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Active vs. Passive Glasses 3DTVs
Just when we thought everything was stabile in the 3DTV world and it was safe to buy an active shutter 3DTV along came passive 3DTVs. Passive 3D is nothing new, it’s commonly found in many 3D-equipped movie theaters. The passive 3DTVs being offered by LG and Vizio use circular polarized glasses from a company named RealD.
First, the Bottom Line
We’ll supply some details below but in case you’re short on time and just want to know which type of 3DTV you should buy we say there is no clear winner but active shutter still appears to offer the best image quality especially for sets larger than 37-inches. Yes, passive glasses are lighter, much cheaper, don’t need batteries and can easily be made with prescription lenses but most people who have seen the 65-inch Vizio VT3D650SV passive 3DTV say the interlaced lines and lower resolution is noticeable.
How They Work
Active shutter glasses use an IR beam from the TV to synchronize LCD shutters in the glasses which trick the brain into thinking it’s seeing one 3D image from two alternating frames. Active shutter 3DTVs require higher frame or refresh rates but can deliver a full HD 1080p picture to each eye. Circular polarized passive glasses send different images to each eye by interlacing or sending alternating lines within one frame. For this reason passive 3DTVs will not be able to display full HD 1080p images in 3D until higher resolution TVs like UHDTVs become available 5 years from now or some new technology like RealD’s RDX technology becomes commercially available which probably won’t be anytime soon. On the other hand, Passive TV scan lines which are noticeable on Vizio’s large screen TV may not be as noticeable on smaller screens just as the difference between 720p or 1080i and 1080p is less apparent on TVs smaller than 37-inches.
Neither One is Perfect
Active shutter glasses cost around $130 - $150 a pair compared to Passive’s $10 - $30. Active glasses are also heavier and will require you to replace the button cell battery after a few hundred hours of use unless you buy a rechargeable pair. Active 3DTVs are also susceptible to crosstalk or ghosting which causes double images. Reviewers of the new Passive Vizio 3DTV say these problems are almost non-existent however, one reviewer noticed the entire 3D effect faded away and double images appeared when viewing the screen somewhat above or below the center line. This same reviewer noted that this could be a big problem with passive 3DTVs mounted above a fireplace or high on a wall.
Passive 3DTV Jaggies
The drawback that makes us inclined to recommend active glasses technology at least in larger size TVs is passive 3DTV’s seemingly step backward into the days of interlace TV. Consumer Reports although impressed with the Vizio TV made note of the compromised image quality: “In addition, we saw jaggies on the edges of objects, especially on diagonal lines. For example, in the opening credits of Monsters vs. Aliens, the DreamWorks logo features a boy with a fishing pole sitting on the moon. On the Vizio, the fishing pole looked like a dotted line; with the Panasonic the pole was a complete, unbroken line.”
Passive Compatibility
If you’re willing to overlook the jaggies or as some say, a screen door effect, in large-screen passive 3DTVs, there are some practical reasons to go with passive glasses. For one thing there hasn’t been a standard established yet for active glasses so the pair you buy for your Panasonic 3DTV may not work on your friend’s Samsung 3DTV. Passive, circular polarized glasses on the other hand, should be compatible among passive 2DTVs and should even work in RealD-powered movie theaters so you can buy a designer pair from someone like Marchon Eyewear or Oakley or get a pair of prescription glasses and bring them with you to the movie theater.
Conclusion
If you’re looking for the best image quality from your 3DTV you’ll want to go with an active glasses 3DTV from someone like Sony, Samsung or Panasonic. If inexpensive and light weight glasses are the most important factor consider waiting for a smaller size passive 3DTV from someone like Vizio or LG.
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Thanks

Thanks

Missing a huge part here...

Yes, smaller screens (37" or less) work great with passive...I have 2 on my desk and larger screens are better for active glasses, but the real winner here is not an LCD TV set, it is projection. If you want 3D and are willing to pay a little bit more for it, then go with a projector. My 10' (120") projected image looks much better than a 65" screen because it is so huge and in your face. There are a few good 3D projectors out there now, but the real bargain is the Optoma HD66 at about $700!! It is only 720p, but the image is awesome in 3D and it supports active shutter glasses. But if I am going to have such a sweet setup, then I want my friends over to see it and that can get expensive. The solution, polarized filters for the projector (actually both projectors). By stacking a pair of projectors and placing polarizing filters on them, you can achieve 1080P with passive glasses and literally have the whole block over for a movie. I got the glasses for free at the theater. The only added cost is a second projector, a pair of filters and potentially a video splitter box to separate the right and left signals.

I hear that ReadD is also coming out with a single projector solution soon that uses passive glasses.

