5.20.2010

10 Minutes - Polarized 3D Goggles: Where to Buy 3D Glasses

Hi. It's Joe.

3D is back!

3D seems to come in and out of fashion periodically. The last time I remember a 3D craze was in the late 80s. Most of the kids today weren't even born then, so they might not remember the cheezy 3D glasses with one green lens and one red lens to filter out the red and green hued bipolar images on color TVs.

Being partially red-green color blind, 3D was sort of lost on me. But not anymore, baby!

Now it has gone high tech. In the age of high definition TV, there is now a whole new technology for 3D viewing that doesn't rely on color separation. Todays 3D glasses use the laws of physics (polarization) and liquid crystal technology (shuttering) to create a magnificent 3D viewing experience.

So advanced has 3D now become that 3D glasses are now becoming more than just those flimsy cardboard things. People with high definition 3D capabilities are actually buying pretty nice plastic framed 3D glasses as part of their multi-media technology accessories.

There are two kinds of high tech 3D glasses available.

1. Passive Polarized 3D Glasses: Polarized sunglasses have been around for a long time, but polarized high definition 3D movies haven't. The high definition screen displays two overlapping images that are polarized at 90 degrees from each other, as are the lenses in the polarized 3D glasses. Similar to color separation 3D, one eye sees one of the overlapping polarized images and the other eye sees the alternate one, creating the 3D effect without the wonky color issues of the old school 3D frames. According to AMAZON, "the only drawback is that viewers will need to sit directly in front of the display to get the full 3D effect. If the viewer is sitting on the side, the 3D effects will be less pronounced."

Try wearing regular polarized sunglasses and viewing a flat screen (polarized) high definition computer display, such as a laptop. If you tilt your head one way of the other, the screen will appear to go black. This is because the frames of normal polarized sunglasses are both polarized in the same direction. In polarized 3D goggles, the polarity of one lens is offset 90 degrees from the other, and so are the two overlapping images of the high definition 3D display screen.

2. Active Shutter 3D Glasses: These are battery powered 3D lenses that alternately open and close to match the frame rate of high definition 3D movies. Each of the overlapping images of the 3D movie are displayed at 60 frames per second, for a total image rate of 120 frames per second (Hz). The lenses of the active shutter 3D glasses alternate their shutter speed at 120 frames per second so that each eye sees one or the other of the overlapping images.

According to AMAZON, "you will need a pair of active shutter glasses if you buy a 3D-capable HDTV in 2010 and onwards."

I don't trust any technology that relies on batteries and active shutter 3D glasses seem like a lot could go wrong. With polarized 3D glasses, you are just relying on the basic laws of physics regarding light waves, so there is a lot less human error that can get in the way of your high definition 3D movie viewing experience.

Time.

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