What is 'irony'? Toshiba using PS3 tech to make glasses-free 3D TV

Toshiba is bringing glasses-free 3D TVs to the Japanese market this December – and is using PS3's Cell Processor to do it. Sony has made a big deal of its console's ability to play 3D games and movies, but the technology requires expensive and (some say) uncomfortable glasses in order to view the content. However, in Toshiba's new sets, the Cell Processor is used to split a video source into nine different angles, resulting in 3D TV you can view simply by looking at it.

How does it work? The nine feeds are sent to the viewer's eyes via a filter over the screen, presumably one of those 'lenticular' devices used in posters and those little fake LCD games you had when you were a kid. What's more, the Cell is clever enough to turn flat 2D images into 3D for every frame, meaning even flat TV broadcasts can have a 3D effect.

The technology is imperfect at the moment as the viewing angle is a slightly constrictive 40 degrees, although it doesn't require the viewer to stay in one place in order for the effect to work properly, so that's a step forwards.

The sets are only planned for a Japanese release at present, with a 12-inch model (which is smaller than the monitor on most PCs) costing ¥120,000 ($1,440) and a 20-inch model costing ¥240,000 ($2,880) headed for retail before Christmas.

The Japanese don't appear to have the same fetish for massive TVs that we do in the West, although there is said to have been a working 56-inch demo unit on display at the unveiling. Although if 12 inches cost almost $1,500, quite how much 56 inches will cost is anyone's guess.

There's little dispute that 3D TVs in the future will all be glasses-free, but using the PS3's still-beating heart to do it? The Cell Processor isn't exclusive to PS3, but still... ouch.

Have you bought a 3D TV to use with your PS3? Would you buy one of these? Or do you wish 3D would just go away? let us know in the comments.

05 Oct, 2010

Source:New York Times