Sony reportedly dabbling in glasses-free 3D TV

Posted by Mike Luttrell

Just a few days after it was announced that Toshiba is working on a commercially available 3D TV without the need for glasses, Sony has come forth to say it too is working on the new tech.

The technology, known as autostereoscopic 3D, could bring a whole new layer to the current playing field of 3D TV, even though sets requiring glasses are themselves very new to the industry.

Glasses-free 3D technology is nothing new. Companies have been using autostereoscopic displays as digital signage for a few years now. However, it was Nintendo's 3DS, unveiled at this year's E3 convention, that brought the concept to the mainstream for the first time. The upcoming gaming handheld will be able to play games and stream movies in 3D without the need for users to wear glasses.

Digital photo frames have also begun incorporating the technology. On those smaller-scale devices, it makes sense. But actually using it for a TV, where viewers will need to sit at a specific angle for hours on end, has some skeptical. Autostereoscopic 3D images are also much less realistic than the "true 3D" experience offered by the stereoscopic 3D TV sets already on the market.

Sony admits there are potential growing pains for glasses-free 3D. "Seeing 3D without glasses is more convenient, [but] we must take account of pricing before we can think about when to start offering them," said Sony SVP Yoshihisa Ishida in Japan, as reported by newswire service The Press Association.