Everything 3D Guide — Explore the Wonder

Dec 20, 2011

Samsung 3D TV with effect representing 3D technology

When the first wave of 3D TVs hit the market in early 2010, it was another major milestone in television technology. If you’re considering a new TV, read on to learn how 3D TV technology works, see what you need to start watching and get answers to commonly asked questions.

Published: September 16, 2010

What it is

It’s a feature on a standard HDTV with the capability to display three-dimensional images from 3D content. Right now, alongside a growing catalogue of 3D Blu-ray movies, some 3D programming is available on cable and pay-per-view and new 3D films and shows are being made all the time. There are also entire 3D cable networks currently under development.

You can watch 2D on a 3D TV

3D TVs play conventional programming, just as any other TV would, and many of them come with a feature that converts 2D images to 3D. If you have a Samsung 3D TV, all you have to do is hit the “3D” button on the remote, put on your Samsung 3D Active Glasses, and enjoy 3D thrills from a 2D source.

How it Works

1. The lenses in a pair of active-shutter glasses switch between black and clear—first the left eye is blocked, then the right eye, then the left, and so on.

2. This occurs in sync with the TV, which is itself alternating left and right images at two slightly different angles.

3. It happens so quickly that the brain sees both angles at the same time, thus creating the perception of 3D, just like in real life.

Active 3D and Passive 3D

The two common types of 3D technology available for use at home are Active 3D and Passive 3D. Although there are many differences between Active 3D and Passive 3D technology, the primary one is the quality of the home 3D experience. Passive 3D technology uses glasses that cut 1080p resolution in half (540p) to each eye. Samsung Active 3D glasses deliver the Full 1080p HD experience to both eyes.

When viewing 3D content on a Passive 3D TV, it is not uncommon for faint black lines to appear horizontally from the top of the screen to the bottom or to lose 3D image quality at relatively short vertical angles. This does not occur with Samsung Active 3D technology. Samsung Active 3D technology consistently displays a 1080p HD experience to each eye and delivers a great 3D picture—even from angles of up to 178 degrees.

Watch and find out how 3D works

What You Need

1. A 3D-enabled TV or 3D-enabled Projector. You can find the 3D feature available in certain high-end LCD, LED, and plasma HDTVs. Many 3D TVs are top-of-the line models with impressive depth, high resolution, and rich, full colour whether you’re watching 3D or 2D.

2. A 3D-enabled Blu-ray disc player, HD-cable, or HD-satellite box. To play 3D Blu-ray discs, you’ll need a 3D-enabled Blu-ray player along with a high-speed HDMI cable for connecting your 3D TV to a 3D-ready Blu-ray player. In the case of your cable or satellite box, your current one may already work or you may need to check with your provider for an upgrade.

3. 3D Content. Currently, alongside a growing catalogue of 3D Blu-ray movies, some 3D programming is available on cable and pay-per-view. New 3D content is being created all the time—more and more films and shows are being shot and broadcast in 3D and entire 3D cable networks are in the works.

4. 3D Glasses. There’s no watching 3D without them. Two common types of 3D glasses available for home use are Active 3D and Passive 3D. Be sure to get the same brand of glasses as your TV—3D technology is proprietary to each manufacturer, so one company’s glasses will not be compatible with a different company’s TV.

Watch and find out what you need for 3D

Common Questions

Can I watch regular TV on my 3D TV?

Yes—3D TVs plays conventional programming, just as any other TV would, and are also equipped to provide a unique experience of the wealth of 3D content coming your way.

Do I always need to wear 3D glasses when watching TV?

No—the only time you’ll need to wear these special glasses is when you’re viewing 3D content. Otherwise, your TV can still play 2D movies and shows the same way you’re used to seeing them. Remember, there are two types of 3D glasses available—Active 3D and Passive 3D. Make sure you have the correct glasses for your 3D TV.

What does “3D-ready” mean?

The definition of "3D-ready" varies by manufacturer, but typically means that the TV can display 3D content. The easiest way to see if your TV is capable of displaying 3D content is to check the manufacturer's web site or feature materials.

The easiest way to see if your TV is 3D ready is to check for a “3D Sync Out” connection on the back panel.

What’s the difference between native 3D and virtual 3D?

Native 3D is content that was filmed using 3D cameras. Virtual 3D is content that was originally filmed in 2D, but is being converted to 3D format by your high-definition TV. There is a qualitative difference between the two.

How should I clean my 3D glasses?

The proper way to clean your 3D glasses is by doing it one side of each lens at a time. 3D glasses actually have two screens in each lens, so putting pressure on both sides at the same time squeezes the two lenses together, causing them to come in contact and distort 3D viewing. Use a microfiber cloth to clean one side first, then the other.
Avoid using any chemicals containing alcohol, solvents, or surfactant, or chemicals such as wax, benzene, thinner, or lubricant. These may result in discoloration or cracks on the lens surface. Also, you should never spray cleaning fluid directly onto the glasses—spray onto the cloth instead.