Here are a few FAQs for 3D video as it applies to home theater (not just limited to video games and other computer graphics) that may help you understand why existng 2D HDTVs are not compatible with the new 3D video technology being introduced in 2010.
- How is the 3D effect created?
Separate images are displayed intended for viewing by the right and left eyes. In a movie theater the right and left images typically are projected with different polarization of the light and the audience must wear glasses with polarized lens to allow the correct stream of images to reach the intended eye
- What's different with this 3D technology as compared to previously consumer 3D solutions that used glasses with colored lens?
- Anaglyph images viewed with glasses using colored lens first became popular to the 1950's and is an inexpensive method to display 3D content with existing TV and video sources (all DVD, Blu-ray and broadcasts that are in 3D up until now have used the anaglyph technology for creating the 3D effect). However, it produces poor results when trying to view video in color and is subject to "crosstalk" between the images intended for the right an left eyes. The new 3D technology being introduced for home theater in 2010 is expected to provide results on a par with what you will see in your local digital cinema with feature films such as Avatar. Depending on the type of display used, there are two different technologies that may be used to separate he images intended for the right and left eyes. With either of the following alternative technologies, the full color content of the original video program remains unaltered, however the displayed image will appear to not be as bright as when viewing standard 2D television program on that same HDTV. Note these are alternative display technologies and do not directly relate to how the 3D video source (i.e., Blu-ray 3D player, Directv receiver, cable TV box) will output the 3D video information.
- Sequential imaging will alternate the right and left images on the HDTV's screen with each the right and left image stream displaying (at least) 60 images per seconds - 60 Hz (i.e., 120 images per second total are being displayed counting both the right and left image streams). The viewer must wear special LCD shutter glasses* that will allow only the images intended for the specific eye to the visible to that eye. The image stream for each eye needs to be diaplayed with a refreash rate of at least 60 Hz otherwise most viewers will see flicker in the displayed video.
*Note: Although not as common an approach, it is possible to also use sequential imaging with polarized light techology by baving the display device switch the polarization for alternating video frames and thus allowing polarized lens glasses to be used by the viewer.
- The light from the display (e.g., projector) will be polarized different for the right vs. left images and the viewer will wear simple glasses with polarized lens. Typically both the right and left images are displayed at the same time.
- Can I use my current HDTV for displaying the new 3D movies?
- Generally you will need a new generation of HDTV display that has additional features required to support 3D. The recently approved alternative formats for Blu-ray and broadcast 3D (as defined in the HDMI 1.4a specification) requires the 3D capable HDTV to decode the new information then process this video to put it into a format appropriate for that specific display. No current HDTV is compatiable with any of the new 3D formats. The only current HDTVs that may be "upgradable" for use the new 3D technology are recent models of DLP rear projection HDTVs manufactured by Mitsubishi and Samsung. Even with these existing "3D ready" models the manufacturer will need to offer an adapter box, for use with these specific HDTV models, that will take the 3D signal from the source device (e.g, Blu-ray 3D player) and apply video processing to put the 3D video into a different format that is compatible with that projection HDTV. Mitsubishi has announced plans to offer such an 3D adapter box. ------ Even if you have computer display with will accept an input of 1080p at 120Hz, that is compatible with 3D video games and computer graphics, these displays will not be directly compatible with the new 3D video sources for Blu-ray 3D and 3D broadcast video. Most such displays work by either requiring the input to be in the format of alternating right and left image frames (or right and left fields in a 1080i mode). Each 3D source device is only required to support one of the allowed (by the HDMI 1.4a spec.) 3D formats (i.e., the one that is most appropriate for that source). These exisint computer displays are simply not compatible with the 3D formats declared as "mandatory" by the HDMI 1.4a spec. for compatible 3D displays. Specially, such displays would require an external video processor box to accept any of the mandatory 3D formats as the input and the convert these to a format compatible with the specific display device. No such converter boxes have been announced yet.
- Can I use my current Blu-ray Disc (BD) player to play future 3D movies released on Blu-ray?
- The only existing Blu-ray Disc player expected to upgradable to support 3D is the Sony Playstation 3 (Sony has announced a planned upgrade to the PS3's firmware). Existing stand-alone BD players will play back the new 3D discs as standard 2D titles. Thus movies released as 3D titles on Blu-ray will be backward compatible with existing players, but a new player will be required to output the video in 3D. Several consumer electronics manufacturers are introducing 3D enabled Blu-ray Disc players in 2010. Sony is already selling new 2010 models that are "3D ready" and will support Blu-ray 3D once a firmware updated is installed (i.e., update to be available in mid-2010).
- When will 3D enabled HDTV displays and Blu-ray Disc plays become available"
- The final specification of the 3D version for Blu-ray Discs was just completed in December 2009 and the HDMI 1.4a specification was just released (March 2010). The first of the new generation of 3D enabled Blu-ray Disc players and compatible HDTVs (flat panel and projectors) are expected to be making their way to dealers by mid-year 2010.