Passive 3D glasses for active TVs get green light

RealD plus Full HD = win
RealD plus Full HD = win

RealD has announced that it is teaming up with Samsung to licence new technology that allows passive 3D glasses to be used with active shutter technology.

This potentially game-changing move will mean that consumers will be able to watch 3D while wearing the dirt-cheap passive RealD glasses, but with no actual degeneration of HD picture quality.

Currently LG is the one pushing passive 3D technology with its Cinema 3D television range. This also uses RealD technology but due to the screens being passive, the quality of the picture is essentially halved.

3D game changer?

For the new passive/active technology to work, Samsung would have to add the active shutter technology to its screens rather than putting it in its glasses.

LG uses FPR (film patterned retarder) technology for its passive displays which gives half the resolution to each eye – the new displays being developed will be able to offer Full HD to each eye.

Details on quite how this works are non-existent at the moment but they will need circularly polarised glasses - and it backs up what RealD told TechRadar back in September 2010.

"RealD and Samsung's new displays look fantastic and represent the next step in 3D home entertainment," said James Cameron, who is a member of the RealD board.

"Full resolution viewing is key to experiencing 3D as a filmmaker intended, and when combined with the comfort and practicality of RealD 3D cinema glasses, this display technology will set a new standard for 3D in the home."

The RealD 3D display technology is being jointly developed by Samsung Electronics LCD Business.

TechRadar spoke to Mark Craven, deputy editor of Home Cinema Choice, about the news, who said: "The announcement from RealD and Samsung can only be good news to those who want to enjoy 3D with Full HD picture quality, but without the compromise of expensive, flickery, battery-powered active shutter specs.

"Of course, by incorporating the active shutter technology into the TV, rather than the glasses, there's likely to be a price premium attached – but the same has been true of LG's FPR based 3DTVs.

"Full HD 3D plus lightweight, affordable glasses sounds like a winner to us."

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.