Toshiba is one step ahead of its competitors – the company announced that it will start selling the world’s first glasses-free 3-D liquid-crystal-display television sets in December, less than a year after most set makers launched 3-D television sets that require eye-wear. The firm unveiled the sets at the Ceatec electronics show in Tokyo, and, according to The Wall Street Journal, Toshiba said the new glasses-free television sets will be available in Japan in two screen sizes, 12 inches and 20 inches, with no current plans for an overseas release.
But the overseas release cannot wait long. If Toshiba demolished the competition locally, we can expect a counter-release from any of the other power players in the industry. The modern glasses-free 3DTVs will sell in Japan for about 120,000 yen ($1,440) for the 12-inch model, while the 20-inch model will carry a price tag of around 240,000 yen. The company is trying to keep the game “fair” by releasing only 2,000 units a month. With the technology in place, the 3D TVs convert standard 2D content to 3D, so content makers don’t need to create content specific for the new TVs.
But the “limited release” has more to do with the limitations of the technology, that with “fair-play”: the viewer needs to be sat in an optimal position to see clear 3D images. Toshiba recommends consumers to sit 35-inch from the 20-inch set and 25-inch from the 12-inch screen. The picture is also best viewed with a 40-degree “sweet spot” in front of the set. These limitations made the competition to postpone production for glasses-free 3D TVs. Sony, Samsung and Panasonic currently use glasses to generate 3D effects. If Toshiba perfects the technology in the months to come, the competition will move to the next logical level. Can you guess?
We think Toshiba’s PR firms, Waggener Edstrom (WE) and Hill & Knowlton will have their hands full. In the meanwhile, the others have to begin the marketing and PR campaigns that will convince their customers to purchase their 3D technology without waiting for Toshiba’s glasses-free releases.