January 19, 2010
| by Dennis P. Barker
First there was Monsters vs. Aliens, then last year’s Up and now James Cameron’s Avatar to treat your eyes to stunning 3D imagery. Now, some people hope 3D will be the next “big thing” in the home. We certainly saw our share of impending models at the recent CES 2010 show.
Until now, 3D-enabled TV sets for the home have only been available in displays utilizing DLP technology. JVC is already offering a 3D LCD to the professional and custom installation crowd. The company’s GD-463D10 monitor started shipping over the summer and offers the best of two worlds: 2D and 3D.
The JVC GD-463D10 is a 46-inch HD LCD monitor that provides flicker-free 3D images through its proprietary Xpol polarizing filter method and battery-free glasses. JVC’s unique 3D decoder circuitry translates images into the Xpol display format, which is capable of displaying subtle gradations and shades of color.
The set also utilizes a unique high-quality 3D visual engine and includes three HDMI input terminals that are compatible with 1080/24p, 50p, 60p, 50i and 60i signals. There is no ATSC or NTSC tuner, however. The monitor includes two pairs of battery-free, light polarizing glasses.
JVC’s Xpol polarizing filter method displays left and right images on the screen for clean, stable 3D images. A 3D optical filter is applied to the surface of a flat-panel display and viewed using the glasses. The result is an eye-friendly, flicker-free display. Horizontal resolution is maintained, and viewers can enjoy a very clear 3D picture with excellent color quality and imagery. The system generates a horizontally interleaved picture by assigning pixels for left and right eyes to alternate lines. This means that full HD (1920x1080) content is reproduced as 1920x540 pixels for the left eye and 1920x540 pixels for the right eye.
JVC says it chose the Xpol circular polarizing system for its 3D LCD monitors because of the inexpensive polarizing glasses. There are two types of polarizing glasses used for watching 3D content, employing either linear or circular polarization. With linear polarization, the angle of the glasses is critical, and tilting your head will result in a loss of the stereoscopic effect. With JVC’s circular polarizing glasses, the effect is maintained even when the head is tilted slightly to the left or right. Therefore, it is possible to create a natural viewing environment where several people can watch the same 3D display.
The images displayed offered excellent 2D and 3D imagery in terms of color gamut, clarity, brightness and contrast. But this is a very early product. It will reportedly work with 3D standards becoming available this year. This may be fine for a professional environment, but its $9,000-plus price tag makes it way too expensive for the home environment.
And until display technology frees us from wearing glasses, 3D will likely remain a novelty. From what I have seen, auto-stereoscopic 3D is still light years away. And by the time auto-stereoscopic 3D could reach the consumer, Ultra HD (UHD) or 4K by 2K displays will probably be in upscale households anyway, making 3D almost moot.
Then again, if 3D comes to a gaming console system like PS3 or Xbox 360 in 2010, it would likely find a niche in the home. Otherwise, I’m not so sure. While 3D is fine for your local Cineplex, I just don’t think it’s ready for primetime viewing in your family room. Do you yearn to watch Survivor or 30 Rock in 3D? And sporting events can make you dizzy after a while.
So if you must, you must, but it’s probably premature to run out and purchase a 3D monitor for the home just yet, as standards have yet to be finalized and the bugs worked out of the algorithms. To paraphrase Send in the Clowns: Maybe sometime next year.
Dennis has been involved with Consumer Electronics forever it seems. His 25+-year career includes a 12-year tour of duty at Consumer Reports magazine, as well as stints as a product reviewer, market analyst, technical editor, and consultant for the electronics industry. He lives in Ossining, NY with his two children, one demanding cat and piles of A/V equipment.