720p vs. UHD Showdown: Two 50-inch Budget Panels Compared - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 107 Old 08-24-2013, 07:21 AM - Thread Starter
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When it comes to flat panel picture quality, experts and critics agree that contrast ratio and deep blacks play a crucial role in creating a proper cinematic experience. The benefits of UHD resolution are less clear (pardon the pun), and are currently the subject of much debate. A comparison of two budget flat panels by CNET's Geoffrey Morrison shows the benefits of contrast ratio versus added resolution.


Image by CNET

The comparison pitted two low-priced 50" panels— Samsung's PN51F4500 720p 50" plasma , and Seiki's SE50UY04 50" UHD LCD—against each other. Morrison found superior contrast and deeper blacks, plus other factors like superior screen uniformity and motion resolution, allowed the 720p plasma to outshine the UHD LCD, despite only having 1/8 the pixel count.


CNET's comparison shows the visual benefits of higher contrast

More surprisingly, the comparison found that the added resolution of the UHD panel had no effect at a normal viewing distance—in this case nine feet away from the screen. In fact, Morrison found that the 720p image from the plasma would sometimes look more detailed than the UHD Seiki. There are several reasons for this, such as motion resolution rendering, the quality of the UHD video scaling, as well as the limitations of human visual acuity.
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"With Sorkin's latest wordfart "The Newsroom," the Samsung's better contrast ratio made it the clear winner. The Seiki looked washed out and flat. Shadows and black objects looked gray. The Samsung looked more real. There was very little difference in apparent detail. As I've mentioned before, but it bears repeating, I have 20/15 vision. This is better than the normal visual acuity of 20/20." - Geoffrey Morrison, CNET

The comparison ends with a nod to OLED and the picture-quality potential it possesses. I know many AVS members are patiently waiting for the day when UHD OLED is affordable. Until that day arrives, plasma panels remain an economical way to achieve superior image quality in a home theater.
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"The real takeaway from this? If you sit close enough, or your screen is big enough, 4K is incredible. But for everyone else, contrast is still way more important. Which is one of the biggest reasons I'm so excited for OLED." Geoffrey Morrison, CNET

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post #2 of 107 Old 08-24-2013, 07:58 AM
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Morrison has been an outspoken critic of 4K TV's (he's fine with large screen projection), and this story just goes to support his previously stated position. Although I was not there for the "testing," I suspect the poorly contrasted panel on the right is setup to prove his point. I doubt even the Seiki (the cheapest of the UHD's) looks that bad, and I know for certain the Sony's do not. You can't hide cranking up the brightness, especially in dark scenes, the bright's get ridiculously bright, which is obvious in the photo, and light Gray? Really?? Sorry Geoff, I'm not buying it.

(BTW, not arguing with all of the comments, some of which I agree, but this just looks too "staged".........and my apologies if I'm wrong.)



Jim
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post #3 of 107 Old 08-24-2013, 08:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JlgLaw View Post

Morrison has been an outspoken critic of 4K TV's (he's fine with large screen projection), and this story just goes to support his previously stated position. Although I was not there for the "testing," I suspect the poorly contrasted panel on the right is setup to prove his point. I doubt even the Seiki (the cheapest of the UHD's) looks that bad, and I know for certain the Sony's do not. You can't hide cranking up the brightness, especially in dark scenes, the bright's get ridiculously bright, which is obvious in the photo, and light Gray? Really?? Sorry Geoff, I'm not buying it.

(BTW, not arguing with all of the comments, some of which I agree, but this just looks too "staged".........and my apologies if I'm wrong.)

Jim

You're really having a hard time believing a TV manufactured by Seiki and sold with an attention grabbing feature (4k) for a supposedly bargain price is not, actually, a very good display? Really?

...Really??

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post #4 of 107 Old 08-24-2013, 08:16 AM
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I am not aware of his previous statements on OLED so I cannot judge there, but having seen the way some low end LED and LCD displays handle blacks I wouldn't be a bit surprised if they were grey. My sister has a 42 inch Sammy and the black boxes on movies are grey...


