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Television Hardware Entertainment

Hot Or Not — 3D TV 419

Several sources have written to tell us that in terms of hype at this year's CES show, there is none bigger than that surrounding 3D TV. Sony, Panasonic, Samsung, LG, and Toshiba all have their own flavors of hardware and ESPN announced a 3D sports channel, but Microsoft seems to be bucking the trend with their apparent lack of 3D interest surrounding the Xbox product. "We're yet to see any major brand at CES pushing a 3D TV that doesn't require them. In most cases these aren't the basic Ray Ban style you might have worn to watch Avatar. In many cases they'll actually require power. For example, Sony's 3D TVs use a 'frame sequential' display method, which involves active-shutter glasses that turn on and off in sync with the images. Some TVs come with the glasses and have the transmitter built in, but again, in some cases you'll need to buy the transmitter and glasses separately."
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Hot Or Not — 3D TV

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  • by Change ( 101897 ) on Friday January 08, 2010 @03:27PM (#30698544)

    When watching 3D movies, I tend to go cross-eyed and get a headache very quickly. I think it's because everything I'm seeing is on the same focal plane, but my eyes attempt to adjust for parallax based on different apparent distances of objects. I had to walk out of Avatar 3D after about 10 minutes, I just could not watch it like that. Does anyone else experience this?

  • by fredjh ( 1602699 ) on Friday January 08, 2010 @03:28PM (#30698560)

    We just got two 3D monitors from Hyundai, one smaller one that goes in the production area, and a huge one to show to clients. The networks, especially the ones that generate a lot of their own content, are scrambling for 3D content... not necessarily because they want to push it, but because everyone is scared to be left behind.

    The Hyundai monitors use passive glasses, and the image is quite good. I can see 3D, especially with passive glasses (where you can buy replacements or extras for reasonable prices), really taking off.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 08, 2010 @03:31PM (#30698584)

    My experience is that if you continue to watch past those 10 min, you get used to it.

  • Re:Active glasses? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TheKidWho ( 705796 ) on Friday January 08, 2010 @03:32PM (#30698612)

    How do you polarize the image from a conventional LCD without significantly reducing contrast ratios and brightness during non 3D viewing?

  • They Have A Point... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TooManyNames ( 711346 ) on Friday January 08, 2010 @03:40PM (#30698722)
    Really, if your 3D TV requires powered glasses in order to experience 3D viewing, why not just get rid of the TV altogether and simply display slightly offset images on each lens of a pair of glasses? I doubt that cost would be an issue seeing as how video glasses seem to be available for under $200 (it would take a lot of people viewing to overcome the cost of the 3D TV + TV glasses). It obviously can't be related to a communal viewing experience as everyone viewing the 3D TV will need glasses anyway.

    At least with polarized glasses the power requirement is gone but still, since some form of eyewear is required anyway, why not just get rid of the TV altogether? Is it just because you'll still be able to watch 2D without the glasses?

    Don't get me wrong, the prospects look interesting, but it just seems like holding onto the TV for no other purpose than being able to manufacture large and expensive displays.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 08, 2010 @03:40PM (#30698724)

    We left Avatar after 45 minutes. I wear glasses, so the extra glasses sat too far away from my eyes making focusing on the film quite hard. Wearing two pairs of glasses isn't exactly comfortable either. The reason we left though, was because my girlfriend (who wears glasses as well) got nauseous and had to throw up.

    I won't be seeing films in this pseudo-3D in the cinemas any more any time soon.

  • Re:I don't get it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JumperCable ( 673155 ) on Friday January 08, 2010 @03:41PM (#30698736)

    I agree, 3D imagery in Avatar turned out to be primarily "blurry vision" with some parts that jump out at you. And the stuff that does jump out at you, isn't all that important. I'd rather see crisp clear video without the gimmicky distractions.

    I suspect the movie & TV industry are attempting to find a way to provide unique content to keep people going to movie theaters instead of just watching it at home on TV. And the TV industry wants to find a way to beat out the downloaders with unique better quality content they are not likely to reproduce right away.

    The content will indeed be unique, but I don't think the public will be as intrigued by to than anymore more than the occasional novelty. 3D will never go beyond that until they learn how to use it in a seamless non-distracting way.

  • by CyberLord Seven ( 525173 ) on Friday January 08, 2010 @03:43PM (#30698768)
    You might be right, but I think they are just following the recent trend in movie theaters

    Movie theaters must move to 3-D! Television screens and sound systems are approaching the point where the theater experience has nothing to really offer the viewer. 3-D gives us a reason to go to the theater.

    Totally anecdotal, but my wife actually went with me to see Avatar twice! We usually wait for movies to be released on DVD before we see it a second time if it was any good. We don't have 3-D so we must go to the theater.

    With the popularity of 3-D soaring this last year - it was not just Avatar, there were many good 3-D movies: Monsters Vs. Aliens, Up and probably some more I don't remember right now - the television manufacturers AND the cable stations will all want to jump on the band-wagon.

    Will it work?

