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The future of 3D TV: no need for glasses?
Home entertainment is evolving further and further, especially 3D TV. We believe in the future of 3D TV without glasses, so our website is going to present news about the young market every week from now. What do we have to expect?
By: Dominic Zijlstra
How far we are:
Home entertainment in three dimensions has now been around for a while. All mayor brands in electronics offer a series of 3D TV's, which nowadays almost without exception have a great picture and, with all 3D Hollywood productions being released on Blu-ray, also have no shortage of 3D content. However, current models all have something in common: they require the viewer to wear glasses.
This is due to the two leading technologies currently used for producing 3D images. The first one is active 3D, for which you need active liquid crystal shutter glasses. This is because the TV alternately shows the picture meant to be seen by the right eye and then a slightly different picture for the left eye. The shutter glasses then block the left eye when the picture for the right eye is send and vice versa, at the exact same frequency with which your TV sends those pictures. These two pictures are then combined by your brain, fooling you into thinking you just saw something three dimensional.
The second technique used is called, as you might have expected, passive 3D. It does not require shutter glasses, but you need to wear polarized 3D glasses. The principle is the same, but with this technology your TV sends the picture for the right eye with a different polarization than the picture for the left eye. This means that special properties of light waves are used to distinguish between the to pictures. Your glasses contain so called polarizing filters, which let only the rightly polarized picture through, thus making the left and right eye see slightly different pictures.
The reason this technology is called passive, as opposed to active, is that the shutter glasses do not actively have to change to let through the right picture.
However, recent survey showed that a lot of users do not want to wear glasses to watch in 3D, because they find them uncomfortable, they get head-aches or it annoys them they have to buy extra glasses if they want to watch a movie with some friends or family. Luckily, the companies producing 3D TV's also recognized these problems and are now developing 3D technologies without the need for glasses.
They have developed two technologies called Parallax Barrier and Lenticular Lens Technology. Here, the blocking of the pictures for one of the eyes is done by the TV rather than by glasses. The TV contains a special layer which blocks a tiny amount of each pixel, so you see different pictures from different viewing angles. But since these viewing angles are rather specific, this technology functions best for smaller screens. Nintendo used this technology in the Nintendo 3DS, their newest gaming handheld. In the home entertainment section, Toshiba are currently the leading brand in this field, already having released two TV's using this technology, and certainly more to come.
Current drawbacks however are the limited size of the devices and the 3D effect not being as spectacular as with glasses.
If you want to read the latest news about the future of 3D TV or information about glasses-free 3D TV's visit our website at http://www.tv3dwithoutglasses.org/
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