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Which 3D System?

3D technology is all around us, from the ultimate 3D Digital Cinema experience to 3D pocket camcorders that record and display in 3D. Today, even home users can instantly upload their own 3D movies to the web to be viewed in 3D all over the world. With a multitude of new and differing 3D systems, an absence of commonly adopted standards and a market that develops daily, choosing the right 3D technology for your application is a genuine challenge. The following are key 3D delivery systems in development today.

Perhaps the ideal option for 3D viewing is high quality without glasses, but currently systems in development have major limitations. When the 3D content is small and close to the eyes like on a notepad or the screen of a pocket camcorder or 3D mobile phone, a lenticular effect can be used to direct different parts of the image to each eye. This is achieved by using tiny lenses on screen, which direct the light at different angles – some lenses direct it to the left eye, others to the right, with an assumption made that the viewer will occupy a set position in relation to the device. These lenticular displays now include multiple viewing adaptation to deliver 3D to a number of favoured viewing positions, but at a normal viewing


3D Anaglyph Viewing
Traditional anaglyph 3D viewing is nothing new, it works with glasses that have different colour filtering that eliminate different colour elements of the image respectively, in order to separate the two different images for the left and the right eye. Viewing is affordable as the glasses are very low cost and are regarded as consumable, but the quality of anaglyph 3D is generally poor. Because colours are impaired by the 3D replication process, viewing for the duration of say a movie can be uncomfortable and unrewarding. Today this technology is more ideal for quick set up, short duration informative 3D viewing than watching movies or playing 3D games.

Entry Level 3D Shutter Viewing
Recently, active shutter technology (technology that is now established as one method in Digital Cinema) has become more affordable and is now a widely adopted 3D mass market solution, setting standards in 3D Consumer Television, 3D Home Projection, 3D Gaming and Education. NEC pioneer 3D DLP® Link projection in their latest 3D Projectors to provide low cost large screen home 3D cinema and gaming or Ultra Short Throw 3D Projection for the classroom. NEC 3D glasses are interchangeable between these devices. LCD shutter glasses use liquid crystals to make each of the two lenses either transparent or opaque to separate images in alternating order. Due to the high frame rate, the brain however has the impression that it perceives both images at the same time and not in sequential order. The effective frame rate per eye therefore is half of the total frame rate. With 120Hz the viewer receives 60 images for each eye, per second.


The quality of 3D you see at your local cinema is still worlds apart from the 3D you can realistically play at home. Aside from the resolution and size of the displayed image, Digital Cinema Solutions such as NEC’s NC Series use Triple-Flash technology to provide best 3D performance at 144 Hz. All typical 3D technologies are available for Single Projector Digital Cinema including polarizing technology, colour separation by different frequency filters and shutter glasses. There is also a two projector Digital Cinema solution; both projectors have a different polarising filter in the front, each operating with only the left or right side of the visitor’s filter glasses


Setting aside the prohibitive cost of this technology, which involves having a different display showing different images integrated into glasses in front of each eye and the current limitations on maximum displayable resolution, because these glasses simulate a very similar experience to the way we do see things, this technology is a promising lateral approach to 3D viewing solutions. There is no need for colour interpolation, or sequential shuttering or polarising or redirection of images, simply speaking each eye sees slightly different images that can be spatially perceived by the viewer to recreate form, nothing more. Subject to cost and the ability of the manufacturers to create glasses with integrated display panels that are both comfortable and of a high enough resolution, this is an exciting system for the future of 3D.








What’s Great


What’s Not


Lenticular Screen Solutions

  3D viewing without glasses, for accurate colours and allowing viewing from different pre-set positions.   Horizontal Resolution is reduced, there are limited fixed viewing spots or corridors, not ideal for gaming with less colour accuracy. Viewing can be a taxing experience.

Anaglyph Glasses

  A good, low cost disposable solution that can show high resolution without loss of quality and is good for gaming or corporate events with large short term audiences.   Colour reproduction is poor in relation to other systems available, longer viewing times result in viewer discomfort and even nausea.
  LCD Active Shutter Glass Systems   A good quality mainstream solution for anything from home to large venue applications, produces high quality 3D with excellent colour reproduction and negligible discomfort. Popular in Digital Cinema applications, with high brightness, deep blacks and outstanding whites.   Glasses can be relatively expensive with no industry standard being widely adopted. Requires high refresh rates and associated more costly equipment to operate. With NEC DLP® Link 3D Projection this solution is now becoming more affordable for all.

Glasses with Polarising Filters

  Accurate colours, 3D gaming ready, full resolution.   Ghosting effects can be visible when not finely adjusted with noticeable lines when viewed in 2D.

Virtual Reality Glasses

  Accurate colours with a genuine lookaround experience. Placement of different displays in the glasses provides a uniquely realistic experience.   Expensive, potentially uncomfortable and unsightly with current resolution limitations.