Its really bad during night scenes, almost unwatchable.

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post #5 of 107 Old 08-24-2013, 08:56 AM
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My stepfather had a40 inch seiki and it I could not get the black crush out. Was horrible. And no HDMI CEC... unheard of in this day and age. TV was sold btw
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post #6 of 107 Old 08-24-2013, 09:05 AM
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After seeing the ST60 at Best Buy nothing would surprise me in terms of plasma PQ superiority. I spent 50% more for an LCD with lots of bells and whistles but for DVD watching in a controlled lighting environment the plasmas absolutely rule.
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post #7 of 107 Old 08-24-2013, 10:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sage11x View Post

You're really having a hard time believing a TV manufactured by Seiki and sold with an attention grabbing feature (4k) for a supposedly bargain price is not, actually, a very good display? Really?

...Really??



Where did I say that in my post? I was being kind by referring to it as the cheapest UHD currently available, and what I'm referring to in particular is the overly bright lights in the Seiki image. This, to me, judging only by the image presented, is an indication that brightness, and/or contrast, is not properly setup. Besides, you help make my point, if you really wanted to be fair in an image comparison between a 720p display and a 4K display, why not select one of the better 4K displays?

Was there any new information presented that hasn't already been discussed in a dozen threads at AVS? Did you "really" find that comparison helpful? Really??

Really????




Jim
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post #8 of 107 Old 08-24-2013, 10:08 AM
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I wish films were made in two flavors. Immersive (~60° HFOV) and Classic (~30° HFOV, Immersive cropped). Many say they can't really appreciate 2160p for what it is (because viewing distance is related to recommended FOV and recommended FOV is related to the way film is made).
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post #9 of 107 Old 08-24-2013, 10:45 AM
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Seiki 50" 4K issues and good points:
The Seiki Panel is BLACK - just like the Bezel - good point - matched my LG 55LHX Blacks with Local Dimming and it did not! Off to a good start - Next, Off Angle viewing was better than my LHX, and with No Blooming! Next good point - Final Good Point - End Credits were far better than on my LHX - then things went downhill from here!
This set CANNOT have the Brightness set over 48, nor the Backlit over 60. Turns on a backlight composed of Reds and Dark Blues, and negates the Great Blacks.
Cyan goes Off the Chart!
Reds and Greens are Florescent, with a Blue pervading over everything.
Calibrating with the iScan Duo - All the above are Corrected! Problem - now No 4K! (Maybe with a Radiance 4K VQ, things maybe different?)
The killer, that CAN'T be corrected, Seiki fails the Spears and Munsil 2 Blu-ray Video Processing Motion tests. (MY 55LHX was far better in these tests.)
Bought it, figured out the issues, then returned as being an overly expensive 50" 1080P set.
Maybe those using as a monitor have been happy, but for gamers, and the set failing the Motion tests, I don't know?
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post #10 of 107 Old 08-24-2013, 01:19 PM
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Seiki IS REALLY THAT BAD. I've seen it, I've calibrated it, I'd rather not own a TV at all than having that junk in my house.
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post #11 of 107 Old 08-24-2013, 01:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JlgLaw View Post

Where did I say that in my post? I was being kind by referring to it as the cheapest UHD currently available, and what I'm referring to in particular is the overly bright lights in the Seiki image. This, to me, judging only by the image presented, is an indication that brightness, and/or contrast, is not properly setup. Besides, you help make my point, if you really wanted to be fair in an image comparison between a 720p display and a 4K display, why not select one of the better 4K displays?

Was there any new information presented that hasn't already been discussed in a dozen threads at AVS? Did you "really" find that comparison helpful? Really??

Really????




Jim

Buddy, you're missing the entire point. The point made in the original post is that you're better off putting your money into a cheap 720p set with better contrast/color than a cheap 4k set with piss poor contrast/color for *most viewing environments. This is the age old argument that resolution is not the number one factor when determining picture quality. Unfortunately, for most buyers who don't spend their free time surfing av forums, buzzwords like '4k' and slogans promising '4 times the resolution' would indicate that the Seiki produces a better picture-- and, thus, represents a better value-- than a price competing plasma display which, while having a much lower resolution, produces a better picture by virtue of it's superior color and contrast.

