Glasses-free 3D TVs sound like they should be ideal: all that 3D fun, with none of the pesky eyewear demands. Sadly for Toshiba things aren’t going so well in reality; the company’s REGZA GL-1 Series TVs went on sale in Japan back in December, and according to the Japan Times have seen less than half the anticipated demand.
Masaaki Osumi, Toshiba’s visual products company president, admitted in a recent TV interview that, while the company had expected to sell 1,000 of each of the 12- and 20-inch glasses-free 3D sets per month, in actual fact only 500 20-inch 20GL1 (at 240,000 yen each, or around $2,934) and even fewer 12-inch 12GL1 models have been bought. “What the numbers say to me is that if you offer bigger sets, you get a better, more positive reaction” Osumi suggests, pointing to interest in larger 3D displays such as the huge 56-inch prototype demonstrated at CES 2011.
Still, Toshiba can take some satisfaction in knowing that it’s not alone in seeing mediocre sales. Sony execs have admitted that 3D sets are “trailing expectations”, while Samsung has said demand is “relatively weak.” Osumi claims Toshiba is still aiming to bring large-screen glasses-free 3D HDTVs to market in the second half of 2011.