3D. It has gotten a bit of a bad rap this year. After the huge success of Avatar in theatres, everyone thought the 3D revolution would really take off, but it didn’t. In the theatres, part of the problem was the rush by Hollywood to convert any and every movie, even if it wasn’t designed for it, into 3D, which led to some pretty poor viewing experiences. On the home-theatre side, I think one of the reasons why 3D TV adoption rates haven’t been that high has to do with some of the limitations of the technology that the first generation of 3D TVs use.
The way that our vision works in real life is that each of our eyes see from a slightly different perspective, and our brain combines these two images into a three dimensional representation. All 3D movies and TVs do basically the same thing – they show two images from slightly different angles that, when viewed through 3D glasses, are combined in the brain to create a 3D image. However the way that this is done in the movie theatre and how it is done on most 3D TVs is different.
The first generation of 3D TVs use active shutter glasses 3D, which rely on powered, expensive glasses that are synchronized with the TV, to alternately flash images to your left and right eye, to create the 3D effect. While this technology is effective, it also produces a perceptible flicker effect. In addition to their cost, the glasses are heavy and uncomfortable to wear for extended periods, and not interchangeable between different TV brands. In contrast, 3D in the movie theatre use cheap, disposable, lightweight, passive-polarized glasses that work in conjunction with 3D projection technology. I am sure many people looking at 3D TVs have wondered why the same technology isn’t available in the home. Well, now it is.
LG’s new Cinema 3D TVs use LG’s Film Patterned Retarder (FPR) technology. While it doesn’t work exactly as it does in the theatres, FPR 3D does use the same inexpensive passive 3D glasses, and instead, there is a polarized film on the TV’s screen, that separates the left and right images for the brain to combine into a 3D impression. On the LG FRP information site here, there are four main benefits of this 3D technology over active glasses TVs listed. The images are flicker-free and brighter, since both eyes receive all the light from the TV rather that some of it being lost to the shutter effect. The glasses are more comfortable, less expensive, and don’t require charging since they are unpowered. There is less chance of ‘crosstalk’, blurring of the 3D image that can happen with shutter glasses 3D TVs.
In addition to these four benefits, LG’s Cinema 3D also has much better 3D-viewing angles, so more people can enjoy the 3D experience no matter where they are sitting in relation to the TV. With other 3D TV technology, you really need to be sitting directly in front of the TV, so for most families it will be the size of their couch that will determine how many people can enjoy 3D.
Now that you have gone through 3D TV 101, you probably want to know which TVs you can buy today that use Cinema 3D technology. The LG LW5600 and LW5700 models both use Cinema 3D, and the best model that Future Shop currently carries is the 55” 55LW5600 model.
In addition to the Cinema 3D technology, this model is also a top-of-the-range TV in every other aspect. It has LG’s 2D-3D conversion feature, which can turn any 2D content, be it TV shows, movies, or games, into 3D (of course if the content wasn’t made for 3D originally, the effect will be a lot subtler than “true” 3D content). It is also an LG Smart TV, which can be hooked up to the internet to watch online content like Netflix, or locally stored digital content, such as movies you have downloaded. You can learn more about LG’s Smart TV here. Lastly, what good would all this amazing technology be if it wasn’t built into a super-thin, local-dimming LED backlit, 120 Hz display?
If 55” is a little too big for you, the LW5600 series is also available in 47” and 42” models.
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