LAS VEGAS – LG Electronics has flung the gauntlet at the fledgling 3-D
TV market by citing potential health hazards with active shutter glasses
3-D TV sets. The move unveiled at CES on Wednesday (Jan. 5) is intended to
promote LG’s own newly developed Film Patterned Retarder (FPR) 3-D
Since the commercial 3-D TV rollout last year, the consumer electronics
industry has called the active shutter-glass the best available
technology choice. It’s been promoted almost unanimously by all the
major brands including LG – until now.
Although active shutter glasses-based 3-D TV may have helped the TV
industry kick start a yet-to-blossom 3-D movement (while potentially
harming consumers’ health), it’s now clear that the 3-D technology
battle is far from being settled.
The competition is now moving onto 3-D using passive polarized
technologies; while glasses-free 3-D HDTV also looms on the horizon.
The hottest news at the CES is that LG is betting the farm on film
pattern retarder (FPR). Meanwhile, RealD made a pre-emptive strike here
this week by announcing that the company is teaming up with Samsung to
push yet another 3-D display technology called RDZ. This is also a
passive polarized solution but adopts active shutter technology on the
display. It essentially takes the shuttering technology used in the
glasses and places it in front of the LCD. Toshiba, in contrast, is
pushing glasses-free 3-DTV as previously reported in
Toshiba’s glasses-free 3-D panel: Worth the wait?".
Said Young Soo Kwon, president and CEO of LG Displays: “We believe that
the shutter-glass technology based 3-D TV won’t be successful, because
consumers are concerned about health issues, and it is too costly.” In
contrast, he noted, “Film patterned retarder can offer good quality 3-D
at a reasonable cost.”
LG will stop supplying shutter glass-based 3-D TV “in a short period of
time,” Kwon said. LG will launch FPR-based sets in April.
LG’s decision to bet so big on FPR, while being so vocal at CES about
the potential health problems with current 3-D TVs, hit the industry
with a shock wave. Chris Chinook, president of Insight Media, a market
research firm focused on the emerging segments of the display industry,
called LG’s move “bold, very bold.”
The idea of a “patterned retarder” used in FPR is not new. Pioneered by
Arisawa Manufacturing in Japan, patterned retarder, using a passive
polarizer, delivers 540 lines to the left and right eye, reducing
flicker and crosstalk. However, proponents of competing 3-D technologies
tend to dismiss patterned retarder technology as “half HD, not full
LG’s invention in FPR lies in the replacement of the glass by film. FPR
is said to cost only one quarter of the glass-patterned retarder
technology. With a sizeable investment, LG Display built a plant, tested
its film technology, and is ready for full production, Chinook said.
I think the 3D is definitely poised for a big growth in the future. Like what we have seen in the 2D LCD display technologies like TN to IPS we will see much better performaing technologies will be available. I will wait till the technology actually matures before buying one 3D TV.
I had a chance to experience the 3D technology at local Best Buy store. However, with 3D glasses, I found large screen TV image looks smaller. Is this due to optics or some other reason? Or does it happen to me only?
Just got back from CES - I got to view many competitor's 3D displays. I went in with an open mind, and came out believing that LG's passive approach is head-and-shoulder's the best (I have no affiliation with them). The active glasses of others give weird "shimmery" effects, and subliminally "feel" wrong (probably the rapid lens switching causing subconscious nerve confusion). Some glasses-free displays looked OK, but only at ONE distance. LG's looked great at any distance. Kudos, LG.
Also, Fuji's 3D snapshot camera (the W3) was very well done. The camera had a lenticular (glasses-free) 3D viewfinder LCD and was easily toggled between 2D and 3D.
Overall, I'm still unclear whether 3D displays add enough value to become mainstream - but I came away with more postive feelings about it (with LG's approach) than before.
While I find the news about competing technologies interesting, I am still not inclined to invest in an expensive / emerging system. Is there enough 3D source to make the cost worthwhile? I am not a doctor but it would seem to me that the flicker would stress the user's eyes, I know from working in offices with fluorescent lights that my eyes are often tired at the end of the day. In natural sunlight (as it at home with a window) I do not have the same tired eye syndrome. So, I will wait for the dust to settle on 3D and then maybe consider it for the home if the movie / TV content is there.
The technology is not the only problem. The content needs to work as intended as well.
I know that a major computer graphic cards manufacturer - when outputting active stereo - does not render left and following right frame at the same "space-time". They actually move stuff around a frame-period before rendering the next eye. Of course the brain will get stressed when things are moving. The faster movement, the more stress.
And also, interference with room lighting has a big impact on stress. Fluorecent lamps are not kind to shutter glasses.
I have been working with stereoscopic displays for more than 10 years now and very few systems have control of the important details. And I don't trust any of the old research material, cause I don't know if the details were in place when they did it.
I stand corrected on fragmentation at the source, thanks for explaining that. Interestingly if the pixels alternate their content you have only half the horizontal resolution. I wonder why LG didn't have their filter separate horizontally like the source?? Any ideas?
The 3D market isn't fragmenting. 3D display technology is separate from 3D content distribution formats. The 3D content formats were just recently agreed upon in 2010. The 3D displays will convert the 3D content in order to display it with the technology the display uses.
As an example Mitsubishi TVs have had 3D support for years well before 3D formats were standardized. These TVs use a checkerboard pattern where all odd pixels are for the left eye and even pixels are for the right eye (shutter glasses still required). Mitsubishi provides a box that converts the latest 3D content to the checkerboard format so that their older TVs can display the latest 3D content.
Likewise FPR, RZD, and even as-yet-uncreated 3D display technologies will be able to convert the standard content formats to their proprietary display formats.
Edison proved AC electricity was no good. How? He designed the electric chair to prove how dangerous AC was.
And the Westinghouse/Tesla patents on 3 phase electricity retarded the market until the patents ran out.
These technology wars are nothing new.
Join our online Radio Show on Friday 11th July starting at 2:00pm Eastern, when EETimes editor of all things fun and interesting, Max Maxfield, and embedded systems expert, Jack Ganssle, will debate as to just what is, and is not, and embedded system.