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Difference Between HD and 3D Technology

3D 101

3D 101

What is HD and 3D Technology?

3D (3-Dimensional) technology has come to the forefront, thanks to the advancements in technology and special-effects movies like Avatar. 3D technology has been around for a long time, almost since the beginning of photography.

This technology has been expensive and reserved for the professionals to use in IMAX theaters and such, however, this is changing and 3D is slowly becoming mainstream.

3D technology is still relatively new and therefore expensive, however, this is expected to change, just like it did with HD (High-Definition). This web page is dedicated to helping those who want to learn more about 3D technology, know the difference between SD, HD and 3D, and decide if it's the right time to make the switch from HD to 3D technology.

Comparison of SD, HD and 3D Technology

In simple terms, High-Definition (HD) is video picture quality with considerably higher resolution than the traditional Standard-Definition (or SD). HD generally has about 1 to 2 million pixels per frame which is approximately 5 times compared to SD. Therefore, the picture is very high quality and sharp, as compared to SD technology.

3D technology on the other hand is another dimension altogether. When watching video in 3D format, the pictures seem to jump outside the screen giving it a real-life-like experience. 3D experience is achieved through a technique called Stereoscopy. Let me explain, it's based on how the human eyes receive the input and the way the human brain processes it. The pupils of the human eye are about 6.5 cm (or 2.5 inches) apart, therefore each eye views a scene from a different angle and generates a unique image.

The brain then creates a single image by merging the images together. The slight difference between the image from the right eye and the image from the left eye allows the brain to judge the depth. This creates the 3D illusion. There are different ways to create this illusion and that's where the different types of 3D technology comes in. Let's review 3 different types of 3D technology.

Types of 3D Technology

In terms of 3D technology, there are mainly 3 types on the market and each one differs in the way the technology works. Below is a brief explanation of each of these technologies (without getting too technical):

Anaglyph Technology has been used most often and uses two images that are superimposed to create a stereoscopic 3D effect, when viewed with two-color eye glasses. The two colors are usually red and cyan. This technology has been commonly used because of its low cost, however, the picture quality is not that great. The cost of Anaglyph 3D glasses is very reasonable, between $1 to $10.

Polarized Technology produces 3D illusion by projecting two images onto the same screen through different polarizing filters. You then use eye glasses that contain a pair of different polarizing filters, each filter allows the light with similar polarity and blocks the other. This technology is fairly low-cost as well and has been used in recent 3D movies like Avatar and Alice in Wonderland.

Active Technology is becoming the standard in terms of 3D watching at home. Using this technology, an HDTV will display one image to your left eye and one image to your right eye. Active liquid crystal shutter glasses then block each eye in sequence to ensure that each eye only sees the corresponding image being displayed on the 3D TV set. This technology is quite expensive at this point with the LCS glasses alone costing around $100.

Video Overview of 3D Technology

The experts at have created informational videos to help understand the basics of 3-Dimensional technology. These short tutorials are just over a minute long and explain various aspects of 3D technology in very simple language. Below you will find the first video. All the rest of these 3D 101 videos can be accessed directly from the Amazon Learning Center website:

• Video 1 : 3D Introduction;

• Video 2 : what is 3D technology;

• Video 3 : how 3D TV works;

• Video 4 : polarized glasses and passive technology;

• Video 5 : hardware required to set up 3D technology at home;

• Video 6 : how to go about getting 3D content;

• Video 7 : playing video games in 3D;

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• Video 8 : 3D without glasses;

• Video 9 : plasma versus LCD option;

• Video 10: sequential versus side-by-side transmission.

Video Overview of 3D SONY Technology: Difference in Quality

The brand of the 3D technology makes a difference. Depending on the brand, you may encounter several issues in your 3D viewing experience, for example:

• You may see a ghost like edge on the image;

• You may get a constant flicker in the room;

• You may experience discomfort with the 3D glasses for fit & lighting;

Watch the video below to see how Sony 3D technology fixes all the above problems.

Things to Consider Before Switching to 3D

Count the cost and rapid advancement in technology

A lot of consumers are fascinated with 3D technology, but are they ready to bring it into their homes yet? Well, let's consider the following factors:

The cost of upgrading is at least $2,500 which would include a 3D TV, a pair of 3D glasses and the 3D Blu-Ray DVD player. Bear in mind that 3D technology is still in its infancy as far as mainstream is concerned, so in the next 2 to 3 years, the technology will advance considerably and prices will start dropping.

There is not enough 3D content out there right now because the demand doesn't warrant it, however, the networks are ready to pick it up as the demand rises.

Enjoying 3D experience requires wearing 3D glasses, though there are some 3D TVs that don't require it. However, it will take a few years for these 3D TVs to be launched. It's a different thing to sit and watch a 2-hour movie with 3D glasses, but are consumers ready to embrace these glasses for normal day-to-day viewing?

Many consumers have only recently upgraded to HD technology and the quality enhancement is phenomenal compared to Standard-Definition.

