at reasonable performance and price points.

That's not what the companies who make glasses required 3-D screens would tell you, but like I said, it's not complicated. People don't want to wear clunky glasses that they don't have to, and they especially don't want to pay $150 for each pair.

Will these Toshiba screens have decent viewing angles? I don't know, but even if they don't, they will at some point in the future, and that point has been moved much closer to us.

There are some people in the glasses required 3-D camp who will never admit that a non-glasses screen as a satisfactory viewing angle. There are also people in the non-glasses 3-D camp who will never admit that a non-glasses screen doesn't have a satisfactory viewing angle.

These people do not matter.

What matters is the average guy who walks into a Best Buy and wants to buy a 3-D screen. Can he demo the non-glasses 3-D screen without a salesperson? Yes. Can he demo the glasses required 3-D screen without a salesperson? No, because he needs the glasses, and since those glasses cost $150 a pair, Best Buy doesn't leave them out. That inconvenience alone will remind him in very specific ways of the expense and limitations of the glasses.

Game over.

Based on this announcement, I think it's reasonable to estimate that within five years, glasses required 3-D will be viewed as an awkward transition phase into "real" 3-D.

Plus, I think this is also an important factor, when the 3DS launches, it's going to introduce non-glasses 3-D to a huge number of consumers, particularly kids. What kid is going to want a 3-D television where he has to wear glasses when he's holding a 3-D device in his hand that doesn't need them? 

Well, no kid, as long as the non-glasses screen can be seen from enough viewing angles.

I can't wait to see the commercials (well, actually I can, but only because I hate commercials). Let's see- we have two families of four, and they're both watching television in 3-D. One family has everyone wearing glasses, and they're fidgeting and adjusting them constantly. One kid gets up and trips over something because he can't see very well with the glasses on.

Contrast that with the ultra-super-deluxe modern family, who is watching television in 3-D without glasses. They're laughing. They look happy.

They look sleek.

Is that necessarily the reality? No, but it will be the advertising reality, and that drives our perception of what is real.

Like I said, game over.

Site Meter