In other words: the Seiki is a cheap set sold for a cheap price with the explicit purpose of suckering in those naive enough to fall for the 4k hype not realizing they're purchasing a set with inferior picture to a bottom-rung, bargain plasma.

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post #12 of 107 Old 08-24-2013, 02:14 PM
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The big statement in the Cnet article is that at 9 feet you can't see any difference between 720 and UHD with that size panel.
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post #13 of 107 Old 08-24-2013, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by comfynumb View Post

The big statement in the Cnet article is that at 9 feet you can't see any difference between 720 and UHD with that size panel.
1.26 arcminutes for PN51F4500, 0.36 for SE50UY04. Anyone can test at home. Pixelation Pixel grid shouldn't really be seen on either one as both are well bellow 2 arcmin. Aliasing and difference in general sharpness (with proper source and contrast) should be visible.
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post #14 of 107 Old 08-24-2013, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Randomoneh View Post

1.26 arcminutes for PN51F4500, 0.36 for SE50UY04. Anyone can test at home. Pixelation shouldn't really be seen on either one as both are well bellow 2 arcmin.



I always thought I could see a difference between a 720 panel and a 1080 panel. Maybe it's all in my mind smile.gif
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post #15 of 107 Old 08-24-2013, 03:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by comfynumb View Post

The big statement in the Cnet article is that at 9 feet you can't see any difference between 720 and UHD with that size panel.

I don't think they're saying that. I think what they're saying is that at 9 feet the difference in resolution is negligible while the differences in other areas of picture quality where the Seiki obviously comes up short is quite substantial.

I don't see the article as an indictment of 4k as much as it's an indictment of the Seiki 4k (and others that might hinge a sale on 'affordable 4k'). This same argument was made years ago when no-name LCD manufacturers flooded the market with cheap, poor quality 1080p sets which were subsequently gobbled up by an ignorant consumer base misled into thinking resolution was the number 1 factor of quality to consider when purchasing a new set. 1080p sets from recognized names were comparably pricey and while the 720p lcd/plasma sets from these makes were priced more competitively and had superior color/contrast/motion/features they were dismissed by many for being 'NOT 1080p'.

Look, this is not an argument about which is better: 4k or 1080p or 720p. All things being equal: 4k is better than 1080p just as 1080p is better than 720p. What the argument IS saying is that all things ARE NOT EQUAL when you're considering a half-assed panel from a no-name manufacturer which was produced solely for the purpose of capitalizing on a buzzword feature: 4k.

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post #16 of 107 Old 08-24-2013, 04:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sage11x View Post

I don't think they're saying that. I think what they're saying is that at 9 feet the difference in resolution is negligible while the differences in other areas of picture quality where the Seiki obviously comes up short is quite substantial.

I don't see the article as an indictment of 4k as much as it's an indictment of the Seiki 4k (and others that might hinge a sale on 'affordable 4k'). This same argument was made years ago when no-name LCD manufacturers flooded the market with cheap, poor quality 1080p sets which were subsequently gobbled up by an ignorant consumer base misled into thinking resolution was the number 1 factor of quality to consider when purchasing a new set. 1080p sets from recognized names were comparably pricey and while the 720p lcd/plasma sets from these makes were priced more competitively and had superior color/contrast/motion/features they were dismissed by many for being 'NOT 1080p'.



Pretty much they said you can't see the difference. I'm sure this would not be the case had they pitted the 720 panel against a good UHD panel. I'm beginning to realize the Seiki is just not a good panel.
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post #17 of 107 Old 08-24-2013, 04:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by comfynumb View Post

Pretty much they said you can't see the difference. I'm sure this would not be the case had they pitted the 720 panel against a good UHD panel. I'm beginning to realize the Seiki is just not a good panel.

