Toshiba Seek 3D TV Domination With Active, Passive & Glasses-Free Sets

Vincent Teoh

Toshiba is launching a three-pronged assault on the 3D TV market, probably the first TV manufacturer to do so in a simultaneous fashion. The Japanese corporation has showcased its new active-shutter glasses (ASG), passive 3D and glasses-free models at a media event held in the Rome today, which went ahead despite the recent disasters in its home country.

The ASG models are found in the new Regza ZL, YL and WL series. Loaded with a number of mouth-watering features including the powerful CEVO engine, the Toshiba 55ZL1 is naturally the company’s flagship model. It boasts 3072 LEDs which are arranged into 512 dimming zones – the highest for a consumer-grade HDTV so far – to illuminate the LCD panel. Dubbed “PRO LED 512”, this full-array direct LED-backlit technology allows the 55ZL1 to deliver the highest possible contrast (deepest blacks and brightest whites on the same screen), as well as a top luminance claimed to be as high as 1000 cd/m2, which may prove useful in countering the darkening effects of 3D glasses.

The Toshiba Regza YL and WL series, on the other hand, sport what the company calls “Pro LED 32″ technology, which is essentially edge LEDs (16 zones on each side, giving a total of 32 zones) boosted by pseudo-local-dimming algorithm. Both these active 3D TV ranges come in screen sizes of 42, 46 and 55 inches, and are crafted in collaboration with Jacob Jensen Design.

The Japanese consumer electronics giant will also fly the passive 3D flag for the first time with its VL series of LED LCD TVs. As expected, the LCD panels will be sourced from LG Display (who unveiled its FPR polarized 3D LCD technology in Beijing late last year, naming Toshiba as an ally in the process). The VL series will initially be available in screen sizes of 42″ and 47”, and is pitched at consumers wanting a decent 3D-capable television at an affordable price (with a few free pairs of polarized 3D glasses thrown in too).

Eventually though Toshiba thinks that glasses-free (also known technically as autostereoscopic) 3DTV is the future, and the company wants to make sure it is at the forefront of the revolution. At the press conference, the Japanese corporation promised that a glasses-free 3D TV as large as 40 inches in screen sizes will be launched worldwide before the end of the 2011 fiscal year (i.e. March 2012).