How Does A 3D TV Work?

[Guest Post]


The TV has come a long, long way since it made its first appearance. Big bulky boxes have become sleek new panels. Grainy black and white pictures are now crystal clear and vibrant in colors; you can even hear grass rusting in the wind. LCD, KLED, HD, Plasma... just when you thought that it had reached the pinnacle, in comes 3D TV: The latest kid on the block. Watching 3D at home seems so amazing. So how does it work?

You need to have 3D capable TV sets and the glasses to view 3D channels that many cable and satellite providers air. If you want to rent 3D DVDs, you will also need a 3D capable blu-ray player.

We get to see the depth of an object (or get 3D vision) when the vision form both our eyes merge. When we see the same objects on TV, we see them flat. Let’s see how 3D technology gets around this conundrum. To put in short, the TV needs to refresh the picture at least 120 times in one second. It also needs to present alternating frames for the left and right eyes. The brain is tricked into thinking that there is only one image, and it gives the illusion of depth.

How we see

It’s the light reflected off the objects that’s interpreted and used by the brain to create its image. When the object is at a distance, the light travelling to both eyes is parallel; the light starts converging as the object comes nearer and our eyes too, shift to make up. While focusing, the brain estimates how far the object is by looking at the eye convergence: the more the convergence, the nearer the object.

So in 3D technology, both eyes are shown the same image, but at two separate locations. This tricks your brain into convincing you the object has depth. Your eyes seemingly come together on an object right in front but in reality you’re focusing on the screen far away.


3D technology is incomplete without the glasses. There are

a) Passive glasses

b) Active glasses.

Passive glasses use anaglyph lenses (two different colored lenses) show one image to your left eye and another for your right simultaneously. The filtered lens in the glasses ensures that the right eye sees the right image. The not-so wow factor with passive glasses is that you don’t usually get a full HD picture, because with two images being shown, the resolution has to be halved. Active 3D glasses have shutters that display an image to each eye in rapid succession, in sync with the images displayed on the screen. This also ensures the each eye sees exactly what it is meant to see. Picture quality is better with active glasses.

The TV

Your TV of course needs to be 3D ready. The TV needs a way of communicating with your glasses. It needs what is called a stereoscopic sync signal connector; one end goes into your TV port and the other to an IR remitter. This sends signals to your active glasses. You could also plug your TV to your computer with an HDMI cable and stream 3D onto it. Currently Panasonic, Samsung and Sony are some of the top companies striving to bring 3D entertainment to your living room.

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