By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY, NSW: Just when you thought it was safe to turn on the TV, a new format battle has emerged, this time focused on whether LCD or plasma is best for 3D technology.

Last Friday, Panasonic Australia fired the first shot, declaring that, “Plasma is the ideal technology platform for 3D. Not only does it offer better image response, but deeper blacks provide superior contrast and a wider viewing angle ensures the 3D image is uncompromised.”

Paul Reid, director of Panasonic’s consumer electronics group, backed this up by revealing that Panasonic’s 3D offering will be restricted to its plasma panels. Panasonic does also produce LCD panels.

The one major supplier who only produces LCD, Sony, responded this week, with technology communications manager Paul Colley explaining why he thinks LCD is the preferred technology for 3D.

His hypothesis is based on the speed of LCD. Because both Panasonic and Sony’s 3D technology is based on separate images being produced for the left and right eyes, with an active shutter in the eyeware simultaneously opening and blocking one of the lenses, Colley said the speed of LCD gives it an advantage.

“The reality is, when you’re doing a left and a right frame, you’re actually halving the amount of time the image is on the screen for, and because you’re reducing the amount of time the image is on the screen for, that means that TVs will need to be able to perform to a shorter refresh time,” explained Colley.

“The benefit of LCD is that we already have the 200Hz technology, so we can manage that short frame time, and we can use that time also to eliminate the cross between left and right fields.”

Colley also raised the issue of polarisation. In LCD, this occurs at the TV end of the content delivery, whereas with plasma it occurs at the eyeware. Colley said this last method causes flickering, with the line of sight around the television appearing blurred.

On the other hand, Panasonic claim that 3D on LCD cannot be watched from horizontal angles, such as when one is lying on the couch. This claim was put to Colley, but he said that he had not tested this on Sony’s TVs yet.