From what I see, it will take at least a couple of years until 3D technology becomes mainstream. However, I believe that 3D technology will ultimately become a reality in people's living's just a matter of time. As for me, I'm pretty content with my HDTV at the moment and am in no rush to switch right away.

Books on 3D TV Technology

3-Dimensional technology is fascinating and it has continued to intrigue our minds ever since the stereoscope was invented in 1830.

This Encyclopedic Dictionary is written by Richard W. Kroon who is an award-winning videographer. This book includes a wealth of information for the 3D technology enthusiasts. It is written is simple-to-understand language and had many b/w and colour illustrations. We're seeing more and more of 3D technology in our everyday lives, but it's taking a while to become mainstream.

HDTV Size Chart - What Size Television Do I Need?

The screen size of your TV will depend on the viewing distance. For a comfortable viewing experience on high definition TVs, experts suggest using screen sizes as displayed in the HDTV Size Chart below.

HDTV Size Chart

HDTV Size Chart

Best Selling HDTVs in 2014 at Amazon

With the rapid advancements in TV technology we are beginning to see newer models of high definition TVs in the market in 2014. HDTVs have become much more affordable in the past couple of years and many consumers have already made the switch to HDTV.

You can find a list of Best Selling HDTVs in 2014 available at Amazon by clicking the link above. 3DTV technology also continues to advance, though the majority of consumers have not yet switched to 3DTVs. One of the main reason is the high price as well as the inconvenience of 3D glasses. However, we are already beginning to see 3DTVs that don't require 3D glasses and as technology advances and more consumers start switching, the prices will come down eventually.

Info Research Source: Wikipedia

Updated: September 16, 2014

What are your thoughts on HDTV and 3DTV technology?

Are you Ready for the 3D Switch?

Guestbook: 3D & HD Technology

visit2goa on March 03, 2014:

lots of information ... thank to you.. could you please write a post for projectors too

Senditondown from US on December 19, 2013:

It seems we get adjusted to one thing and they come up with something else. Guess it will always be that way, so I'm glad there are people to explain it all.

Anthony Godinho (author) from Ontario, Canada on August 31, 2013:

@anonymous: Hi Emma, generally speaking, 3D TVs should produce as good or better picture quality to an HDTV. You will have to adjust the settings. If your 3D TV is "THX Certified", you should probably have a setting for it. If not, you will have to calibrate your TV using a THX-certified Blu-ray DVD. Best is to check with the store you purchased the TV from, if you're not too tech-savvy.

anonymous on August 31, 2013:

I just got a 3d TV.but when watching regular stations, it doesn't appear as brilliant as the HD. Is that the way it is or my settings are wrong? Before the purchase, I thought u could have a HD quality, if and when u choose not to have a 3d mode.

codeaweb on July 25, 2013:

This is very interesting,

EzLoanLookUp LM on July 17, 2013:

This is a very informative lens. who knew the differences were so stark? I think that ill stick with the 3d when it comes to my favorite movies =)

Anthony Godinho (author) from Ontario, Canada on November 24, 2012:

@Diva2Mom: Thanks much, Veronica, for your kind comments, thoughts and blessings on this 3D technology lens. It's much appreciated. God bless you too and huge hug back at ya ~ stay blessed! :)

Anthony Godinho (author) from Ontario, Canada on November 24, 2012:

Thanks everyone for your feedback and thoughts on HD and 3D technology. Much appreciated!

Diva2Mom on November 24, 2012:

Your overall lens presentation is truly amazing! Well-organized layout, filled with valuable, clear, easy-to-understand information about 3D Technology, Comparison of SD, HD and 3D Technology, types of 3D technology,etc. You even managed to 'thoughtfully' include info on things to consider prior to switching to 3D, which I really find relevant and deemed important esp. to a mom like me, who can't simply catch up with the rapid and constant pace of change in technology ,lol:). Great, highly-valuable lens! Well-executed, my dear! Very BLESSED by a little Squid Angel :). God bless you always, my dear AJ! Huge hug!

med-tech on October 27, 2012:

I feel sorry for all of the people who bought DTV's back in the early 2000s they weren't cheap at all but are massively out of date. I'm thinking about a 3d TV but it just seems like a passing fad...

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on October 24, 2012:

Came back to read this again and bless it.

spencerharry80 lm on September 14, 2012:

Very cool lens.... It's creative and innovative, modules are used in an optimized way... also it rendering very fruitful information. Thums-up bro.

aaanetsolution on September 09, 2012:

Splendid...good content on the lens. Right info provided

antoniow on June 21, 2012:

Fantastic lens and very useful info! Great job Squidlike!

JennySui on June 10, 2012:

Very informative lens. Well done!

pcgamehardware on June 10, 2012:

Very thourough explanation of how 3D technology works.

