Frequently Asked Questions
You have questions – we have answers
Why is a 3D TV better than a regular TV? More
How can I get 3D at home?
You can buy a new 3D TV and glasses that are designed to work with the TV to properly decode the left and right eye images and get 3D service or use a component, like a Blu-ray player. More
What will a new 3D TV cost me?
That depends on the screen size and technology. Prices start around $1,000 for 38” Active-shutter products and projector products.
Can my older TV show new 3D movies and TV shows?
No, you need a 3D capable TV. However, some specially-equipped, 3D-Ready TVs introduced since 2007, can show 3D content from an external computer or specially-designed converter box. An non-3D TV will only be able to show anaglyph programs.
What about 3D without glasses?
Several companies are developing 3D without glasses; also called “Autostereo” or "glasses-free". The technology is very compelling, but currently is has several drawbacks to becoming a consumer product. Read more
3D Picture & Transmission Formats
Are 3D picture formats different from HDTV formats? No, 3D TV looks good in both the 1280x720 (720p) and 1920x1080 (1080i and 1080p) HD formats. But the best image quality will be encoded and shown in the 1080p format. (1080p is not currently a transmission format, only a Blu-ray format.) More
What is the 3D top/bottom transmission format? Read about transmission formats
What is the ‘side-by-side’ 3D transmission format? Read about transmission formats
How does Blu-ray top/bottom format differ from the broadcast top/bottom transmission format? Read about transmission formats
What is a simple explanation of ‘3D’? Answer
Why do I see a double image or a blurred image when I take off my 3D glasses? Answer
How long has 3D been around?
For over 100 years! One of the first 3D movies ever shown (if not the first) was L’arrivée du train by the Lumière brothers in 1903. And stereoscopic viewing of still photographs goes back to the 1800s. More
How does ‘anaglyph’ 3D work? Answer
So why would anyone use anaglyph glasses? Because anaglyph works on any color TV, no matter how old. It’s the only backwards-compatible 3D system for TV. (Anaglyph even works with 3D images in books and magazines) But it’s far from ideal. More
Programs & Movies
Will I get 3D picture quality as good as in the movie theater?
Movie makers are spending substantial time and effort ensuring that the experience they design for the theatre is accurately transferred to the home environment. Read more about making 3D movies
Where do I get 3D programming?
3D programming is available on Blu-ray, select broadcasters, satellite, cable as well as popular game consoles, such as PSP and XBOX. More
Will I be able to get 3D content from cable, satellite or teleco provider?
How about 3D content from satellite?
DirecTV began broadcasts of 3D content on their channel ‘n3D™’ in June. They also carry ESPN in 3D More
What about 3D Channels? More
Will 3D content be available from the Internet?
3D video streaming using active shutter glasses was demonstrated by Samsung at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show. YouTube is experimenting with a 3D delivery format, although for now it’s limited to color anaglyph 3D because of bandwidth issues. In Fall 2010, one or more TV manufacturers will provide the ability to stream TV trailers through an internet connected television.
Will I be able to watch 3D on my computer?
Yes, if the computer is equipped with a 3D-compatible video card and monitor. You’ll also need an IR emitter and active shutter glasses for 3D gaming. More
Can over-the-air (via an antenna) TV stations transmit 3D?
Anaglyph broadcasts are possible to receive over an antenna. The more advanced digital 3D is not possible yet, as the standards are yet to be defined by the ATSC. More
When can I buy a 3D movie to show on my TV?
There are many titles available today in 3D format. More
Is there a way to convert 2D video to 3D? Read about 2D to 3D conversion.
Cabling & Equipment
Do I need to buy new HDMI cables to watch 3D?
If your existing HDMI cables are designated 'High Speed', then you are ready to go and don’t need to upgrade. High Speed HDMI cables come in two versions: One that supports Ethernet pass through, and one that does not. More
Can my existing AV receiver (AVR) pass 3D video from my Blu-ray player to my TV over HDMI?
Why do I have to wear special glasses?
The glasses enable your eyes to see the picture with depth. There are basically two different categories of 3D glasses -- passive glasses or active shutter glasses. More
What are 'Passive' glasses? More
What are 'Active' glasses? More
What is the cost of a single pair of active shutter glasses? More
When can I use the lower-cost passive glasses?
With a passive TV with polarizers built into the front glass surface. Currently, these cross-polarized (X-Pol) or micro-polarized monitors are only sold for professional and public applications, and are quite costly. Their main advantage is that they work with inexpensive polarized 3D glasses. More
Can I buy third-party active shutter 3D glasses?
The standards for these types of glasses is almost finalized. Presently, each manufacturer is delivering active shutter glasses that are optimized for their specific models of 3D TVs in terms of color reproduction. Using standard glasses may shift the color of your 3D TV picture slightly. More
Does 3D active-shutter eyewear work with any IR or RF emitter-equipped 3D HDTV? More
Comfort & Viewing
How much can I tilt my head or sit to the side of the 3D TV? More
How about the seating distance to the TV screen? More
Will my glasses work if they are not perpendicular to the TV? More
Why do some people get headaches from watching 3D? More
How do prescription glasses and contacts wearers watch 3D TV?
3D glasses are large enough to ‘wrap around’ your regular glasses and allow you to enjoy 3D video and movies. More
3D Health Questions
This section is provided by the American Optometric Association (AOA). Find additional information on this topic at 3DEyeHealth.org.
At what age can my child view 3D saftely?
Vision, including binocular vision, develops from birth. No detrimental effects of viewing 3D have been reported at any age. Parents should note that from 6-12 months of age, basic binocularity is established. By the age of 3 years most children will have binocular vision well enough established to enjoy viewing 3D television, movies or games.
How long should children watch 3D television, movies or games?
As with most activities moderation is important. In this case, to avoid behaviors that may lead to unhealthy sedentary lifestyles. From a developmental vision perspective, establishing time limits makes sense, but need not be different from the same limits placed on the viewing of 2D content. Parents should keep in mind handheld devices place higher demands on the vision system and that more frequent breaks are recommended when viewing these devices.
As a parent should I have concerns about my child viewing 3D television, movies or games and seizures?
For most children this is not a concern. Parents should note that, children at any age with diagnosed conditions like photosensitive epilepsy (PSE) or for those taking medications that are known to lower seizure thresholds, caution should be used in watching either 2D or 3D television. There is no evidence that the risks of any seizure condition-related episodes are any greater with any method of 3D viewing. Parents should also keep in mind that, as in 2D viewing , the viewing content may be an important factor in an unwanted PSE response
Can I use my 3D passive polarized glasses as sunglasses? Yes and no. Yes, in that all polarized lenses filter harmful UV radiation and thus protect the eyes from this important form of sun damage. No, in that these glasses may not be the best for outside use. Sunglasses are often designed to cover a larger area, be darker, decrease glare and have lenses made of impact resistant materials.
If my child has problems viewing 3D content what should I do? See your Doctor of Optometry for a comprehensive eye examination. A regular exam can diagnose any issues or any developing issues - or rule vision out as the cause of the problems.
If my child has vision problems that interfere with viewing 3D content can this be treated?
Yes, in most instances with treatment consisting of standard glasses, Optometric Vision Therapy or a combination of both.