3D TV is a hot topic and full HD 3D TV is a term that is frequently used but not always fully understood. Common questions consumers might ask are – What is full HD TV? Are all 3D TVs – full HD 3D capable? And what do you need for a full HD 3D TV setup?
To set about explaining this you first need to know that there are two types of 3D TV technology commonly used in home 3D TVs and they are called – passive 3D TV technology and active 3D TV technology. There are many differences between the two technologies, of which the main difference is the resolutions of the 3D images produced on screen.
The thing that the average person might find confusing is this – if both types of 3D TV technology utilize a full HD display (also known as 1080p), then surely they are both full HD 3D TV capable? Well the answer is no, both do NOT produce full HD 3D. This is because of the way that the display is used to produce the 3D effects. Both passive and active 3D TV involves producing separate images for the left and right eyes, however this is where they do things differently.
First you need to understand that when displaying content, all TVs display many images per second (each image is called a ‘frame’). Each frame is made up of many horizontal rows of tiny dots or pixels. For full HD TV there are 1080 horizontal rows of pixels per frame (hence the term 1080p).
Passive 3D TV uses a single frame to display both the left and right images at the same time. Within each frame, alternate lines are used the left and right images, or to put it another way the odd lines display the left image and the even lines contain the right images.
Active 3D TV uses sequential frames to display left and right images. So, one whole frame displays the left sided image and the next whole frame displays the right sided images. Two frames a re required to display the left and right sides.
In both of the above methods, the user must wear 3D glasses which separate the left and right images to only be visible to the viewer’s corresponding eye. Because passive 3D TV splits a single full HD frame between both eyes, the resolution is in effect being halved. And because active 3D TV uses two whole full HD TV frames, the full 1080 resolution is visible by both eyes and hence the full HD 3D TV experienced is achieved.
However, in order to actually view full HD 1080p 3D TV, as well as buying a full HD 3D TV set, you are going to need some 3D content to play on your TV. To do this you are going to need a 3D enabled Blu-ray disc player and some Blu-ray 3D discs. There is now quite a lot of cable and satellite channel providers who provide 3D content, however these won’t be broadcast in full HD 3D, they well be in lower resolutions because the bandwidth requirements for 1080p 3D are too high.
Out of the major 3D TV manufacturers, who use passive 3D and who uses active 3D? Well at this point in time only LG and Philips use passive 3D TV, all other brands of 3D TVs use active 3D TV. Panasonic Full HD 3D TV and Samsung Full HD 3D TV are two of the best known brands who you are likely to have seen marketing their TVs in reference to this subject.
However, if you think that the higher resolutions of full HD 3D TVs make them an automatic choice over the lower 3D resolutions of passive 3D TVs then think again. The resolution is only a small part of the equation, to full understand the difference see this guide – active 3D Vs passive 3D review. Because whilst full HD TV is superior in terms of it’s resolution, passive 3D TVs have their own benefits too.