Of course it's not a good panel! Lol! When normally sensible, informed consumers on AV enthusiast sites begin to doubt that fact you have to wonder how Joe Sixpack feels! And THAT, I think, is the real point of the cnet article: if it sounds too good to be true...

However, I DO have a car you might be interested in: it's a classic, engine's in the rear, AIR COOLED, rear wheel drive, GERMAN... Just like a Porsche!



...(Legally I have to disclose it is not a Porsche BUT it was designed by many of the same people!) wink.gif

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post #18 of 107 Old 08-24-2013, 04:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sage11x View Post

Of course it's not a good panel! Lol! When normally sensible, informed consumers on AV enthusiast sites begin to doubt that fact you have to wonder how Joe Sixpack feels! And THAT, I think, is the real point of the cnet article: if it sounds too good to be true...

However, I DO have a car you might be interested in: it's a classic, engine's in the rear, AIR COOLED, rear wheel drive, GERMAN... Just like a Porsche!



...(Legally I have to disclose it is not a Porsche BUT it was designed by many of the same people!) wink.gif



I get your meaning and I'm assuming the "car" is a VW smile.gif
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post #19 of 107 Old 08-24-2013, 06:32 PM
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The Seiki Panel was an excellent Panel! You want Blacks, you got Blacks. (And, without Local Dimming!) Once I caught onto it's idiosyncrisies and using the iScan Duo to straighten out it's issues, I would have loved to have replaced my 55LHX with it. But, to use the 4K, I had to use my Sony 790 to do the upconverting, and that meant bypassing the Duo and going straight to the Panel, putting me back into the Colour issues. The 4K had more definition, but whomever designed the electronics to go with the panel, screwed up the overall performance. As previously mentioned, would have loved to have seen what the Radiance 4K VQ could have done with the unit. (Reading the specs on the actual panel, it is a 3D Panel.) Were the Motion issues the Panel, or again the screwed up electronics? Would have been an interesting to have played with it where it to have a proper set of electronics behind it. As it was in my case, could only use the Duo to tame the beast, thusly making it an Expensive 50" 1080P TV! With proper electronics, it may have blown the 720P away! (My Yamaha 673 Upconverting didn't help much, except to make it worse!)
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post #20 of 107 Old 08-24-2013, 08:28 PM
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comparing to a seiki tv. really!
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post #21 of 107 Old 08-25-2013, 01:47 AM
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Interesting imagic thanks for posting this.

I agree this will be the case for some displays. I remember the quality of a 50" 720p 8G Kuro looking far more detailed than a 1080P LCD for (everything) except (perhaps) 'digital stills'.

But even then if the digital stills were dark, or nearing black then the 720p plasma still won the day imo.

In other words anything with even the slightest of motion, the "lower" res plasma hammered the 1080P full HD without even trying.

It comes down as always to the most basic of reasons for image quality...

Dynamic range,

Colour saturation (red reds),

Colour accuracy (skin tones),

Motion resolution (plasmas smile.gif,

Display resolution comes last on the list.

But another thing we realistically need to take into account is that the human eye with regard to distance resolution, after all as the old saying goes, what's the difference between 720p and 1080P - two metres apparently - so that's another thing to take into account.

With the sheer quality of panel on my KRP500 - on HD and especially 1080P - i need to be sitting closer than a foot to notice the pixels however.
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post #22 of 107 Old 08-25-2013, 02:14 AM
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I have a question though. I am a rational person who really likes to see things in numbers and "proof". If, medically, anatomically, scientifically, the eye is simply not capable of seeing the difference between pixels at the average viewing distance, and you have a regular sized 4k display, how do you explain why it would be better because of the higher resolution alone? Not because the difference in resolution is distinguisable, medical science tells us thats not possible. I am an optician, I am not a medical doctor in any way, but I do understand why and how the eye is able to see resolution, and what happens if you are too far away to distinguis different pixels.

Sorry for my english
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post #23 of 107 Old 08-25-2013, 03:08 AM
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But how far away is too far away ?.

I am in the top few percent for eyesight (20/10) and i am 34.

