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Toshiba 3D TV line packs a surprise: No glasses

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(Read caption) A Toshiba 3D TV is displayed during a press preview in Tokyo. Toshiba said this week that it was working on a glasses-less 3D TV set.

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Toshiba will release a new 3D television in Japan by the end of the year – and unlike previous Toshiba 3D TV sets, this one won't require the viewers to wear those pesky glasses. That's the word today from Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbu, which says the newest Toshiba televisions will use some sort of autostereoscopy 3D technology.

In an interview today with the Associated Press, Toshiba spokesperson Yuko Sugahara did not comment on rumors that a glasses-free 3D TV would hit shelves before the end of the year. But she did confirm that Toshiba was working on the technology. "Many people don't like to wear glasses to watch TV for a long time, especially people who must wear 3-D glasses over regular glasses," Sugahara said.

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Nintendo, of course, recently unveiled its Nintendo 3DS handheld system. The device, a replacement for the aging DS handheld, will ship with two screens – one a touch screen and the other a widescreen display capable of transmitting glasses-free 3D imagery. Nintendo also hinted that it could develop 3D content for console systems sometime in the near future.

Several manufacturers, including Toshiba, have already released 3D television sets, although the price of entry remains prohibitive for many users. Earlier this year, director James Cameron said the 3D phase was "not something that is going to go away." Still, he cautioned that "the TVs are going to take awhile to catch up with the marketplace because there isn't enough content."