Toshiba breaking new ground with the sale of glasses-free 3D televisions

Toshiba Corp will begin selling large-screen glasses-free 3D television sets during the financial year 2011.

It also plans to start marketing the groundbreaking devices beyond its home turf of Japan, according to executives.

The Japanese conglomerate also announced an ambitious target for a one-third increase in its TV unit sales for the financial year starting in April, to 20 million.

Toshiba, whose products range from household appliances to nuclear power stations, has already launched 12-inch and 20-inch versions of its glasses-free 3D TV in Japan. The need for special glasses is considered a major factor hindering sales of 3D TVs, but rival companies have said the viewing angle for glasses-free technology is too restrictive.

Atsushi Murasawa, Toshiba's head of visual products, told reporters at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas that the reaction to the sets had been favourable.

The company will be showing off prototypes of 56-inch and 65-inch glasses-free 3D TVs at CES and will probably launch two models.

One of the models will be more than 40 inches and another will be more than 50 inches, a Toshiba spokesman said.

"These will not only be for the Japanese market, but also America, Europe and China," Mr Murasawa said.

He gave no details on launch dates or prices for the new products.

Toshiba makes liquid-crystal display screens in-house for its small glasses-free 3D TV models, but the company said it would need to work with an external supplier for the larger screens.

The company also sells 3D-capable televisions for use with customary glasses, along the lines of those offered by rivals such as Sony Corp.

Toshiba is seeking to boost television sales in developing countries and to grab a 10 per cent share of the United States TV market, compared with about 7 or 8 per cent at present, Mr Murasawa said.

Toshiba can trace its roots back to 1875, when Tanaka Seizo-sho, Japan's first manufacturer of telegraphic equipment was established.