02 Mar 2012

So now that we've seen all the possible terminology you might see (or most of it) with 3D, lets break it down on a simpler level in terms of what is needed to do 3D in terms of equipment and software.  I'll also dive into my own setup for a more down to Earth example of what you might encounter in getting things working.

First is the basic hardware you may need.

Finding the right glasses for your setup

Of course we already mentioned glasses technology.  One of the first things you will do depends on the type of TV you have.  Purchase the glasses.  If your TV is one of the newer LCDs which are passive, then you probably got free passive glasses when you purchased the TV.  If it didn't come with glasses then you will need to purchase those.  Those won't be very costly compared to active glasses and they are easier to wear due to their lighter weight and material used in their design, however the picture quality with Passive glasses is not quite as good as Active as of this writing.  You tend to get a lot of jagged-edge artifacts with passive glasses, which can be distracting.  The bright side, literally, is that passive displays tend to have brighter images.  Passive TVs/glasses tend to have a less range in the viewing angle than active as well.  Of course cost of the passive glasses is much cheaper than Active, which can be a bonus to many, being as the range in price on 3D active glasses can range from $44 to $130 as of now. 

If your TV is active based, such as my Samsung DLP TV, then the glasses choices become more complex.  There are many different brands out there, some depend on the exact type of Active TV you have.  If you have a DLP and it supports something called DLP-LINK, then you can avoid getting an emitter for your TV and get DLP-Link glasses, which are simply the glasses.  DLP-Link is basically a signal your TV puts out, so that with DLP-Link glasses, they will look for the signal and synchronize.  With my Samsung HLT-6187S set, the DLP-Link works by changing the tint on the screen to light red.  The tint is removed with DLP-Link glasses.  Often on a DLP-Link set it is not possible to turn off DLP-Link, should you decide to get emitter glasses.

You will find some glasses that are rechargeable while others that use small batteries, which can often last a month or more before changing.  In my particular case I went the rechargeable DLP-Link route.

There are glasses (Mine are Eagle 510s) that are DLP-Link and rechargeable on eBay which go for $44 shipped per pair.  These are the cheapest ones that I have found to date and they work quite well.  I don't see rainbows with them and the DLP-Link "flash" or "tint" is pretty much removed or unnoticeable (I did some some slight tint in the black bars above and below the main video, but only if you tilted your head at a very odd angle).

The Vision Experience-Eagle 510

Another very good option are the Ultra-Clear glasses from Ultimate3dheaven.  Some users have reported seeing "rainbows" with these glasses on their DLP sets, but some intrepid users have found ways of getting rid of the problem, which you can read about here.

Ultimate3DHeaven Ultra Clear Glasses

Ultimately its going to come down to what works the best for YOU.  You can read about different issues on many of the forums that people have with their respective glasses, but in the end this very much depends on a bunch of variables such as the TV itself, the quality of the TV's build, TV settings or even pot luck of getting good or bad glasses from a single vendor.  Check the return policy/warranty from where you purchase the glasses and test them out yourself first.

If you have the choice between IR (emitter type) and DLP-Link (or infrared) you would want to weight the pro's and the con's, here are some:

IR emitter vs DLP-Link

IR Emitter


  • Does not loose sync
  • no rainbows
  • no DLP-Link Flash/Tint (if you can turn off DLP-Link)


  • picture quality often not as good (washed out contrast)
  • more expensive



  • Good picture quality/contrast
  • Lower cost


  • Can loose sync
  • Rainbows (sometimes)
  • DLP-Link flash/tint doesn't always go away

The above issues are only a generalization and may not match your actual experiences.  Take for instance my Eagle glasses.  I can sit without sync issues at my usual 14-15' range from my 61" Samsung set.  And with these glasses I do not see rainbows.  The other issue you may run into is getting the glasses to fit on kids under the age of 5.  Some vendors sell child size glasses, however, it may work to just use a sports strap to hold the glasses in place.  Now on to the topic of finding 3D content to view.

Viewing 3D content via cable or satellite

So now you have a pair of 3D glasses but no way to view 3D content on your shiny new 3D television (or PC monitor).  One option that is usually already available to you (for free in the case of people who have Comcast and HD stations to begin with) is that of 3D programming choices.  Usually for this to work though, you will need an "HD box" from your provider.  This does NOT mean you need a DVR, however HD boxes are usually in the range of $7 per month by themselves.  If you have a HTPC (Home theater PC) setup then you can use a cablecard, such as a Ceton InfiniTV device.  The HD box or HD Pvr which supports 3D programming also has an HDMI port.  You will simply connect that to your TV and switch to 3D mode and tune in to the programming.

Here is a list of some of the 3D channels already available as of this writing.

Up Next, Part 4 (Adding other 3D content devices)...

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

Source:  Wikipedia

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