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    Toshiba ZL2 TV offers glasses-free 3D and 4k2k (update: QFHD)

    Toshiba ZL2 TV offers glasses-free 3D and 4k2k (update: QFHD)

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    Toshiba just announced its new flagship 3D TV, the ZL2 series, which does high quality glasses-free 3D at long last -- more or less the holy grail of TV tech right now. Toshiba is offering whole classes at IFA to explain the technology, so we'll be hard pressed to explain it all here, but the basic rub is that you can have multiple people in a room, viewing the TV from multiple angles, and all of them will experience the picture in 3D without glasses. There are nine different angles that the TV can pump out simultaneously, but it uses facial tracking to match those angles up with the audience. Additionally, each of the discrete angles is "blended" somehow with the next angle over, so you don't get the "flip" effect when shifting angles (something that 3DS users are painfully familiar with). The ZL2 still isn't fancy enough for you? Toshiba also (nearly) quadrupled the regular 1080p resolution, with a 4096 3840 x 2160 grid of pixels crammed onto the 55-inch display. The CEVO engine is along for the ride for upscaling low-res content (pretty much everything, compared to 4k2k QFHD) and 3Difying your 2D content. You can also update Facebook from the TV, in glorious 4k. Toshiba will start selling the TV in December, for a sure-to-be-painful price.

    Update: Press release is now available providing more details on the lenticular "lenslets" that provide 3D images for up to nine different viewing angles. A "touch of a button" identifies the viewers' positions and adjusts the lenslets accordingly. The bad news? The press release also offers up a €7,999 pricetag. Ouch.

    Update 2: I got a chance to watch the TV's 3D mode in action, and it's pretty great. It's not magical, however. Instead of the typical dimming of shutter-based 3D TVs, it feels like you can see the black lines dividing the pixels. It's not that the picture is actually low resolution, however, there's still plenty of detail on screen, it just happens to "show the seams" more than I'd like. It's very pleasant to watch, and I didn't get a 3DS headache or any nausea. I was sitting around five feet from the screen, and if I moved my head a whole foot laterally I could see the 3D images go out of phase. It's true that there's no "flip" effect, the picture just gets blurry, like when you cross your eyes, or when you can't figure out how to turn on your 3D shutter glasses. The good news is that slighter movements of my head didn't mess with the picture at all, it stayed sharp until I strayed past that certain magical point. It was also pretty easy to get "locked in" to a good viewing angle. So it's not magic, but given a choice between this and dealing with glasses and that horrifying, oppressive dimness, I think I'd prefer this. Is it worth €7,999? That's another question.

    Update 3: It turns out the TV will have Quad Full HD (QFHD) resolution of 3840 x 2160, not the full 4K2K resolution we were originally told. It's still got loads upon loads of pixels, though.

    Toshiba ZL2 3DTV photos


    Check out a gallery of ZL2 photos after the break.