- Written by Stephen Hornbrook and Chris Heinonen
- Published on 29 September 2011
The LG 55LW5600 55" 3D Edge Lit LED LCD HDTV
Since I haven’t had much experience with 3D displays at home, checking out some 3D content was most pertinent. First up was IMAX Under the Sea, a collection of underwater life and scenery. It took a minute for my eyes to adjust but one they did the 3D effect was fairly solid. Some shots had too much activity happening “in front” of the TV and this made focusing more difficult. Unfortunately, this is also where we first noticed the downside of a passive 3D system. Each eye can only see 1920x540 pixels, and so you are losing half of the horizontal resolution in every frame. This was easily noticeable on any angles, as you have very visible aliasing, or stair-stepping, caused by the lack of resolution and inability to correct for it. The active retarder anomalies continued to pop up as we viewed other content, it may not bother everyone, but it was a bit distracting for us.
Next up was Resident Evil: Afterlife, a film shot natively with 3D cameras, not with a post-process 2D to 3D conversion. The images were slick and the 3D effects certainly added to the entertainment factor. However, the look of the film was very artificial. In fact, it felt like I was watching a video game. The LG set has a frame creating mode called True-Motion, which creates new frames of video in order to smooth out the image. Some people like this; I however, cannot stand it. Watching 3D content looked very much like True-Motion was turned on, but when going to the menu, it said it was turned off. After a bit of research, it was discovered that the LG processes all 3D signals at 60 frames per second. So in the case of film material shot at 24 fps, the LG was smoothing out the image with added frames of video. Unfortunately, there is no way to currently turn off this feature.
When watching a bit of Tron Legacy, the same 60 fps smoothness was just too distracting to fully enjoy the visuals. The 3D effect tended to make me feel more like I was watching something fake. I never had that feeling of immersion, like I was looking through a window. Additionally, the heavy use of CG and bright colors on black backgrounds made the aliasing very apparent.
Where 3D really shines in my opinion, is with video games. Your brain already knows it is looking at something fake and computer generated, so it is not fighting with reality. I find it easier to get lost in the made up world of a video game that with 3D images of real life. We played Killzone 3 on the PS3 and although some detail, resolution and frame rate was lost compared to the 2D version, the game looked fantastic and everyone in the room was wowed by the 3D experience. The same went for Wipeout HD and we all felt this was the only way Wipeout was meant to be played.
Aside from exceptional 3D movies like Avatar, for me the future of 3D is definitely in the world of video games. There are more possibilities with how you interact and the level of immersion with games than with movies. Devices like Kinect are already recording your movements in 3D so it seems like a natural progression that the images you are interacting with would be 3D as well.
As a 3D gaming display, the LW5600 did a very good job. It’s passive system allowed 8 people in the room to partake in the experience, and a fine experience it was.
Since most viewing is still going to be done in 2D, we watched some other content on the display as well. Baraka is still as detailed as almost any Blu-ray disc can be, and on the LG it looked very nice. Post-calibration the images were very natural and while some might feel it lacked a bit of “pop” that other displays can generate, at times it almost felt like looking at a window with how accurate it appeared. If you got too close to the screen, the Retarder would often be visible as imparting a bit of texture to the image, taking you away from the “looking through a window” feeling that shots could otherwise have.
The Blu-ray version of Casablanca looked wonderful as well. With the grayscale corrected for, the black and white image looked very good without a red or blue tint to it. While not the sharpest image available, the details from the classic film came out and the windowbox bars vanished thanks to the adaptive edge-lighting of the LG display. While passive 3D might have had some issues with resolution, there was none of that with 2D and the resulting image looked great, provided you were not close enough to see the Retarder texture.