    At first thought it seems like the 21st Century version of quadraphonics to me, especially if I have to wear dorky glasses with a cable! The glasses I saw on the news this morning had a cable. That ain't gonna' wash with me or anyone I know.

  • I found, when watching Avatar, that it was important to look where the director wants you to look. Real cameras have real focal distances, so you can't look wherever you want and expect to be able to get everything in focus. Up was an easier viewing experience, but with a less extreme 3D effect.

  • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <> on Friday January 08, 2010 @03:51PM (#30698890) Homepage

    Good point. It's like TV manufacturers are getting so good at driving the price down that their products are becoming actually cheap, so they have to find a way to bump the price back up. One of the things that I've noticed starting to creep in is Internet connections directly on your TV. I can see the value if your TV had built-in Netflix streaming, but I get the sense that they're moving more towards something like, "You'll be able to see eBay ads directly on your TV!"

    I often look at this stuff and think, "Who wants these features?" But I guess it's a marketing thing. They make you buy the super-high-end 60" TV to get the 5-day weather forecast on your TV, but then they also force you to accept the 5-day weather forecast if you want a big TV with good black levels. Yeah, I know, you can ignore the weather forecast, but it still makes the menu systems and remotes needlessly complicated. It's hard to find something that has the right balance of features.

  • by Zen-Mind ( 699854 ) on Friday January 08, 2010 @03:59PM (#30699034)
    My brain IS medically incapable of 3D. I suffer from a condition called amblyopia and therefore can rarely percieve any 3D effect no matter the technology; to be honnest I probably don't see the real world in 3D either. However, for some reason, I have rather good depth perception, probably adapted over the years since I suffer from amblyopia since I was born. So I'm also part of the group that is totally indifferent to all this 3D hype beside the fact that I fear overall image quality might go down because people will put effort in the 3D.
  • Re:Active glasses? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by XDirtypunkX ( 1290358 ) on Friday January 08, 2010 @04:20PM (#30699326)

    More expensive yes, but the glasses are cheaper and a much easier sell if they're passive.

    As to the second point, you can change the polarization at a pixel level. Because of this, you can display two images simultaneously and avoid flickering completely.

    The iZ3D monitors vary the polarization per pixel so a particular pixel can be seen more or less by each eye - so you have a single brightness (per color element per pixel). This gives you the full resolution, but gives you a ghosting effect as pixels can bleed into each other and has problems with angle changes.

    The Hyundai monitors use a cheaper/simpler system that only does filtering by rows, similar to an interlaced TV signal. This means you get effective half horizontal resolution.

  • by ottothecow ( 600101 ) on Friday January 08, 2010 @04:20PM (#30699328) Homepage
    Although I have noticed that the price of computer displays seems to have fallen a lot more than TVs.

    If not for the issue of lacking a tuner (I actually don't mind using an external tuner as it often makes setup with a reciever and other inputs simpler when the TV is nothing more than a dumb monitor), a computer monitor would be perfect for what I want. I don't want speakers (the stereo has them), I don't want internet junk (the computer/xbmc/other appliance has that), I just want a screen. It just seems like I can get much better deals on computer monitors from slickdeals than I can on comparatively (or slightly larger since they need to accept only a few standard input resolutions which should save some money sized TVs.

    Another side note...I might actually like to buy a CRT HDTV but they are all but gone now (without the old ones showing up on the used market yet) of the moderate sized, not very deep ones...even an "HD-Ready". It seems like I would never have to worry about 720p vs 1080i vs 1080p if I had one that worked like every CRT computer screen I have owned (and just supported it all natively). I don't really need the flat panel aspect...newer CRTs were pretty narrow and my reciever/amp unit needs a fair amount of depth so the LCD doesn't really save space.

  • by kevinl ( 38843 ) on Friday January 08, 2010 @04:21PM (#30699354) Homepage

    No, cost is a big issue, along with ergonomics.
    The active shutter glasses are pretty cheap and simple. They are basically a one-pixel display for each eye, where the pixel switches between clear and opaque.

    Contrast this to your idea, which amounts to a miniaturized 1080p display per eye, per user. Your glasses would much larger, much more expensive, and would consume much more power. They also make it impossible see anything in the viewing room. You can still look around when wearing the active shutter glasses.

    Keeping the TV also has the nontrivial benefit of using it to watch 2D content...

  • Re:Active glasses? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dahamma ( 304068 ) on Friday January 08, 2010 @04:59PM (#30699940)

    I totally agree that active shutter glasses are a hard sell, and I don't think there is any way they will become mainstream in the living room... but the cost to manufacture a polarized LCD display for a large screen TV is WAY more than the cost to make a couple active shutter glasses (and glasses don't even have to affect the TV margin much, since they could be sold separately after including 1-2 with the TV, just like game console controllers).

    This is especially true given that the hardware changes for the display with active shutters is fairly trivial - just take an existing TV/panel that can do 480Hz, add a cheap RF transmitter, and the rest is firmware/software. That's why these TVs are coming out so quickly, potentially in whatever size the manufacturers already have.

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