3D Television Technology Explained

Avatar Theme Image 5 AVATAR is coming in 3D on DVD this fall or early next year. So what is 3D television technology and how does it work? If you want to know what the new 3D technology is or find out whether everyone can enjoy the effect you’ll find out here. We also take a look at what 3D television technology is currently available and how much it costs. If you’re wondering about whether you can watch 2D movies on a 3D TV or whether sports and TV shows will be broadcast in 3D we’ve got your answers.

Guest post by Simon Hill

There is building excitement surrounding the new wave of 3D technology but this development also raises a number of questions. In this article we offer up some answers to help you understand the new 3D television technology.

What is the new 3D in 3D TVs?

Both the anaglyphic (red and green glasses) and the polarization (passive polarized glasses) 3D techniques have been dumped in favour of new technology which creates a much higher quality 3D effect. The issue is confused because there are two new 3D technologies hitting the market.

One of them is called Alternate Frame Sequencing and it requires you to wear shutter glasses which close on the left eye for a single frame and then close on the right eye for a single frame. This happens so quickly you won’t see it and it enables the TV to present a different image to each eye thereby creating a strong 3D effect. The other method is called Autostereoscopic and it doesn’t require any glasses at all. It works on the basis that your eyes both take in slightly different views anyway.

It seems likely the entertainment industry will settle on some kind of common standard for 3D but they haven’t decided yet.

What technology is available and how expensive is it?

Some manufacturers have begun to release 3D ready TVs such as the Samsung UN55C700. If you want to enjoy the current 3D options you’ll also need the Samsung 3D Starter Kit which includes two pairs of 3D glasses. Finally you’ll have to pick up something like the Samsung BD-C6900 3D Blu-ray disc player. You won’t get much change from $4,000.

Of course you always pay a premium with new technology and it will come down in price over time. All of the big names in TVs are developing products which will support 3D.

Can I watch 2D on my 3D TV?

The simple answer is yes. All of the 3D TVs and Blu-ray players will be backwards compatible and so they’ll be able to play standard format and high definition 2D movies. Most likely the 3D version of the film will always be sold on the same disc along with a 2D version.

Will I be able to watch TV programs and sports in 3D?

Various satellite and cable channels in Japan, the USA and the UK have already broadcast test programs and sporting events in 3D. ESPN are planning to launch a new channel dedicated to 3D sports in the summer. We can safely expect the amount of shows and sporting events filmed in 3D to increase if the new technology proves popular with consumers.

Can everyone see 3D?

No. The new 3D television technology cannot be enjoyed by everyone; an estimated 5% to 10% of people are not able to perceive the 3D effect. They will still be able to enjoy watching 3D movies but it will appear as a normal 2D film to them.

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Do you think 3D TV is the future or are you waiting to see what happens?


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