LG Gets Passive

In a session separate press event run by LG Display (the division of LG that makes the LCD imaging panels for LG and others), we had an opportunity to view LG's shutter glasses and FPR passive glasses sets side-by-side, in three separate setups, only one of which is shown in the photo. The FPR technology, by necessity, discards half of a source's native vertical resolution—inevitable in 3D displays with passive glasses. That is, each eye-image is 1920 x 540. The loss was not obvious in the demo, though for me, apart from some unfortunate ghosting (not uncommon in LCD 3D active shutter sets, but not on plasmas), I found the shutter-glass displays to be a little punchier and brighter (the passive FPR showed no ghosting). The FPR technique is claimed to retain greater measured brightness, as shown in the photo. Other viewers present thought that the FPR was brighter, but I did not (a gamma difference, perhaps).

On the resolution issue, LG reps claimed that a certification company (Intertech) has certified the FPR sets as full HD, arguing that the brain fuses the two 1920 x 540 images together to produce a full 1920 s 1080 image. Hmmm. My current position is that each eye must see a full 1920 x 1080 image (or at a minimum 1280 x 720) to call the result HD. But there's still some wiggle room here for others to squeeze through and call this HD. Google Kell Factor if you want to know more.

A further complication here is that when you watch broadcast 3D (cable, satellite, over-the-air) on a set with passive glasses, in contrast to full HD 3D on Blu-ray (which uses frame packing) you also loose half of the horizontal resolution as well, for a double whammy. Broadcast 3D will use the side-by-side, frame compatible 3D format, which reduces the horizontal resolution of each eye image by half). All of a sudden that 3D Super Bowl on an FPS set has become 860 x 540—for all practical purposes little better than standard definition DVD quality (720 x 480i).

On a different subject, when LG Display reps were asked when the division might have a large OLED display, the answer was in 2012, and the size was 55"(!). No speculation on pricing, of course, and the history of OLEDs suggests caution before reserving a spot on that wall for a big OLED flat panel set. In fact, since the response to this question was from LG display, the answer might mean that the panel would be ready by then, not a complete set with a panel, electronics, cosmetics, full testing, and shipping carton ready to head to your local video store.