The war for consumers’ 3D HDTV dollars turned nasty this past week with LG and Samsung firing shots at each other in the form of advertising and official statements. We first reported the battle in January. It’s about the two ways to view 3D content at home, one using passive (unpowered) 3D glasses like the ones you get at the movie theater, the other, a system that uses frame sequential 3D with active battery powered shutter glasses. The two Korean electronics giants are pulling out all the stops in their home market and the fight is beginning to spill over into the US.


photo courtesy france24


Mo Mo Monkey 

LG executives went ape last week over a Samsung print ad seen in Korea that touts the advantages of active 3D with a chimp wearing passive glasses. LG management took offense, accusing Samsung of portraying them as a simian. LG called a press conference claiming their technology is superior. LG then countered with another ad showing a person with passive 3D glasses lying on a couch and proclaiming “Finally you have a comfortable way to watch 3-D”


LG promoted its Cinema 3D  at January’s consumer electronics show as “Full HD” citing a test report by worldwide testing company Intertek in the UK according to its press release. HD Guru has obtained a copy of the report findings and contrary to claim, nowhere does the document use the term “Full HD” which would mean you can see all 1080 lines of resolution of each image by each eye. The film patterned retarder (FPR) LG uses provides alternate lines of resolution to pass left images to left eye and right images to the right eye resulting in one half of the full high definition vertical resolution of 540 lines per eye. We found the report’s conclusions impossible to understand, as it ambiguous and unclear. Here is a link to the Intertek report cover page and conclusions. We obtained the Intertek report from LG Display.

We contacted Intertek weeks ago for clarification and to date they have not provided response. One other minor discrepancy, LG Display’s CES press release stated the test was sourced by Intertek UK but the report is from Intertek Korea.

To add to the confusion,  a recent statement by George Mead LG’s UK  product and consumer marketing manager at Mead comments about FPR’s Full HD resolution  -“This is true to an extent, although Cinema 3D also delivers a full HD 3D experience, just not to individual eyes. It delivers 540 lines to each eye, resulting in a full HD 3D effect. We think that this point has been rather stirred up by third parties and competitors, whereas for us, the consumer experience is the most important thing, rather than concentrating too closely on stats or specs”.


HD Guru’s observations: FPR delivers 540 lines per eye resolution with 3D material. This is only 57  lines greater resolution than the old analog standard definition TV standard!

Taking it Lying Down

According to the LG Korean newspaper ad above as reported in a Wall St. Journal article, you can view 3D using passive glasses on an LG FPR TV while lying down with your head tilted 90 degrees.

Trying to use active glasses viewing on a 3D LCD (or LED LCD) TVs, the lenses darken as the glasses tilt toward 90 degrees makes the image too dark to view.

Yesterday in New York City, Samsung provided the press with a comparison between LG’s FPR LED 3D TV and Samsung’s UN55D8000 model. To test the ability to view 3D on the LG FPR 3D TV lying down, we tilted our heads ninety degrees. Next, Samsung personnel tilted the LG 3DTV into the vertical position on the floor stand, allowing us to view in a more dignified way.  Indeed, the circular polarized lenses on the passive 3D glasses did not darken. However, at a ninety degrees tilt, the 3D effect disappeared completely replaced by painful, severe eyestrain requiring the removal of  the glasses within seconds.  We repeated the procedure several times with the same results. Conclusion, you can’t view 3D lying down on FPR TVs regardless of advertised claims.

Nano Delayed

LG sent out an email earlier this week to inform us its highly anticipated Nano LED TV (link) has been delayed from its spring release to the third quarter of 2011. The reason, LG has decided to abandon its active 3D capability in favor of FPR technology. This major change caused the push back. In addition, LG stated it will also change its upcoming 72″ TV from active to passive FPR technology, making the entire 2011 LED LCD 3D HDTV line passive. Only LG’s 2011 3D plasmas will continue to used active 3D glasses technology

Who Wins-Passive or Active?

HD Guru requested review samples of LGs FPR 3D LED and its 2D LED TVs so we can evaluate and compare their 2D and 3D performance.  Stay tuned.


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To aid victims of the Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami with a direct contribution, here is a link to the  Red Cross Relief Website.



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