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Active 3D vs Passive 3D

Which technology works best?

Which 3D TV technology will come out on top? We put three 3D sets side by side to see which 3D tech is the right choice.

Tim's take
After viewing the three 3DTVs we used in our eyeball testing, I voted for passive glasses for a number of reasons. As Patrick mentions, the glasses are definitely lighter and more comfortable, making them better options for long 3D-viewing sessions minus the nose sweat. They also don't have the 'Are these things on?' sync problems that you sometimes encounter with active-shutter glasses. Add in the fact that passive glasses are significantly cheaper and don't need to be recharged, and they have a big advantage over active-shutter technology before you even start watching anything.

What was really surprising to me is that I thought the 3D effects looked better with the passive glasses, as well. With the glasses off, I could see the individual lines of resolution on the Vizio and LG TVs in our test group, but once I put the glasses on, the images on screen looked noticeably sharper on those sets (especially on the LG) than they did on the active-shutter Sharp set.

The LG passive-glasses set really impressed me. In the opening sequence of Resident Evil: Afterlife that we watched, the edges looked sharper and the contrast showed more clarity than it did on the other sets. The titles popped out of the screen on each of the TVs we viewed; but on the LG, the text looked sharper, and the effect of raindrops pinging off the title text looked more realistic and defined than it did on the other sets. A foreground image of planet Earth popping out of the TV set also looked more spherical and subtly layered on the LG set than it did on the other sets.

Of course, this result may have a lot to do with the fact that the LG set was the smallest in the group: since all three were 1080p sets, each model had the exact same number of lines of horizontal resolution, but the fact that the LG set packed the lines in more densely could be why the image looked sharper in 3D mode.

  1. Which technology works best?
  2. Our test results
  3. Tim's take
  4. The verdict

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