Active/Passive 3D Myth Revisited

About a month ago I wrote a post on this blog about what I like to refer to as the Passive 3D myth which states that

Passive 3D systems offer inferior resolution when compared to Active 3D because each eye only gets to see half of the image lines on the screen.

That post has received some good and insightful comments that made me rethink my position… and come to the exact same conclusion that the statement above is indeed a myth.

The comments did give a very good insight into where the source of the confusion lies when discussing this so I decided to revisit this subject with a more detailed explanation of why I think the statement is a myth and why the refresh rate of the television or the frame rate of the source material are largely irrelevant to the discussion of the merit of this statement.

Active glasses (back) shut out each eye in turn, passive glasses (front) filter the light

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Active vs Passive 3D Myth

UPDATE: I revisited this subject because the comments on this post made it clear there was still a lot of confusion on this topic. Read the clearer explanation here.

I’m interested in 3D technology and lately there have been a lot of interesting developments. One of the most promising new 3D technologies for the home is imho the kind of passive 3D technology that LG and others are introducing to their new screens where the screen itself is taking care of delivering the images for the left and right eye to the separate eyes, instead of the glasses. This technology is called passive 3D because the glasses are simple passive polarized lenses, instead of battery powered active shutter glasses.

Active glasses (back) shut out each eye in turn, passive glasses (front) filter the light

But as sometimes seems to happen there is this myth that keeps perpetuating itself that to me seems to be blatantly wrong if you just stop and think about it for a second, but for some reason nobody does that and the myth just gets repeated over and over again. The myth is that:

“Passive 3D offers inferior resolution because the amount of display lines gets halved”

This seems to make sense at first. Only half the pixels is sent to each eye. The other half is reserved for the other eye. So resolution is halved right?

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