Toshiba has taken the wraps off a 55-inch, 16:9 ratio LED backlit TV with glasses free 3D capability and Quad Full HD resolution. That's a massive 3,840 x 2,160 pixels, or in other words, four times as many pixels as a 1920 x 1080p TV. We've just checked out the Toshiba 55ZL2 on the floor at IFA and the consensus is that it looks great.
Billed as the world's first large-screen glasses free 3D TV, the 55ZL2 is designed to allow several viewers to watch 3D content from different positions. Its CEVO-ENGINE calculates multiple wide-angle viewing zones in front of the lenticular screen and face tracking operated by the remote control is used to detect the viewers' actual positions and optimize the nine viewing zones.
The CEVO-ENGINE also handles Auto Calibration which Toshiba says achieves "studio level picture quality" and personalized settings - including the volume level you last had the TV set to - can be stored for up to four users.
Content can be recorded to an external hard drive via USB, SMART-TV functions allow access to Toshiba's Places online platform, Resolution+ converts lower res formats into Quad Full HD resolution and if you have an iPhone, you can download an app and throw the remote control away.
The 55ZL2 can also display 2D content at the Quad Full HD resolution.
So how does it look? Our first chance to see the screen in Berlin today definitely left a positive impression - the 3D image had much smoother depth than the "cardboard cut-out" effect on other glasses-free units we've seen, bringing us hope that the reign of 3D glasses will be short lived.
Overall the 3D effect was more subtle, natural and real, with crisper images that seemed to recede into the background rather than jump out at you. In short, it's comfortable to look at.
Of course, native 3D content in Quad Full HD resolution might be a little hard to come by for a while, but the 55ZL2 could well be a new benchmark for the industry.
"It seems like a step towards maturity for the entire market," says Gizmag's Tim Hanlon. "I can't see the downside. This is a pretty sick TV."
The Toshiba 55ZL2 will be released in Germany in December 2011. Release dates for other European countries are yet to be confirmed and there's no word yet on how much it will cost.