Will new passive 3D TVs help the technology catch on at home?

Posted 09 February 2011 00:00 CET by Justin_Massoud

3D is the next big thing for home entertainment. Or at least that’s what 3D TV manufacturers and countless blogs want you to believe. The truth is, the new technology (based on old technology) is struggling to catch on. Chalk it up to the persistent economic crisis, consumer ambivalence and those damn clunky glasses. Oh, and the high cost of entry – let’s not forget about that.

Vizio, LG and Toshiba are three companies lining up a few less sticker shock-inducing alternatives. But will consumers bite?

“Passive 3D” is essentially the cheaper solution for home 3D TVs, using movie theater-style glasses as opposed to the pricier active shutter home models. ConsumerReports.org’s Electronic Blog went hands-on with one such passive set this week: the VT3D650SV – Vizio’s new 65-inch behemoth. Now, “cheaper” here is likely nowhere near what most would expect or hope for; Vizio’s first foray into passive 3D runs $3,700.

When tested against a standard plasma 3D TV – Panasonic’s $4,300 TC-P65VT25 – the site reports mixed results.

While the technology diminished ‘ghosting’ to the point of being negligible, ConsumerReports bemoaned the one hurdle passive 3D will not be able to clear: a marked difference in how it conveys 3D images.

“Passive TVs use a different 3D technology than the current active 3D sets already on the market,” explains the site. “Unlike those sets, which use active glasses with shutters that open and close very rapidly to provide each eye its own view, passive TVs use a polarizing film on the TV screen itself, which divides the picture into alternating lines, much like the interlaced images we used to get on older tube TVs.”

What does that mean for casual viewers? More jagged edges, a narrow viewing range and lower resolution. Ultimately, the site concludes, the issues may either be “subtle or bothersome” depending on the person watching and the source material.

Do you own a 3D TV? Plan on buying one soon? Share your thoughts on the technology in the comments.


Related content