I think it will be far too dependent on person to person
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post #24 of 107 Old 08-25-2013, 04:04 AM
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So,the message is to not buy a TV solely because it can display 4k pixels. You should look at it and make sure the image looks good. Got it.
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post #25 of 107 Old 08-25-2013, 04:20 AM
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It really sounds like we are splitting hairs when it comes to resolution. I haven't seen a UHD panel yet but it sounds like there's not much difference between HD and UHD unless we sit 6 feet away. That's too close for me. I mean for the money they want for these panels (Seiki) excluded) I want to see a big difference. So it's going to cost us multiple thousands of dollars for a technology that we may or may not see depending on if we sit close enough? That's like upgrading my speakers and not benefiting unless I sit right on top of them. I'll have to take a trip to BB and see for myself but the more I know about this the more it wants to make me stick with 1080.
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post #26 of 107 Old 08-25-2013, 05:02 AM
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I think U-HD will be best for digital stills/photographers. Not by a great deal but better than 1080P nonetheless.

But again... It comes down to individual perception and sitting distance. But of course individual display key abilities - ANSI - and source/display processing abilities along with colour accuracy.

But U-HD is really getting into the upper limits of what the human eye can already distinguish. To me as it is - looking at some supreme 1080P blu-ray' transfers - the mind boggles at the (already) more than life like amounts of details/textures of peoples faces etc. In fact if i compare it to someone standing in front of me in the real world - it's practically indistinguishable.

How much more do we need.

Detail and colour are only going to be getting better and more apparent for these 1080P displays with these mastered in 4K 1080P blu-ray's becoming more common nowadays.

I will love an U-HD OLED display eventually (55") would be perfect for me... But only in four or five years and a few generations in when some of the inevitable early tech flaws are ironed out.

And it becomes cheaper with lots of genuine 4K to watch - perhaps mastered in 8K lol.

Plenty time yet to worry about all that.
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post #27 of 107 Old 08-25-2013, 05:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu03 View Post

I think U-HD will be best for digital stills/photographers. Not by a great deal but better than 1080P nonetheless.

But again... It comes down to individual perception and sitting distance. But of course individual display key abilities - ANSI - and source/display processing abilities along with colour accuracy.

But U-HD is really getting into the upper limits of what the human eye can already distinguish. To me as it is - looking at some supreme 1080P blu-ray' transfers - the mind boggles at the (already) more than life like amounts of details/textures of peoples faces etc. In fact if i compare it to someone standing in front of me in the real world - it's practically indistinguishable.

How much more do we need.

Detail and colour are only going to be getting better and more apparent for these 1080P displays with these mastered in 4K 1080P blu-ray's becoming more common nowadays.

I will love an U-HD OLED display eventually (55") would be perfect for me... But only in four or five years and a few generations in when some of the inevitable early tech flaws are ironed out.

And it becomes cheaper with lots of genuine 4K to watch - perhaps mastered in 8K lol.

Plenty time yet to worry about all that.



I have to agree with your point about 1080 BD's. I'm really enjoying them on my 42" 1080 panel and the DTS MA is nothing short of taking through my recent upgrades. I really want a bigger panel and probably in the 55" to 60" range like you, but I don't know if I'll go for UHD or 1080. I'll wait it out at least a year and hopefully the prices come down and the content increases, 4 or 5 grand is just too much for a panel that size. But I am going to look this week at BB and see for myself.
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post #28 of 107 Old 08-25-2013, 05:44 AM
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Here's a question for those that have a 3D panel. Is 6-8' too close to view 3D? If it is, then can UHD 3D be of any benefit? I don't have a 3D panel but the glasses less technology about too come out really interests me.
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post #29 of 107 Old 08-25-2013, 06:14 AM
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The difference in vision you describe here is not nearly enough to account for a difference between persons, maybe half a foot viewing distance, not more.
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post #30 of 107 Old 08-25-2013, 06:21 AM
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Those wanting Passive 3D, and wanting the full 1080P per side, then the only answer is to have a 4K TV. (Unless the glassless 3D TVs get perfected and you don't need the glasses anymore.)
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