HD Content via 3D TV: An Inconvenient Truth

by Phil Conner

While we fully endorse the adoption and supply of 3-D content into the home theater marketplace there are some truths that need to be realized. One might give you a shocking surprise: Not all 3D content will be available for your viewing pleasure in full HD 1080p. Why? Where is the limitation? It lies with the TV itself.

Not all 3D TVs will
show 1080p to each eye

We estimate that 70 to 80% of 3-D TVs supplied to the marketplace in 2010 will display your full HD 3D content in less than full HD. Tests and technical specifications prove that most LCD TVs will show 3D content in 600 to 800 lines of resolution, and while this is still great resolution it's still several tracks short of the depot. A typical 120Hz rate capable LCD TV will show 3D HD content in about 640 lines of resolution, while a 240Hz rate capable LCD TV will show 3D HD content in about 800 lines of resolution. The problem lies with interpolation and refresh rate speed combined.

One 240Hz LCD for 2010 is the Sony HX series which has an enhanced technology to enable the processor to interpolate every pixel and display 3D content in full 1080p.

Another exception is plasma 3D enabled TVs. Plasma technology has very fast processing speed equivalent to about 600Hz refresh rate or more. We believe that most, if not all plasma TVs will display 3D content in full HD. The Panasonic 3D plasma TVs we tested at CES 2010 displayed 3D in 1080p.

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