Engadget reported recently from the IFA gadget convention in Berlin that Toshiba has unveiled its first glasses-free 3-D HDTV.
That's sort of interesting. But the experience with the glasses-free prototypes at CES in January was that the technology is not ready for prime time. The images are fuzzy, and the 3-D effect disappears if you move outside of specific viewing areas.
What's most interesting about the 55-inch TV is actually the resolution: 3,840 by 2,160.
That's much higher than the 1,920 by 1,080 standard (1080p) found on even the best TVs available, and close to 4K-level resolution.
There is debate over whether 3,840 by 2,160 (or "quad full HD," since it's just quadrupling the number of pixels on a 1080p set by doubling the resolution both vertically and horizontally) technically qualifies as 4K, since there aren't actually 4,000 horizontal pixels.
But it's close enough.
So really, this is one of, if not the, first 4K televisions for consumers.
And while the 4K resolution disappears during 3-D viewing, since the image is split to deliver separate images to each eye (hence the 3-D effect), in 2-D mode, the 55ZL2 TV should be incredibly awesome.
The only problem is that there is essentially zero commercial 4K video content available.
Blu-ray discs and home console video games max out at 1080p, while streaming services such as Netflix are generally even lower-res than that.
However, YouTube recently started hosting a handful of 4K videos, so that's one source buyers of the new set will be able to access.
Also, most PCs with decent video cards are capable of display resolutions well north of 1080p, so using the Toshiba TV as a display for a high-end gaming PC would make sense, as well.
And, as Toshiba notes in its press release, you can show 8-megapixel photos at their native resolution on the TV without cropping the image, so slide shows will look amazing on the set.
While it will be a long time before you can watch movie discs or TV broadcasts in 4K resolution, the new Toshiba set might appeal to well-heeled gamers and amateur video fans. (Engadget reports the TV will cost more than $11,400 when it goes on sale in Germany this December, but no word on a U.S. release.)
It's hoped that the technology will become more affordable over the next few years.