What does 3D ready mean? 3D Checklist

While I'm not a fan of 3D glasses and home theater 3D options currently, there are many who are.  Now before you make any purchase make sure you do your research.  The "3D Ready" stamp on your hardware doesn't necessarily mean it will do what you want.

Here's a simple checklist for 3D Display:

A Display
First, you'll need a 3D-ready display--whether it's a 3D HDTV, 3D projector, or 3D computer monitor. These displays have more processing power than standard 2D models for displaying 3D images in rapid succession.
A Source
Your display may be ready for 3D playback, but you'll still need a device to read 3D content. This can be a cable box with a subscription to a 3D channel, a 3D Blu-ray Disc player, or a PlayStation 3 system.
3D Content
3D content--the actual entertainment, in other words--will be played back using the source mentioned above, whether it's a 3D broadcast from your cable provider, a 3D Blu-ray Disc, or a 3D video game.
3D Glasses
For now, the vast majority of 3D HDTVs require glasses for 3D viewing. Many use powered "active shutter" glasses, others polarized "passive" glasses. You'll need one pair per viewer, and they'll have to be compatible with your display, whether they're the same brand, or a pair of "universal" glasses designed to work across brands.
HDMI Cable
To connect your source (such as a 3D Blu-ray Disc player) to your display, you'll need a high-speed HDMI cable. Cables with this designation feature bandwidth speeds up to 10.2 Gbps (gigabits per second), for carrying the 3D signal without any loss of quality.

How does it work?

Simply put, a 3D display works by using some technology (it doesn’t matter what the technology is, but there are multiple technologies) so that it can deliver a unique image to the left and right eye of the viewer. The images that are sent to each eye are meant to correspond to the left and right eye perspective of the same scene so as to trick your brain into believing that it is actually perceiving this scene in 3D. This works because our visual cortex uses visual cues from the slightly different perspective we get from the image from each eye so as to reconstruct a 3-dimensional understanding of our view.

Is 3D ready actually ready?

Right now, 3D projectors and televisions are simply lumped together and called "3D Ready." For the consumer, this is not helpful or informative. The confusion surrounding 3D technology causes consumers to buy products which cannot display some of the most important 3D formats, then buy conversion tools to bring these products into compliance. In the future, we would like to see more descriptive information about 3D format compatibility. Instead of a badge labeled "3D Ready," we would like to see a badge that says "3D Frame Packing Compatible" or "Total 3D Compatibility." Vague assertions of 3D compliance without the details do the consumer a disservice.

This is something that I think everyone of you guys should be aware of before you go looking to buy a 3D TV. Not all 3D Ready TVs come with a method to display 3D content. This is especially true of TVs and monitors sold in the last couple of years as 3D ready. These displays have the required refresh rate of 120 Hz or higher, but they lack any active shutterglass integration or the ability to use polarized glasses to view 3D content.
So how in the world do you use them for 3D content? Well, in the case of those particular displays you will need to buy separate hardware involving shutterglasses and a syncing unit that connects to the TV and also communicated with your glasses. This means additional costs for you. However with the new range of 3D Tvs that are on the horizon, this shouldn’t be something to worry about as almost all 3D Ready TVs should come with a syncing and 3D processing unit integrated with the TV along with a pair of complementary 3D glasses. However, consider yourself warned, so make sure to check up on exactly what your 3D Ready TV actually comes with as there might be some unscrupulous manufacturers who try to take advantage of customers in this manner.

In conclusion,

Despite the compatibility issues we see today, there are some encouraging factors that make the future look brighter. 3D content is beginning to appear. With the release of Blu-ray 3D, the first few movies are beginning to trickle out, marking the beginning of the 3D film content flood that is sure to follow. Along with emerging content, transmission format standards have been finalized. The HDMI 1.4 protocols have been codified, including 1.4a on March 10, which defined mandatory 3D formats for movies, games, and broadcast. With protocols established, manufacturers can now create products that comply with industry standards.

There is an array of new 3D video products that are on their way to market right now and in develpment. Despite my misgivings on the subject, 3D technology is an exciting development for both the industry and the consumer.  I prefer to wait until the technology is perfected before investing.

Just be aware that the "3D Ready" claim on the products you see today does not guarantee compatibility with the 3D sources you may want to hook them up to.  Make sure your not wasting your money pissed off and saying "oops!"..............