3D TV Explained

By James Pickard - Tue 11th Mar 2014 Guides

3D TV is the next revolutionary step in home viewing, giving you an immersive, breathtaking new experience when you watch sport, movies and TV. Our guide tells you more about this stunning format.

What is 3D TV?

3D TV brings the captivating visuals of 3D cinema into your home, so you can watch images boasting breathtaking depth, scope and quality on your own TV.  3D TVs need 3D glasses and a 3D-ready set-top box for the full effect to be realised, and once you are set up you can enjoy the next revolutionary step in home viewing.

3D TVs are made by various manufacturers, and can come with different features.  You will also find that the type of 3D glasses required will depend on the specific 3D TV you own.  There are PASSIVE and ACTIVE TVs, and the 3D content you can watch on your TV will depend on your digital TV provider.

How does 3D TV work?

3D is an optical illusion created through the use of specialised glasses and TV sets.  Your eyes are presented with two slightly different images via the 3D glasses, and this allows you to see an image with three-dimensional depth.  This image is in fact two-dimensional, but the forced effect changes your perception.  With the glasses removed, you would see the image flat, as it is naturally.

Best 3D TV

If you want to get fully immersed in your 3D experience then you will need to get the biggest 3D TV you can find!  This comes with an expense, so it is usually best to go and shop around, checking the 3D demos in high street stockists.

You can get both ACTIVE and PASSIVE 3D TVs; this simply refers to the type of technology used to generate the 3D effect, and ACTIVE is generally considered to be superior, but also more costly.  The ACTIVE technology can provide a better quality picture, but the glasses are much more expensive than the PASSIVE alternatives.

Cheap 3D TV

If you want 3D but there is a budget involved, then PASSIVE is well worth considering, but if you really want to get that encompassing sensation then anything less than a 50-inch screen will begin to feel false.  The image can only provide depth within the parameters of the TV set itself, so a little screen is going to provide far less immersion.  Once again, trying out different sets is the best way to go.

3D TV glasses

You will be paying a lot more for ACTIVE 3D glasses; in a way they are doing a lot of the work to generate that 3D image, and they will be expensive to replace.  The effect is excellent, particularly for 3D Blu-ray movies, games and sport, but the cheap cost of PASSIVE glasses makes the alternative a sound, and more affordable, option.

3D TV without glasses

3D without the glasses is possible, and 3D gaming gadgets are gaining popularity.  The technology replaces the glasses with something called a lenticular lens; this is placed across the screen and refracts light, allowing the forced depth effect to be captured by the human eye.

Unfortunately, this reduces resolution significantly, and the required viewing angle limits group viewing, so there are a couple of hurdles, but the technology is expected to advance and could provide a popular alternative to PASSIVE and ACTIVE 3D viewing.

3D TV packages

Your digital TV provider may be doing a deal involving 3D access, which is something you may be able to check when you compare digital TV deals.  Each provider is different, and some may offer more 3D content than others, but as technology changes and advances, the available 3D content is bound to change.  Sky offers a dedicated 3D channel, Sky 3D, and in the near future more 3D channels may broadcast as well.