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An active or passive TV?



With a predicted 23.4 million 3D TVs being shipped this year, it is clear that users are adopting the 3D revolution. However, there has been much debate in the industry around which is better ‚ active or passive? CORRIE LABUSCHAGNE, product manager for TVs at Samsung outlines a few fundamental differences.

There has been much industry debate of late around active and passive type technology in TVs ‚ but when it comes down to it, all the consumer really wants to know is which is better and rightly so. According to a 3D display technology report conducted by DisplaySearch, active shutter 3D TVs take about 98% of the current market, indicative of the high standing that this technology has in the market and Samsung certainly agree.

Says Corrie Labuschagne, Product and Marketing Manager for TVs at Samsung South Africa: ‚Active technology will continue to hold a high market share and we believe that this technology will lead us to a future experience that is smart, innovative and essentially out of this world! The biggest difference between these two types of technologies, whose role is to provide 3D effects, is the overall quality of visuals displayed on the TV. This difference, coupled with various other additional aspects, all serve as important criteria for the consumer to understand and note, when looking to purchase a TV.‚

Taking a deeper look into each type of technology, the following key differences can be identified:


Ergonomically designed 3D glasses used for viewing purposes. Such glasses offer 3D viewing at any angle ‚ therefore offering comfort and ease of use. They require some sort of power to operate which is generally through batteries.

Sends out full frames on each eye sequentially, providing original picture quality at the full (100%) resolution.

Operates on a brightness contrast ratio of x2 resulting in efficient backlighting.

178° vertical viewing angle, allowing for minimal viewing limitations/restrictions from any height or angle.


Conventionally designed 3D glasses used for viewing purposes. For example, these are the types of glasses handed out at the movies. Such glasses are generally cheaper and do not require power to operate.

Filters right and left images being viewed by the eyes from a single frame of ‚patterned‚ film. This film divides the image into two, halving (50%) the resolution of the picture from its original source.

Operates on half the contrast ratio vs. active technology often resulting in excessive backlighting.

20° vertical viewing angle, allowing for effect viewing from certain viewing positions.

With projected forecasts of 23.4 million 3D TV unit shipments for 2011, it is evident that consumers are considering such TVs as a preferred entertainment option. It is therefore crucial that consumers understand the differences in the technologies used to provide such entertainment content, to allow for a solid purchase decision to be made.

‚Considering the above, active type technology is certainly the smart choice when it comes to getting the best immersive TV experience possible! It is for this reason that Samsung’s TV range is built upon active type technology, as we are committed to developing products based not only on the best standards, but ones that offer expert quality, are easy to use and are characterised by smart design as well as smart entertainment experiences,‚ concludes Labuschagne.

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