So if you are going to go 3D, go big or go home.

Projection 3D

The RealD system works quite well in theaters and will also work well for home theaters at the right price point.

Several things are required: A DLP projector capable of 240 frame per second refresh rate (LCD won't work), an active optical polarizing switch either inside of or (most versatile choice) in front of the projector, and a video signal source capable of delivering the RealD L & R subframes sequentially to the projector while controlling the optical switch. This could be done either by a special blue-ray player, or a PC with the necessary playback software package. Also, a silver projection screen is required to preserve polarization. (Matte white doesn't work.) This system would be easy to implement for home use.

It is just a matter of RealD licensing their technology at an appropriate price. I think it could beat the flat screen technologies several times over on price with theater quality performance if marketed today. The system price increments would be determined by the projector. XGA, WXGA or SXGA+ (native resolution) projectors would work fine, 720p (native) would be better at an intermediate price and 1080p (native) would be top of the line.

The interlaced flat screen / passive glasses solution is a kluge and will likely disappear. Also, there is no excuse for the high price of the active glasses other than the current low rate of production. The technology is trivially simple. Eventually, they should get down to <$10 per pair. The passive glasses cost theaters around $0.50 each in bulk. The $1.50 surcharge you pay at theaters for RealD movies covers the glasses plus the licensing fees.

The RealD system works quite

The RealD system works quite well in theaters and will also work well for home theaters at the right price point.

Several things are required: A DLP projector capable of 240 frame per second refresh rate (LCD won't work), an active optical polarizing switch either inside of or (most versatile choice) in front of the projector, and a video signal source capable of delivering the RealD L & R subframes sequentially to the projector while controlling the optical switch. This could be done either by a special blue-ray player, or a PC with the necessary playback software package. Also, a silver projection screen is required to preserve polarization. (Matte white doesn't work.) This system would be easy to implement for home use.

It is just a matter of RealD licensing their technology at an appropriate price. I think it could beat the flat screen technologies several times over on price with theater quality performance if marketed today. The system price increments would be determined by the projector. XGA, WXGA or SXGA+ (native resolution) projectors would work fine, 720p (native) would be better at an intermediate price and 1080p (native) would be top of the line.

The interlaced flat screen / passive glasses solution is a kluge and will likely disappear. Also, there is no excuse for the high price of the active glasses other than the current low rate of production. The technology is trivially simple. Eventually, they should get down to <$10 per pair. The passive glasses cost theaters around $0.50 each in bulk. The $1.50 surcharge you pay at theaters for RealD movies covers the glasses plus the licensing fees.

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The RealD system works quite

The RealD system works quite well in theaters and will also work well for home theaters at the right price point.

Several things are required: A DLP projector capable of 240 frame per second refresh rate (LCD won't work), an active optical polarizing switch either inside of or (most versatile choice) in front of the projector, and a video signal source capable of delivering the RealD L & R subframes sequentially to the projector while controlling the optical switch. This could be done either by a special blue-ray player, or a PC with the necessary playback software package. Also, a silver projection screen is required to preserve polarization. (Matte white doesn't work.) This system would be easy to implement for home use.

It is just a matter of RealD licensing their technology at an appropriate price. I think it could beat the flat screen technologies several times over on price with theater quality performance if marketed today. The system price increments would be determined by the projector. XGA, WXGA or SXGA+ (native resolution) projectors would work fine, 720p (native) would be better at an intermediate price and 1080p (native) would be top of the line.

The interlaced flat screen / passive glasses solution is a kluge and will likely disappear. Also, there is no excuse for the high price of the active glasses other than the current low rate of production. The technology is trivially simple. Eventually, they should get down to <$10 per pair. The passive glasses cost theaters around $0.50 each in bulk. The $1.50 surcharge you pay at theaters for RealD movies covers the glasses plus the licensing fees.

svhunaynee

your article on passive vs active 3D

I don't see where you said which is more common in movies or will all 3D movies work with both passive and active.

3D

All very good reasons NOT to buy any 3D equipment until this is sorted out. For 3D to become really popular and useful, it needs a glasses-free solution. Lacking that, 3D will remain a fad for techies.

swslhsrv

Active and...

One of the reports I've heard about 3DTV is that Active sets cause eye strain due to the on/off switching of lenses. Many people report that they can only watch for a limited amount of time before their eyes began to hurt from the strain. Why wasn't this discussed?

eye strain

From the 3DTV report on BBC News' Click programme, the potential for eye strain from existing 3D tech is due to the eyes always focussing on the screen, even though they are moving to converge on objects in the image that may be (virtually) in front of or behind the screen's plane.

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