Samsung & LG Clash Over Active Shutter Vs FPR Passive 3D TV Technology

Jonathan Sutton

Samsung and LG Electronics, the top two LCD TV manufacturers in the world, are embroiled in a fierce battle to promote their respective choice of 3D technology for the year ahead. Although 3D TV sales have been sluggish in 2010, TV makers believe that 2011 will be a watershed year for 3D due to increased availability of extra-dimensional content and more affordable prices, so it’s entirely understandable that the market leaders are keen to talk up the technology used in their forthcoming 3D-capable HDTV models.


Seoul-headquartered LG is banking on its proprietary FPR (film patterned retarder) 3D LCD technology to make inroads into the 3D television market which has thus far been dominated by sets employing active-shutter glasses (ASG) technology. Labelling them as the next-generation of 3D TVs, the company claims that its FPR-based offerings cause less eye strain and fatigue among viewers than their active-shutter counterparts, mainly owing to their “flicker-free” status which has been independently verified by respected test labs TUV and Intertek.

But at its core, FPR is simply polarized/ passive 3D display technology, similar to that used in 3D theatres – LG even adopted a moniker of “Cinema 3D” for its FPR-equipped range. While this grants owners access to cheaper, lighter and more comfortable 3D glasses, whether or not its resultant 3D picture quality can match up to the 3D full HD resolution delivered by ASG models remains to be seen.

As expected, LG’s fellow Korean rival Samsung immediately issued statements to defend its corner. Besides calling FPR technology “outdated”, and championing ASG’s ability to render full HD resolution in 3D mode, Samsung’s TV division chief Yoon Boo-keun said during a press conference that the company has redesigned its 3D glasses to make them more comfortable to wear for a longer period of time. Obviously convinced that his company’s offerings are superior, he was even bold enough to ask consumers to buy both FPR and ASG-based 3DTVs, and compare the specifications.

This week LG started selling its LW5700 range of FPR 3D LED LCDs (including the 42-inch 42LW5700 and 47-inch 47LW5700) in Korea, with a global roll-out scheduled for March. Samsung is due to unveil their 2011 flat-screen HDTV range this month, with emphasis on 3D and “Smart TV” capabilities.