Toshiba To Sell Glasses-Free 3D REGZA TV In December (In Japan)

The rumors we blogged about in August proved to be true: Toshiba has been working on the development of a glasses-free 3D TV, and they are ready to sell it as early as December this year (in Japan, at least). The company today announced [JP] there will be two versions of the so-called “Glass-less REGZA 3D TV”, the 20-inch 20GL1 and the 12-inch 12GL1.

The 20-inch LCD will feature a resolution of 1,280×720 (both for 2D and 3D images). It also comes with a special version of Toshiba’s Cell processor (which is a key element in the PS3, for instance) and has LED backlight. Buyers can expect an HDMI interface, a USB port, LAN, and REGZA Link.

The 12-inch model is considerably weaker, featuring 466×350 resolution and no CELL engine. It also comes with LED backlight, an HDMI interface, a USB port, LAN, and REGZA Link. What’s special about it is the SD card slot (for viewing JPEGs and AVCHD files) and the possibility to view 1Seg programs on it (1Seg is Japan’s digital mobile TV standard).

But what about the 3D effect? Toshiba promises that buyers will be able to view 3D images in high quality and without glasses – provided they look at the screen in one of nine distinct viewing angles (more technical background can be found here). The company’s recommended viewing distance is 90cm in the case of the 20-inch model and 65cm in the case of the smaller one.

In Japan, Toshiba plans to sell the 20-inch TV for $2,900 and the 12-inch version for $1,450 (no word yet on international availability).

Toshiba says these TVs are the first of their kind, but generally speaking, naked-eye 3D displays aren’t new. Nintendo’s 3DS will have one, Hitachi has shown one, and NEC has been working on it, too. Sharp prepares a model for e-readers and tablets and announced a glasses-free 3D smartphone for later this year. Japanese maker NewSight even offers a naked-eye 70-inch 3D display.