Q. What is the difference between 3D now and the 3D people watched 20 years ago?
A. Digital 3D is a huge advancement over the 3D of yesteryear. Many consumers are familiar with anaglyph technology that used two-color (red/blue or red/green) glasses to deliver the images to both eyes. New digital 3D technologies are able to deliver clear, full color images to each eye. In addition, advances in digital production technologies have improved how 3D movies and programs are created and aligned on the screen. All of these factors combined provide a much richer and more comfortable experience than was available in past decades.
Q. How does 3D TV work?
A. A major reason you see 3D in the real world is that your two eyes are a few inches apart, so they see from slightly different angles. 3DTV attempts to mimic that effect by displaying two slightly different pictures on the screen - one for each eye. The special 3D glasses let your left eye see only the view that your left eye should see, and the right eye see only the view that your right eye should see. Your brain fuses these slightly different images and generates a sense of depth.
Q. Can I use my current TV to watch 3D programming?
A. No. High-definition 3DTV requires video processing capabilities not found in 2D sets. Legacy 2D plasma and/or LCD TVs - even the latest 120Hz displays - can't accept the 3D signal and there is no infrared or Bluetooth signal to sync the required active shutter 3D glasses.
Q. Can I watch things that aren't in 3D on my 3DTV?
A. Absolutely! A 3DTV is a high-quality HDTV with additional capabilities. It shows 2D content perfectly well when it is not showing 3D.
Q. What do I need to watch today's high-definition 3DTV?
A. You will need a 3DTV, corresponding 3DTV glasses, an infrared emitter/receiver (often built into the set), a 3D video source (a blu-ray player or supported cable/satellite box) and 3D video content.
Q. Why do I need to pay $150 for glasses when I get them for free in the theatre?
A. There are currently two different eyewear technologies used to view 3D - polarized and active shutter. Many theaters in the US use polarized systems, but most 3DTVs use active shutter glasses. These glasses are substantially more sophisticated and expensive than the passive polarized counterparts used in theaters.
Q. How do active shutter glasses work?
A. Active shutter glasses use shutters to switch between the left and right eye to give you full color resolution in both eyes. The isolation between the left and right eye information is very high, so you shouldn't see any distracting ghost images (crosstalk) as you might with polarized glasses or anaglyph (blue/red filters) glasses. This technology makes the glasses more expensive, but the benefit is that active shutter glasses systems can deliver the highest resolution image on today's TVs.
Q. Are active shutter glasses compatible with all 3DTVs? Are they interchangeable between different 3DTV brands?
A. It depends, currently some brand's glasses will work only with their 3DTVs, but they should work on any 3DTV produced by that manufacturer. There are some brands that work with other brand sets.
Q. Are there 3D TV's that use passive technology glasses?
A.Yes. Some brands have decided to market only flat panel 3D TV's that use passive technology glasses. Currently, these sets provide half the resolution to each eye as opposed to active technology that provide full resolution to each eye. The major advantage of passive technology is that the glasses are less expensive than that of their active technology counterparts.
Q. I wear prescription glasses and contacts. How can I watch 3D?
A. Active shutter 3D glasses are large enough to wrap around your regular glasses and allow you to enjoy 3D video and movies.
Q. How soon will there be TVs available where I don’t have to wear glasses?
A. 3DTVs that do not require glasses are available today. You may see them used in special venues or for advertising. These televisions have low effective resolution and require the viewer to find the "sweet spot" and remain in it in order to see a distortion free image. In addition, there are other major technical problems to solve before they will be a consumer product.
Q. What is frame sequential technology?
A. It is the enabling technology for 3D in full HD. Separate 1920 x 1080 full HD images for the left eye and right eye are sent to the viewer. You watch the images through active shutter glasses, which open and close the left and right shutters in synchronization with the alternating images. This results in sharp, crisp 3D images.
Q. Can 2D content be upconverted into 3D?
A. Yes and some new 3DTVs with a simulated-3D feature will, in a sense, upconvert existing 2D images to 3D and do so in real time with a built-in processor. That said, it is important to note that simulated 3D, like simulated stereo or HDTV, doesn't measure up to the real thing.
Q. Do my Blu-ray player and 3D television have to be the same brand in order to work with each other?
A. No. In order to play 3D Blu-ray discs, your player will need to be a 3D-compatible Blu-ray player. But your 3D Blu-ray player should play with any of the new full resolution 3DTVs.
Q. If I buy a 3D Blu-ray movie, can I play it on my older non-3D player?
A. Yes, but you will see a 2D movie. There are exceptions. Some Blu-ray players, primarily those in the Sony PS3, can be upgraded with a firmware download so that they can output the full-resolution 3D signal.