3D TV

September 4, 2010

3D TV

I would like to start off our new online Newsletter by welcoming everyone to ExtremeElectronics.net.  The purpose of our newsletter will be to offer information to help better educate you on the world of home electronics.  Throughout the years in this business, one thing has remained the same, and that is the fact that technology changes, and it changes often.  We understand how difficult it can be to stay up with the ever changing technology, which is where we hope to help point out some of what is new on the market, and what is just over the horizon and soon to be available.  Every month we will write a short newsletter on what is a buzz in the industry.  If at any point during the course of reading the newsletter you have further questions, we encourage you to contact us so we can further assist and educate you.  On that note, we wish to thank you for visiting and support Extreme Electronics.net, and we will now discuss our first topic, 3D TV.

3D History

3D has been around for many years, dating back as early as 1844 with the invention of the Stereoscope by David Brewster.  The advent of the Stereoscope allowed for 3D photographs to be taken.  In 1855 the Kinematascope was created.  This allowed for the creation of 3D motion pictures to be filmed.  In 1915, Anaglyph Technology was released, bringing along with it what is most commonly thought of when thinking of the term 3D, glasses with different color lenses.  These different color lenses allowed for a separate image to be viewed by the individual eye.  The human brain would then process the separate images creating the illusion of a 3 Dimensional image. This technology stayed mostly unchanged for decades, although there were not a lot of films produced at the time.

In the 1960’s, a new format was released, called Space-Vision 3D.  This technology took two images and printed them over each other on a single strip.  The significance of this new technology is that it required only one projector to play the film.  Previous technologies required two projectors, which was very difficult to use because they had to be perfectly synched with one another.

In 1970, Allan Silliphant and Chris Condon developed Stereovision. This was a new 3D technology that put two images squeezed together side by side on a single strip of 35 mm film. This technology used a special anamorphic lens that would widen the picture using a series of polaroid filters.

In the 1980’s, IMAX began producing 3D films.  The IMAX technology emphasized mathmatical correctness and this eliminated the eye fatigue that was seen in previous 3D technologies.

In 2004 the first full length animated 3D movie was released. It was called “The Polar Express”.  The 3D version of the film earned 14x as much per screen as the 2D version.

The latest boom of 3D came about with the release of the much anticipated James Cameron’s film “Avatar”, which won 3 Oscars and grossed over $5.92 Billion worldwide (As of 2/9/2010).  Following it’s success, came a push from studios to release more 3D titles.  These films all use a technology that utilizes polarized glasses.
“Polarized 3D glasses create the illusion of three-dimensional images by restricting the light that reaches each eye, an example of stereoscopy which exploits the polarization of light.

To present a stereoscopic motion picture, two images are projected superimposed onto the same screen through different polarizing filters. The viewer wears low-cost eyeglasses which also contain a pair of different polarizing filters. As each filter passes only that light which is similarly polarized and blocks the light polarized in the opposite direction, each eye sees a different image. This is used to produce a three-dimensional effect by projecting the same scene into both eyes, but depicted from slightly different perspectives. Since no head tracking is involved, several people can view the stereoscopic images at the same time.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polarized_3D_glasses)

Soon after came the announcement that television manufacturers would be bringing the 3D experience to people’s homes.

(Source – http://ezinearticles.com)

3D Television

3D TV’s use a different technology then that used in the theater.  Many people wonder why the glasses they got from the movie theater will not work on their home 3D TV.  The answer is in the different technology.  The movie theaters use Real D’s technology.

“Real D 3D movies work by projecting two copies of the movie onto the screen, one after the other in quick succession. One series of frames is from the perspective of the left eye, while the other is from the perspective of the right eye. The left and right projections have different light polarizations. The left lens of the 3D glasses allows the light from the left projection to be seen by the left eye, but prevents light from the right projection being seen by the left eye. The right lens does the opposite, allowing only the right projection’s light to be seen by the right eye. This has the effect of making the right and left eyes see slightly different versions of the movie, each from a different perspective, just as occurs when viewing a real-world scene. The human brain naturally combines the two two-dimensional images into a single, 3-dimensional scene.“ (Source – wiki.answers.com)

The technology in 3D Televisions is the same in that it also blocks what each eye can see, however it does it in a very different manner, with the use of Active Shutter Glasses, which are battery powered glasses made specifically for the home market:

“Active-shutter glasses rapidly block one eye at a time so that each eye sees only the frame meant for it. The glasses contain two small, black-and-clear LCD lenses that darken or lighten when a radio or infrared pulse from the TV (or an add-on emitter) signals that the image is changing.” (Source – http://www.popsci.com/gadgets/)

What is required?
In order to utilize the 3D technology, you will need a couple of things:

  1. The first is, of course, is a 3D capable television.  There are options from pretty much all the major TV manufacturers.
  2. In order to watch a 3D movie, you will also need a 3D Bluray player.  Because most Home Theater Receivers do not pass the 3D technology, with the exception of the latest models to hit the market, some manufacturers have released Bluray players that have two HDMI outputs, so that one HDMI cable can go to the TV for 3D viewing, while a second HDMI wire can go to your existing Home Theater receiver for sound.  These players cost a little more, but can eliminate the need for a new receiver.  There are some other options available on newer receivers that make them a good idea to upgrade to, but we will discuss those options in future newsletters.
  3. The amount of data that passes from the equipment to the TV is too large for an older HDMI wire to carry.  With the release of 3D, another technology was released almost simultaneously, and that is HDMI version 1.4 which will be known as High Speed HDMI.
  4. Cable and Satellite providers are starting to broadcast some limited 3D content.  Equipment-wise, you should not need anything beyond the TV, your cable/satellite box, and a High Speed HDMI cable.  If you have a Home Theater receiver and you wish to utilize the best audio formats broadcast through your provider, you will have to purchase a 3D compatible Receiver as the cable and satellite companies will not be releasing a box that has dual HDMI outputs like some of the Bluray player manufacturers have done.  Check with your local cable/satellite provider for 3D content.

We touched a little bit on the different technologies, the difference between home 3D vs. movie theater 3D, and some of the requirements.  I hope that this gives you a little insight into the world of home 3D and helps point you in the right direction.  If you have additional questions, please contact us at Extreme Electronics and we can help educate and assist you further.

Mike Golove
President and Founder
Extreme Electronics

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