Aside from brand choice, the main decision a consumer has to face when purchasing a 3D TV is the type of technology used for 3D. There are two types of 3D technology, Active and Passive technology. They have been around for many years and each has their own way of producing a 3D image. I’ll start with the Active one first.
Active (Shutter) technology works by showing alternating frames rapidly from a video source through battery-powered 3D glasses that weigh on average 40-50 grams. The “flickering” of the frames is done at a speed that is undetectable to the human eye however there are cases when they are noticeable when the batteries on the glasses get low. The 3D glasses are also non-compatible with TVs other than that of the manufacturer (2011). Active 3D TVs are able to produce a 1080p image for each eye however when viewing with both eyes, it does not mean you’ll get 2160p or 2160i.
|Active Shutter Method|
Passive (FPR) technology works by showing two separate images that are shown through 3D glasses with polarized filters. The 3D image is shown in the same sense we view objects in real life. Technically, 540p is shown to each eye however there has been some controversy over whether a full 1080p is achieved by viewing with both eyes (interlacing). Passive 3D glasses do not require batteries and weigh on average 15-20 grams. Almost all Passive 3D glasses are compatible on other passive TVs as well as the movie theaters.
|Passive 3D method|
In 2011, the main argument between these two technologies was picture quality. Active 3D supporters would claim passive 3D doesn’t offer the same picture quality as active and Passive 3D supporters would claim this difference would only be noticeable a couple feet from the TV, distances people don’t normally watch from. Passive supporters also brought up convenience issues with active 3D glasses claiming they are too heavy, cause dizziness and headaches. Towards the end of 2011, there seemed to be a consensus; TVs under 55”, Passive was better and for 55”and above, Active was better.
|Xband Universal Active Shutter Glasses|
It is now 2012 and there have been a few changes: Sony and Panasonic are developing passive 3D TVs; Xband has teamed up with numerous manufacturers in developing a universal set of active 3D glasses that work on any active 3D model (only those made after this announcement). All new smart TV platforms have been launched for 2012 that will be integrated in many of the TVs.
Plasma TVs will still be produced in 2012, although on a much smaller scale. Manufacturers seemed to have lowered plasma production and increased LED production. Some companies such as LG and Samsung have made announcements to introduce OLED TVs into the market later in the year. But until that time comes, LED TVs are still the most popular type of display in 2012. That leads us to two highly anticipated TVs from LG and Samsung. One is an active 3D and the other is a passive 3D set which leads to more questions. Have any of these technologies improved? Does Active 3D offer better resolutions for each eye? Have the 3D glasses changed? Does Passive offer higher resolution? Let’s take a look at two models introduced at CES 2012 this year in Las Vegas, the Samsung ES8000 and the LG LM9600.
|The face recognition may seem cool for some but for me it was kind of creepy and scary|
The Samsung ES8000 was released at CES 2012. Although out-shined by the OLED TVs, it did not disappoint in the design department as one would expect from such a company as Samsung. This TV comes in 46” 55” 60” 65” and 75” sizes. This TV is an edge-lit LED TV with micro dimming. It has a 240 Hz refresh rate, 3D, smart TV, and an interactive remote with a few new features such as face recognition, voice control, and hand gestures which are tracked by a built-in camera.
|Samsung Smart Remote|
|The Samsung Smart TV interface looked too much like 2011. The horizontal menu shuffling wasn't very appealing|
|2011 Samsung Active Shutter Glasses|
|2012 Samsung Active Shutter Glasses|
At 2012 CES, the main attraction and the winner of the “Best of CES” award belonged to the LG OLED TV. That TV took most of the spotlight however the LG LM9600 is certainly one of the most underrated TVs for 2012. This TV features an all-new “Cinema Screen” design, giving LG 3D TVs a much needed face lift for 2012. This TV is a Full array nano LED with local dimming. It has a 480Hz refresh rate, 3D, Google Smart TV, and a magic remote with voice recognition and gesture control.
|2012 LG Magic Motion Remote|
|LG Smart Google TV|
|2011 LG Cinema 3D Glasses|
|2012 LG Cinema 3D Glasses|