DisplayMate: ‘Human Vision’ Delivers Full HD Using Passive 3D Glasses

Adding more fuel to the "active vs. passive" debate, DisplayMate went public today with its Active vs. Passive 3D Glasses Shoot-Out. The study finds that passive 3DTVs, which use an alternating raster scan approach, deliver a full-HD resolution 3D experience due to image fusion in human visual perception. The findings are significant as it elevates the impact of human perception of image quality as a measure of the 3D experience, as specs alone seem inadequate. Will it end the active vs. passive debate? Probably not, but it does add additional credence to the claims of the passive camp.

Sharpness and resolution delivered with passive glasses is characterized by Soneira as, "By far the most controversial and misunderstood issue in 3DTV." And, maintaining full-HD resolution in each eye is often cited as the most significant reasons for using active shutter glasses in creating the 3D image. As the theory goes, a full-HD image is delivered by the TV at 120 Hz. The active glasses shutter between left and right image at 60Hz, delivering a 1080p image to each eye. Passive glasses based on film pattern retarder technology use micropolarized film applied to alternating rows in the display that (in theory) halve the resolution by dividing the image into left and right views-at the same 60 Hz.

Not so-says Soneira. Human visual perception takes place in the brain. "Because the 3D images are created in the brain, instruments can not be used to measure how sharp or muffled they appear on a given 3DTV - that can only be done with human vision by actually viewing 3D content - but this can be done in a very precise and analytical manner. What matters here is the actual 3D visual performance NOT an analysis of the display hardware diagnostic performance the way it is normally done for 2D displays," Soneira said.

To get there, Soneira created a "reverse vision test" to determine the display sharpness, "…by how small a text that can be read on a given 3DTV at a given distance when viewing regular Blu-ray movie content." The test measured the clarity of displayed text in 3D images from an IMAX film (Space Station 3D) using both active and passive technology. "In all cases, the small text (6 to 10 pixels in height) was readable on the FPR passive glasses 3DTV, which definitively establishes that there is excellent 3D image fusion and the passive glasses deliver full 1080p resolution in 3D, …if the passive glasses only delivered half the resolution, as some claim, then it would have been impossible to read the small text on the FPR TVs. So those half resolution claims are manifestly wrong - no ands ifs or buts!"

DisplayMate used quantitative analysis and a unique measuring approach created by the company to put an end, not only to the 3D technology sharpness debate. Surprisingly, DisplayMate found that "the measurements showed passive glasses 3DTVs perform much better than the active glasses 3DTVs across the board."

Soneira concludes with his high optimism for 3DTV in general. "The magic of providing a comfortable, convincing, and realistic 3rd dimension to TV viewing is what will make this 3D technology catch on and become successful in the future. 3DTV has finally come of age and arrived as a fun and pleasant enhancement to watching traditional 2D movies and TV content… It’s all backed up with solid evidence…" and that’s a comfort to know.

Note: See our extended article on this 3D technology shoot-out that includes brightness, flicker, crosstalk and ghosting, plus recommendations in the upcoming Large Display Report subscription newsletter from Insight Media.

By Steve Sechrist, Display Daily