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3D (Three Dimension) HDTV

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All of us had heard about the new thing called 3D televisions and that is most likely why you are reading this. You want to know more. I have divided this article into five sections, history, how it works, technology, usability, and future, so you can read only the parts you are interested in.


Despite the fact that 3D TV’s are new thing the concept has been around for a while. 3D has its roots at the beginning of photography, year 1844 when Scottish inventor David Brewster came up with a stereoscope that could take pictures in 3D. The first movie itself was produced in 1915 and shortly thereafter in 1922 the first public movie was released. Once the color television was around in 1935 first color 3D move came out. After that 3D movies and TV were produced on irregular bases every now and them.

first 3d movie was released in 1922

How it works

In any technology that I will describe in next section the 3D effect is produced in same manner just by different means. Whatever 3D you are watching, if you take your glasses off, you will see that there is and center to all objects on the screen that look 3D through glasses as well as partial shadow like image on each side of it. Those “shadows” make the object pop out of the screen and look 3D. Generally your eye is exposed to one shadow before the other and they alternate at high frequencies, usually at 120 changes per second. Your brain can not react that fast to such an image, thus you see a 3D object when you look at it through glasses.

how 3d image is received with 3d glasses


Currently there are three different technologies available the general public. The one that most of us know about and had mostly likely experienced is called anaglyphic 3D. This technology uses those funky glasses where one lens is red and other is cyan.  This is what was used for longest time and had worked relatively well, but there were problems with colors as each eye has a color “filter” in front of it thus you do not get very real colors.

Second technology is by use of passively polarized lenses. These are the glasses that have the greenish-brownish lenses on them. They work on similar principal as the red-cyan glasses, but do not distort the color of an image as much. With this technology the “shadows” of an object alter in and out at 120 times per second. And again your brain can not react that fast to such an image thus you see a 3D object when you look at it through glasses.

Third technology is somewhat similar to passively polarized lenses but it uses actively polarized lenses. In this case the image does not change 120 times per second, but it is your glasses that allow you to see only through one eye at a time at rates of 120 changes per second. That is why actively polarized lenses are heavier due to onboard battery pack.

3d glasses


Now here is where the debate comes in. Is 3D technology really worth it? In past 3D was used to wow the public whenever sales were down and companies tried to lure more people. I personally believe that this is what is happening now; just it is more high tech. Time will only tell if 3D is here to stay for good or if it is another hype. Right now 3D is relatively expansive, as are all new technologies, you will need to purchase new television set that is 3D capable ($1800+) along with that new Blu-Ray player that is 3D capable ($200+), additional pairs of 3D glasses if you do not have enough ($150+) and you will need some movies that are in 3D, however there are only handful of the out. Some Blu-ray players can be upgraded via new firmware, consult your manufacturer for that. Some TV provider offer 3D only channels on their lineup, but I am certain you will have to pay nice dime to have that. Plus you will have to keep track of your 3D glasses and keep them charged. I can barely keep track of you sunglasses at times, so I am not sure how will I do with 3D glasses. So tell me, is it worth it? Spending at least 2000 dollars in upgrades to watch few movies and hand full of TV shows while wearing sunglasses. I think not, not for me that is.

3d logo


Many things need to happen to current 3D technology for it to be viably usable. Prices are the first thing, they need to go down. I am not going to pay almost 2000 dollars for base model 3D TV. There have to be more choices of movies available than the handful that are out right now. Again time will tell if the 3D will stick around. Blu-Ray sales are not going so well as it is, and since you need a Blu-Ray disk to view 3D, along with other expensive equipment, the sales can’t be that great either. And the most annoying thing, to me at least, the glasses, they have to go.

There is hope however. Currently there is a technology being developed that utilizes multiple displays stacked on top of each other to produce “virtual” 3D image with no glasses. Demo of this was shown in 2009 CES, I believe, unfortunately I did not get the chance to see it myself. There is not a lot of information currently available on this technology but we will know more later…

And who knows, maybe holographic technology will make a sudden leap and we will not need 3D TV’s at all, just a little box on a table top. Something like seen in movie iRobot, with a little holographic disk projector.

future 3d tv

Closing thoughts

I have nothing against 3D even though it may have sounded like I do, however I do not see its wide application in homes. Yes I would like to see a 3D movie in theaters once in a while, but not so much that I want to watch it day in and day out at home with glasses on. Plus 3D looks a lot better in theaters than at home.

3D related FAQ’s

If I buy a 3D TV do I have to watch 3D broadcasting or movies only?
No, all 3D TV’s are 2D capable as well.

Can you watch anything in 3D on 3D TV?
No, only 3D channels and movies will be in 3D. Rest will be in 2D.


Read more on: What do I need to watch 3D TV

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