I learned a lot from this page, nice work and great presentation. :)

GhostMan LM on February 21, 2012:

Great info! Great lens

Anthony Godinho (author) from Ontario, Canada on January 15, 2012:

@aesta1: Yeah, this technology is really changing fast and recently at the CES they've unveiled many more, one popular one being the OLED 3D and HD TVs. In a way it's good because the prices of regular HDTVs will drop even more.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on January 11, 2012:

It is hard for us as we do not stay in one place. But I read somewhere that IMAX is building many theaters now in China and starting to sell their technology so it will soon become more mainstream.

TransplantedSoul on January 07, 2012:

Very cool stuff. Avatar was groundbreaking - there will be more good stuff to come!

Kiosks4business on September 08, 2011:

Great lens explaining in a simple way what's what. Brilliant!

Deeksha on August 11, 2011:

Well explained. As now-a-days people are running behind new technologies like Animations and Video Conferencing, These 3D and HD effects are more into market now. And as clearly explained above the difference between 3D and HD, I hope this 3D effects can be more effective in PeopleLink's Video Conferencing Software.

davidber on June 30, 2011:

Great lens, useful info

georgegijo on March 29, 2011:

Good lens covering every aspects of 3D technology. 3D is the ultimate viewing experience for the time being

Anthony Godinho (author) from Ontario, Canada on March 28, 2011:

@SunShine80 LM: I'm in the same boat as you. I upgraded to HDTV just over a year ago and am watching to see how the technology progresses. The ideal 3D TV option would be to have one that does not require wearing the 3D glasses, however, it will be a while until that technology becomes mainstream.

SunShine80 LM on March 28, 2011:

3D tv is just arriving in the UK. I haven't really given it a thought until reading this. I'll be waiting to see where the technology goes and how far the costs diminish...

Anthony Godinho (author) from Ontario, Canada on January 13, 2011:

@annel lm: Thanks for the lensroll, I reciprocated with the same!

annel lm on January 12, 2011:

Great lens as always! Lensrolled to mine, About 3D Movies lens

Anthony Godinho (author) from Ontario, Canada on January 10, 2011:

@anonymous: Thanks for stopping by ~ I have an HDTV and the picture quality is great, though you need to have HD transmission as well. In terms of the poll, I guess in your case it is option 3.

Anthony Godinho (author) from Ontario, Canada on January 10, 2011:

@KDimmick: Thanks so much for your SA blessing on this lens! :)

anonymous on January 09, 2011:

Well the poll questions didn't fit, because I don't have 3D or HDTV. I would love to have either one though, would be nice. Very nice lens,...and always, AJ!

Dish-Network-HD on January 09, 2011:

wow. Thanks for the comparison.

KDimmick on December 28, 2010:

Blessed by an angel and featured on my angel lens :)

Anthony Godinho (author) from Ontario, Canada on December 26, 2010:

@TonyPayne: I'm with you, Tony and agree with what you wrote. I switched to HD just last year and am happy with you. I think once 3D becomes more mainstream, we will get 3D TVs that don't require wearing the 3D glasses. Appreciate your input!

Tony Payne from Southampton, UK on December 25, 2010:

I like the idea, but we still haven't switched over to HD tv reception. We only recently got an HD tv actually. I love the idea of watching tv in 3D, but I think it could become too much to watch everything in 3D. I certainly wouldn't like to have to wear glasses just to watch tv. I am going to sit and wait for a while, but yes I do like the idea. Very nice lens and you explained the technology very clearly, I learned a few things.

Jhangora LM on November 17, 2010:

Very informative lense. Prompted me to start a featured lenses section on my lense on my lens on 3D Gifts for Christmas 2010. Thanx for sharing your keen insights aj.

Anthony Godinho (author) from Ontario, Canada on October 05, 2010:

Thanks guys for your comments and feedback, it's much appreciated! Looks like a lot of people are waiting to see how 3D technology shapes up. I'm in no hurry to switch right now either and am happy with my HD TV.

anonymous on October 04, 2010:

I just can't seem to keep up with modern technology LOL but I'm not sure how 3D will fit in

JanieceTobey on October 02, 2010:

Wow, what a lot of great information about 3D technology!! I rarely watch TV myself, but I do have family members whom I'm sure would love to get a 3D TV after the prices drop and the technology improves!

julieannbrady on September 29, 2010:

Gosh, is it NOT amazing how the technology in our age is just growing by leaps and bounds and changing so quickly? It is a challenge for the older generation to keep up with it all. Heck, I still have a huge Mitsubishi tube TV that has to be 20 years old -- and it ways a TON.

gan4boi on September 13, 2010:

Well, hopefully I can earn lots of money to get myself a 3D TV. I don't even and HDTV so far.

anonymous on September 11, 2010:

Hi, This is a fabulous lens ~ from the design to the info to the links. I've added it to my lensroll on 3D, thanks!

Treasures By Brenda from Canada on August 12, 2010:

Nicely done lens. Personally, I'm thrilled with my HDTV and not too interested in 3D. We'll have to see what the future brings...

Anthony Godinho (author) from Ontario, Canada on August 10, 2010:

@poutine: I hear you...thanks for your feedback! ;)

poutine on August 10, 2010:

Not interested at all in 3D TV.

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