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Best TV for 3D Picture Quality

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My brother is thinking about getting a Plasma 3D TV, and I was trying to tell him that it might not be the best idea since the theaters are so commonly using DLP.


I am guessing that he really wants to hang it on a wall. But if the quality of picture will suffer, I can imagine that he might think again.


Tony
 

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There is no "best type of display" when it comes to 3D. All the displays are good within their well-known limitations:


LCD (CCFL or LED) - motion not as good as plasma, viewing angle greatly affects contrast ratio (blacks get gray & whites get gray as you move farther off-center left-right or top-bottom), many models can get very bright, blacks are not particularly great but local dimming can help (edge lit LCDs w/LED backlights have SEVERE 'flashlighting' which means blacks are "uneven" being obviously gray in some areas and relatively black in other areas


Plasma - potentially the best 2D images (but I HATE the 2010 VT25 series Panasonic plasmas for 2D - they WAY overemphasize grain, they create grain & shimmering pixel artifacts in places they don't exist in movies, they have bad contouring problems in 96Hz mode, not quite so bad in 60Hz, and no contouring in 48Hz mode but 48Hz mode flickers so badly it is unwatchable. 96Hz mode also has visible flicker way too often and motion looks wrong. 60Hz mode has the least flicker, but 60Hz mode makes 3:2 pulldown FAR more obvious than it is with other displays (even Panasonic's 2009 models). And 3D mode's factory color temperature with Panasonic glasses is in the 13,000K range (far too blue) when it should be 6500K. Perhaps plasma's biggest limitation with 3D is that they don't get as bright as LCD panels. When you do 3D you lose a TON of light so a display that doesn't get particularly bright (and which limits how bright whites are based on how much white is on the screen at any time) may not be bright enough to make satisfying 3D images. The Panasonic plasma is borderline for 3D brightness - the room MUST be totally dark for acceptable 3D viewing.


DLP - so far, all use checkerboard 3D which provides only about 1/2 the resolution of plasma and LCD - and they are all rear-projection displays in the smallest cabinet footprint possible. They all have relatively severe geometric distortion that is partially corrected digitally, but that plays havoc with with reproduction of fine detail. And then there's the rear-projection screen... the screen texture tends to reduce perceived resolution and the geometric distortion adjustments also reduce perceived resolution so DLP images won't be as finely detailed as plasma or LCD. The rear projection screen lets room light inside the TV where the large mirror bounces it downward right into the optical path. So room light compromises visibility of RPTV images... you can use one in a family room, but it's not an ideal place for an RPTV.


Today, the main problem with 3D image quality is crosstalk or ghosting. That's 100% caused by the shutter glasses not getting dark enough when they block light to one eye or the other. The not-completely-opaque shutters allow images intended for the other eye to leak through. When that light leaks through, you see doubled/ghosted images on the screen. Glasses technology is expected to evolve faster than any other aspect of home 3D because current glasses were rushed to market with problems that could not be solved in the relatively short development cycle. Sony's first 3D glasses would not get nearly dark enough and there was severe ghosting. Panasonic's glasses shutters get a little darker, but were still not dark enough to eliminate ghosting. Toshiba's glasses get much darker than Sony's but still aren't perfect. Mitsubishi's (DLP) glasses were the best so far... every 3D movie I've had played back on the Mitsubishi with ZERO ghosting/crosstalk. But the geometric distortion was annoying, the picture was BARELY bright enough (73" screen) for 3D in total darkness, and it uses the (roughly) half-resolution checkerboard 3D format so you don't get 1080p for both eyes... it's something less than that... closer to 500p than to 1080p. Images still look surprisingly good for resolution that low - but the barely-bright-enough issue was probably the most obvious reminder that 3D was still not quite where I'd like it to be.


All that said, the things people are most underestimating about 3D are screen size and viewing distance. I viewed the 73" Mitsubishi from 8 feet and thought that was just about the right viewing distance for that size screen for the 3D to really "work" - it was the only 3D display so far that produced a sense of motion during flying sequences. All the other 3D displays I've used have been in the 50"-55" range. To get the same sense of motion during flying sequences, I have to sit about 4-5 feet from the panel. Getting the most out of 3D means large screen sizes are better, closer viewing distances are better (up to a point, of course, you CAN get too close... 5 feet from the 73" screen was much too close), and darker rooms and brighter displays are better.


Given the state of current 3D displays and 3D glasses, I can't recommend getting anything that's a "current model". As glasses get better and displays overcome their limitations better, 3D will get better.
 

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Doug,


Thanks for the details! Can you also describe what you mentioned at lunch the other day about the problem with both LCD 3D displays and the LCD shutter glasses having polarizers in them?


Best regards and beautiful pictures,

G. Alan Brown, President

CinemaQuest, Inc.

A Lion AV Consultants Affiliate


"Advancing the art and science of electronic imaging"
 
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