Tech Guides

HardwareZone's 3D TV Buying Guide Essentials

By Andy Sim - 11 Oct 2011

Active-Shutter vs Polarized Glasses

Comparing Both 3D TV Technologies

Still undecided on which 3D tech is the most appropriate choice? Worry not, for here is a summary on the various strengths and weaknesses of the active-shutter and passive factions. However, we'd like to remind you that the 3D viewing experience can be subjective, and it's really up to you to draw the final conclusion as to which technology works best for you.

Pros of 3D Active-shutter Technology over Passive 3D Displays

Active 3D Televisions
Passive 3D Televisions
  • Dedicated 1080 lines of resolution for each eye. In other words, each of the left and right eye obtains a full HD 3D picture
  • 3D resolution is halved. For example, only 540 lines are transmitted to each eye simultaneously
  • Absence of horizontal "scan" lines when viewed at any distance
  • Horizontal lines are evident, especially when viewed up close
  • Better image and edge detailing  
  • Softer edges due to the "CRT effect"
  • Slightly wider vertical viewing angle
  •  Narrow vertical viewing angle

Essentially, you might want to consider an active 3D TV if you're fastidious about picture quality such as finer detailing. Active types are also suitable if you are planning to install the TV in a location where your eye-line isn't on the same plane as the display. For instance, when the TV is much higher than your eye level when seated. While active-shutter 3D televisions are more affordable these days, their accompanying eyewear could cost you a hundred dollars or more. On top of that, those flickering annoyances under fluorescent lighting may also serve as deal breakers for some eventually.  

Pros of Passive 3D Technology over Active-shutter 3D Displays

Passive 3D Televisions

Active-shutter 3D Televisions
  • Doesn't suffer from flickering issues when viewed under fluorescent lighting
  • Flickering is apparent under fluorescent lighting conditions
  • Minimal crosstalk 
  • Intermittent crosstalk
  • Lesser eye-strain
  • Viewers are susceptible to eye fatigue
  • Glasses are lighter and less expensive
  • Eyewear is significantly more costly than polarized types
  • Uses polarized lenses 
  • Active lenses require power (or batteries)

To be honest, there are more pros than cons with regards to the passive camp. Take LG's Cinema 3D (FPR) series, for example. They use lightweight, power-free, and affordable glasses. On top of that, users also suffer less from eye fatigue and flickering issues for the most part. Crosstalk is reduced as well, assuming the viewer is seated centrally in front of the screen. On the flip side, passive screens have relatively tight vertical viewing angles. And the "shared" fields for both eyes might discourage AV enthusiasts concerned about the TV's 3D high-def quality and intricate picture details.

Join HWZ's Telegram channel here and catch all the latest tech news!
Our articles may contain affiliate links. If you buy through these links, we may earn a small commission.