02 Mar 2012

So now that you know the types of technology for 3D.  Lets take a brief look at the TVs out there.

3D Televisions

3D DLP (rear projection)

  •     Introduced in 2007
  •     SmoothPicture wobulation/checkerboard (a 3D transmission type, see below)
  •     Relies on the properties of modern 1080p60 DMD (digital micromirror device) imagers
  •     Compacts two L/R views into single frame with a checkerboard pattern (alternate pixels), hence only requires 1080p60
  •     Advantage:  increased resolution, unlike others which cut vertical or horizontal in half
  •     Cant technically handle full 1080p stereo video, because they aren't HDMI 1.4 capable for the bandwidth of two 1080p streams

3D PDP (plasma)

  •     Plasma displays use pulse-width modulation to maintain brightness of pixels
  •     Modern panels do pixel driving frequencies up to 600hz with 10 to 12 bit colors
  •     Many launched in 2008 by Samsung, using the same checkerboard pattern as DLP but at 1360x768, not 720p, only with a PC
  •     Panasonic prototyped the 3D HD full plasma theater system at CES 2k8, transmitting 1080i60 for both right and left eyes


  •     LCD usually not rated in fps, but time to transition from dark to bright and back again (milliseconds).
  •     LCD to maintain equivalent 120hz must be able to do the the transition in 8.33ms or less.

We also need to have an understanding of the 3D transmission mechanisms that exist, such as checkerboard, side-by-side, etc.

3D Transmission Technology

Frame Sequential/Page Flip

Flat panel tech uses page flipping.  Similar to sketch book flipping of an animation.  The 3D TV displays a full Left image and full right image, right after each other.  This requires very fast frame rates as high as 240 Hz, displaying 240 fps, though the more typical set is 120 Hz.  Generally this is limited to 1280x720 resolution via a computer, with a device like Nvidia and their 3d Vision.  Bluray players do not output frame sequential 3D.

Frame Packing

Similar but not the same as Page flip.  The left and right eye images get sent simultaneously, stacked on top of each other with a space between them.  Sent at either 24 Hz or 60 Hz.  This is the default for HDMI 1.4 and for Blu-ray.  It requires more processing power.


Two frames compressed to half their original horizontal resolution and sent simultaneously.  So for 1080p, 1920x1080 becomes 960x1080 side by side.  Those compressed frames are separated and sent back as 1920x1080 displayed sequentially.  There is interlaced and progressive, interlaced takes up less bandwidth and progressive being higher in image quality.  There is loss of resolution in the act of compression and expansion, effectively leaving a half resolution image to each eye.


DLP.  Two images are interleaved, with every other pixel going to the opposite eye.  Example:  black and white squares, the black squares go to the left eye and white to the right, resulting in half-resolution images.  Many newer playback devices don't output checkerboard, hence the need for devices to convert their images to a checkerboard signal.

 HDMI Terminology

In searching for a TV or PC Monitor that is 3D, you will often here HDMI terminology tossed around.  Its important to understand a few key things.  Lets start by reviewing the main versions of HDMI that exist today...

HDMI 1.3

  • June 22, 2006
  • 10.2 Gbps (340 MHz single link)
  •  Lossless TrueHD, DTS-HD Master audio formats for High Def audio with Blu-ray (Blu-ray was introduced with HD DVD in 2006 as well)

HDMI 1.3a 

  • Nov 10, 2006
  • some minor things added

HDMI 1.3b, 1.3b1 and 1.3c

  • March 2007, Nov 2007 and Aug 2008.
  • Didn’t really add any new features just testing of products and cables.

HDMI 1.4

  • March 2009 (first products second half of 2009). 
  • Max bitrate of 10.2 Gbps (with 8b/10b overhead), enough bandwidth to support dual 1080p streams for 3D (full 3DHD)
  •  Max resolution increased to 4k x 2k (3840x2160p called Quad HD) at 24 Hz/25 Hz/30 Hz or 4096x2160p at 24Hz (this one is used in theaters). 
  • Support for Ethernet Channel (HEC) at 100 Mbits/sec; 
  • 3D formats:  field alternative (interlaced), frame packing (full resolution top-bottom), line alternative full, side-by-side half, side-by-side full, 2D+depth, 2D + depth+graphics + graphics depth (WOWvx).

HDMI 1.4a

  • March 2010 adds two 3D formats for broadcast content (broadcast, game and movie). 
  • Requires 3D displays support frame packing at 720p50 and 1080p24 or 720p60 and 1080p24, side-by-side horizontal at either 1080i50 or 1080i60 and top-and-bottom at 720p50 and 1080p24 or 720p60 and 1080p24.

HDMI 1.4b

  • Oct 2011 (just released, no major details here)


So for 3D, its hard to say if your HDMI 1.3 cables will work, the only way to tell is to connect and see.  Some will work, others will not.  If it handles the full 6.75 Gpbs then they probably will.

There are two 1.3 varieties.. Category 1 and 2.  Category 1 handles at LEAST 2.25 Gbps, while version 2 is good through 10.2 Gbps.

You can run into the issue with 1.3 devices that they may not pass the truehd lossless codecs and 5.1 via hdmi, only the video and you would have to use optical or another format instead.  Some Blu-ray players even offer dual hdmi’s to help get around this issue by sending the video directly to your TV and the audio to your receiver.  The 3D ballgame gets played from HDMI 1.3 and up, but when it comes to passing audio and video, thats a different story with 1.3...

The key question here is more likely to be, whether or not "I will be able to send both audio and video" through my receiver at the same time and still get 3D video and the lossless codecs of Blu-ray, such as DTS-MA or Dolby Digital True HD.  Sometimes the only way to find out for sure is to test what you have.  However, one of the best bets here is to make sure you have an HDMI 1.4 receiver or HDMI 1.4 switch if you are using a switch.  Of course all this HDMI talk assumes you have or will want an audio receiver solution.  You can always just hook a PC or Blu-ray player directly to a 3D capable PC LCD or a TV.

Now on to Part 3 (finding the right glasses)...

 Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

Source:  Wikipedia, Sha3teely.com(image)

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