Toshiba TVs go 3D — without the specs

Maker touts sets as first of their kind

Toshiba is marketing a new 3D TV that does not require special glasses — touting it as the first of its type in the world.

Called the 3D Regza GL1, the TV will go on sale in Japan in December, with an initial production run of 1,000 units a month. A 12-inch model is priced at $1,445 and the 20-inch at $2,892.

Toshiba unveiled the set at the Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies trade fair in Tokyo on Monday, where it showcased a 56-inch set for display only.

Though viewers will not need special glasses they will have to sit directly in front of the set to get the full 3D effect.

To beef up the set’s multimedia processing capabilities, Toshiba uses Cell Broadband Engine technology jointly developed by IBM, Sony and Toshiba for the Sony PlayStation 3.

Sony, Panasonic and other Japanese manufacturers have been launching 3D sets since last summer, but they account for only 2% of the flat-panel TV market.

Toshiba hopes that the 3D Regza GL1 will help break the sales logjam since the need for special glasses is seen as a barrier to the widespread diffusion of 3D TV.

High prices and a dearth of 3D programming are also hurting TV sales, though broadcasters are ramping up their 3D shows.

Panasonic announced Monday that it will broadcast a 10-minute 3D music show on satellite channel BS Asahi starting Nov. 1 via its own production subsid.

Set for a Mon.-Fri 11:50 p.m. slot, it will feature one or two musical numbers to give viewers a “live concert” experience and promote sales of Panasonic 3D sets. Its initial run will be three months.

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