It's finally that glorious time of year again - it's Football season! Hours of television, beer, friends and food make this the most American of events. This year, it's even more special because it'll be the first football season where 3D television has become relatively ubiquitous. Of course, TekSpree has played no small part in making that happen. 3D capable televisions have been around since the early 2000's. The real problem has always been the active shutter glasses. At $300 a pop, they were simply out of the range of most households. Now that they are being sold for under $100, 3D has become a luxury people can afford even during difficult economic times.
While enjoying the plethora of football games available over the weekend, I noticed LG's increased marketing push for their LG Cinema TV. In case you havn't seen these commercials, they are for LG's passive (i.e. polarized) 3D glasses. The selling point here is that the glasses cost just a few dollars instead of a hundred. This makes it possible to watch 3D movies and sports with the entire family without breaking the bank anymore than it's already broken. Of course, as soon as these advertisements started appearing, my friends want to immediately know how Tekspree is still in business when such an inexpensive alternative exists. Furthermore, they say, with the advent of the Nintendo 3DS glasses-free display, 3D Glasses are surely on the way out. I was caught a bit by surprise by these questions. Mostly because I had already had several Amstel's. But, also because it really showed just how much misinformation is out there regarding 3D technology. If my good friends truly understood how 3D displays worked, they would realize that there simply is no replacement for Active Shutter Glasses yet - nothing even comes close. So, lets get educated and try to figure out why there's a bright future for all of you 3D LCD Glasses owners, and for TekSpree.com
First, you really have to understand how 3D active shuter glasses work. Here's a brief summary:
Some background information you have to know first. You have to get jiggy with the lingo here:
Refresh Rates. 3D Televisions have a screen refresh rate of 120Hz. This means that every second, the screen is refreshed 120 times. The faster the refresh rate, the smoother and crisper the image is. One of the reasons why 3D is so popular and affordable now is because LCD and Plasma screens have only recently been able to reach 120Hz refresh rates. In the past, the reasonably priced displays had refresh rates of 60Hz. That's enough for most applications, but not enough for 3D.
Resolution. We've all become accustomed to hearing terms like 720p and 1080i. But what does that mean exactly? Well, simply put the higher the number the more lines appear vertically on the screen. The more lines that appear, the crisper the image will look. Old school television use to transmit at a resolution of 420 - which means that you had 420 lines making up a whole image. With HD at 720 or 1080, you can have many more lines to make up the same image. This means that the display will be sharper - voila, HD.
Now on to the differences between passive, no-glasses, and active shutter glasses.
Active Shutter Glasses
Step 1) 3D data is stored on a data track separate from the audio or video information. Your television reads the 3D data encoded on the BluRay disc, television signal, or video game. The 3D signal tells the display to show alternating images for the left, and right eye 120 times a second.
Step 2) The 3D signal is transmitted to the active shutter glasses via infrared signal. This keeps the glasses in sync with the television, so that the glasses "shutter" so each eye see's the proper signal. The Right eye lens clears when the right lens displays the right eye perspective.
Step 3) The left eye lens clears when the left lens displays the left eye perspective.
Step 4) The image alternates so quickly (120 times a second) that the the brain perceives them as a single three dimensional view.
This is very important to understand, because you may be ambushed someday by a talk show host, and the only way to win the million dollar prize is to answer his riddle about how active shutter glasses work. Also, it explains why you are able to get high definition blu-ray quality movies in 3D. Since your left or right eye is viewing the full 1080 image displayed on the screen, you actually get a very high quality HD image. This is not true with other glasses, so read on to find out why.
How do polarized glasses work? Instead of displaying the left/right eye perspectives alternatively like the Shutter Glasses, polarized glasses show the different perspectives at the exact same time. The passive polarization of the glasses then separates the image so that your left eye only sees half the image - the half that gives it a left eye perspective. And the right eye only sees the right eye perspective. The problem here is that because the glasses block out half of what is being projected on the screen, you do not get HD quality - you basically get something a little better than regular television. This simply will not do for people that have become accustomed to 720 or 1080 resolution.
Glasses Free Displays.
As for screens that do not use glasses. Well, they have a much more complicated problem. In order for these screens to transmit the proper signal to your left or right eye, they have a special film that covers the screen. The film is very much like those computer privacy screens that they sell so you can play solitaire without your coworkers nosing in on your awesome score. At any rate, the screen makes it so that while you are sitting in a very specific position in front of the television, your left eye can see only the left perspective, and the right eye can see only the right one. The problem here is that the field of vision for these televisions is very narrow. If you move too much you will lose the 3D effect. While this technology isn't too bad for a hand held device like the Nintendo 3DS, it simply will not do for a home theater system that has more than one user (and that user is laying down eating Dorito's while watching the Gators clobber their opponents!) .
In conclusion - I hope that I have helped to answer questions about why active shutter glasses really are the future of 3D Television. They provide the crispest clearest most high definition viewing experience available. Nothing even comes close - well,except for real life !
If you have any questions - let us know! Comment are open for your input: