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Displays Build Hardware Technology

Has the 3-D Hype Bubble Finally Popped? 261

An anonymous reader writes "An article at Time speculates that the recent hype surrounding 3-D display technology has finally peaked and begun to subside. As evidence, they point to comments from Nintendo president Satoru Iwata, who does not seem particularly enthusiastic about it, and concedes it won't be a major selling point if the company continues to have 3-D enabled products in the future. He said, 'So, now we've created the 3DS and 3DS XL and also have some games out there that are really using that 3D effect that we can see, from my point of view, that it's an important element. But as human beings are this kind of surprise effect wears off quickly, and just [having] this 3D stereoscopic effect isn't going to keep people excited.' Revenue from 3-D films is also dropping, and while 3-D television sales are rising, only 14 percent of potential buyers think 3-D is a 'must have' feature."
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Has the 3-D Hype Bubble Finally Popped?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 14, 2012 @12:41PM (#40649275)

    being pumped in. There was a huge hole in it to begin with. There was just enough hot air being pushed in to somewhat inflate it, like a tire with a leak, so not really a pop so much as that leaking sound.

  • by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Saturday July 14, 2012 @12:41PM (#40649279)

    Now that we've had it for this generation (i.e. 2010) thankfully we won't have to worry about it until 2030 or so.

    Or until we have REAL 3D breakthrough where your can walk around a solid appearing image to see it from different perspectives, without glasses.

  • Hallelujah! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Koyaanisqatsi ( 581196 ) on Saturday July 14, 2012 @12:48PM (#40649333)

    Personally, I'm sick and tired of small theaters only offering you the 3D version of a given movie. I rather see it in normal 2D, without having to put up with dirty and inconvenient passive glasses, and dizziness in scenes with fast motion ...

    At home, for gaming, with a good TV and glasses things might be different, but I'm not much of a gamer myself to justify the extra expense.

  • Duh... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by multimediavt ( 965608 ) on Saturday July 14, 2012 @01:07PM (#40649503)

    and while 3-D television sales are rising

    Of course their sales are on the rise when there aren't many alternatives if you want a decent new TV. That's like saying TVs with digital tuners are on the rise, duh! 3D has some uses, but it's mostly another ploy by the manufacturers to keep their price points up by making it seem they are adding value to the device. Also, why they still put tuners in monitors (let's face it TVs are just big LCD monitors) by default these days is a little silly if you ask me.

  • by kasperd ( 592156 ) on Saturday July 14, 2012 @01:09PM (#40649517) Homepage Journal

    Or until we have REAL 3D breakthrough where your can walk around a solid appearing image to see it from different perspectives, without glasses.

    No pragmatic person will ask for such technology today. There is nothing wrong with researching, but it will take many years before we see any feasible technology for that.

    A more reasonable request is more standardized 3D glasses and better quality. There are many people who wear glasses all the time in order to be able to see anything at all. Glasses made for that are more comfortable to wear. Let's have 3D glasses that are as comfortable to wear as ordinary glasses. And let's have 3D glasses suitable for people who need glasses, such that those people don't have to wear two pair of glasses on top of each other in order to watch a 3D move. Fix those two things, and 3D technology will become more popular.

    I find 3D equipment for home usage to be less convincing than 3D equipment for the cinema. I still haven't seen any equipment for home usage moving away from active glasses. Produce an LCD with circular polarization for 3D, and I will be much more interested in buying it. Even more so if I can buy a good pair of 3D glasses for it, and use the same good pair of 3D glasses in the cinema.

  • by SternisheFan ( 2529412 ) on Saturday July 14, 2012 @01:57PM (#40649905)

    gotta keep up with the gimmicks. what do you want them to do, make better movies?

    Surely, you jest, sir. Most surely.

    Better movies! Where I find movies worth watching nowadays is on TMC. The movies made in the 30's, 40's and 50's. They may be old, but they're new to me. They have great involved plotlines, top-notch acting and directing, and some innovative (for the time in which they were made) camera direction. I can watch those old films all the way through, while most recent movies on dvd's I borrow from my library get ejected before they're halfway watched. Whiz-bang 3d/cgi means nothing after you've seen it a few times. Give me a good story that's believeably acted, and then I might actually pay theater prices to see it.

  • by Immostlyharmless ( 1311531 ) on Saturday July 14, 2012 @02:20PM (#40650079)
    Actually, No, the main use of 3D nowadays is to produce content that uses depth. With the exception of kids movies and horror flicks, hardly any of the new 3D movies has any of those atrocious 'coming out of the screen at you' gimmickry. Personally, I like seeing the depth in a film, Glad I was an early adopter.

    I think I'll wait to see what kind of sales are driven by the release of Titanic, the Pixar back catalog and a non exclusive release of avatar before I'd start going on about the death of 3D.
  • Groupthink? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Cyberax ( 705495 ) on Saturday July 14, 2012 @02:21PM (#40650083)
    So basically we have a groupthink "3D is uncool because I'm too cool to like it!" here.

    In reality, 3D movies are getting better and better. Some of the effects are much more pronounced in 3D and directors are starting to use them correctly. And in fact most people actually prefer 3D over 2D movies.
  • by descubes ( 35093 ) on Saturday July 14, 2012 @02:44PM (#40650227) Homepage

    3D, colour, surround sound, CGI, all of it are just tools for the storytellers to use to tell their story. We don't even think about colour in film, but it was a huge technical milestone for a lot more than just 'improving a character or story'.

    This is very true. 3D is a tool that has been abused initially (the "shrapnel flying towards you" another poster referred to). But 3D is also the normal way for us to see the world, so when done right, it enhances the suspension of disbelief []. However, it matters that you do it right. Just like color could be distracting when you had over saturated hues or bizarre skin tones [], 3D can break the immersion spell if not done right. On the other hand, if you do it right, it is transparent on the conscious level but ads realism and makes the story more believable.

    It's not just for movies either. At Taodyne, we brought 3D to interactive presentations. We have a kind of 3D interactive multimedia LaTeX called Tao Presentations []. In our experience, 3D presentations are something that people still remember one year after having seen them. Most people don't necessarily remember movies better when they are in 3D, but ask any kid in France about the 3D Haribo ad [], and chances are they remember it. The same is true for presentations. Showing models or charts in 3D gives them more impact.

    Another interesting effect of 3D for storytelling is that you can put more data on a screen without causing confusion. You can put things in front to draw attention, or in the background for things that are less important. You can create true 3D charts, where the depth ads another useful axis. And the Star Wars effect in real 3D is an interesting way to show data (it's a built-in demo of Tao Presentations).

    In short, 3D can be a gimmick. Or it can be used well and make a difference. It's all a matter of how you use it.

  • by pepty ( 1976012 ) on Saturday July 14, 2012 @02:48PM (#40650251)
    For viewing molecules, the easiest method is a cheat: many programs will rock the molecule back and forth on the vertical axis. You can keep the same part of the protein (active site, for instance) in view indefinitely while the rocking motion gives depth cues and it works pretty well even for people not sitting directly in front of the screen. I'd go with that; most protein visualisation and modeling software has it as an option and it will work on any display or projector.

    The other method that will work with any hardware is cross eyed or wall eyed stereo. It gives you much better depth perception and is much better if you are trying to dock/move molecules around each other onscreen. Unfortunately lots of people can't do one or the other (I find wall eyed difficult), or they get headaches. If you're viewing from off-center the problems get worse. Again, most protein visualisation software has the option.

    I used those active shutter goggles sometimes back in the '90s while modeling proteins on Silicon Graphics workstations. The whole process was so cumbersome that I just switched over to cross eyed stereo instead.

  • Re:Groupthink? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mashiki ( 184564 ) <> on Saturday July 14, 2012 @02:54PM (#40650291) Homepage

    No, this isn't groupthink. There's some of us who simply can't stand "3D" because it's a terrible technology that gives us splitting headaches and migraines. I just happen to be part of that crowd. Then again, the longer I watch it the close I move from headache to migraine, to: "Why am I on the floor and throwing up."

    Great stuff.

  • Re:Potential. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 14, 2012 @03:18PM (#40650457)

    I am an "Actual" buyer, having bought 3 TV's in the last 18 months (1 not for myself).

    1) Bedroom TV - 3D is no draw whatsoever. Neither me or the wife would wear 3-D glasses to bed
    2) Main TV - I splurged here, and got a top-line Plasma set. It does have 3-D, and we have 1 pair of glasses. Needless to say, we don't watch much 3-D content. I would have paid $100 or so to keep the 3-D, but if I could have saved $200 to skip it, I'm pretty sure I would have; my main draw would be 3-D games but I realized years ago I no longer have time to play video games
    3) Gift to in-laws - No 3-D, no in TV apps to confuse them.

    In addition, I'm consulting on my Dad's imminent TV purchase, he doesn't want 3-D and he's convinced on even the 3-D capable set (0 glasses, but he could add them if he wants) he's paying for 3-D and refuses. I'm trying to convince him the extra cost of the IR emmiter and 3-D circuits are negligible, and he wants this set for better black range, etc, but its an uphill struggle.

  • Re:Potential. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Divebus ( 860563 ) on Saturday July 14, 2012 @03:41PM (#40650565)

    I'm not sure how many "potential buyers" there were to start with. In the TV/Movie business, it was the set manufacturers and Hollywood driving the whole thing, not customer demand. Set manufacturers needed to start selling everyone a new TV, even though they just bought one. Hollywood had a new gimmick to sell movies, which they've tried before and it didn't stick then either.

    A few years ago at the NAB convention, you almost couldn't walk into a booth without being handed 3D glasses. The technologies were quite complex, like simply adding titles to any production, you now had to worry about the Z-space of the title. Camera settings were nuts to get the correct stereoptic convergence. Data storage and plant bandwidth demands went up. Displays looked dull because you had those stupid sunglasses on. You couldn't use today's common production techniques with rapid shot changes, camera angles, closeups mixed with medium shots, things going on and off screen - your eyeballs would unscrew and fall out of your head within minutes. It was headache inducing and everyone knew it.

    Back in the 1950s when the first popular run of 3D movies happened, the production was very different - more like a relatively static camera shooting a stage where the actors performed. The only current content creators starting to use 3D were either trying to differentiate themselves or trying to not appear left behind.

    The last NAB convention was very different. It was clear that 3D was swept into the back corner. It's still around if you want it, but they're done. When it comes back again, the displays will need to be much better and not require glasses, nor will the glasses-free displays require you to stand still in one of the 18 lanes which give you proper stereoptic perception.

  • by DrVomact ( 726065 ) on Saturday July 14, 2012 @09:23PM (#40652573) Journal

    Or until we have REAL 3D breakthrough where your can walk around a solid appearing image to see it from different perspectives, without glasses.

    No pragmatic person will ask for such technology today. There is nothing wrong with researching, but it will take many years before we see any feasible technology for that.

    Let me ask a more fundamental question: what would be the point of such a technology? I doubt whether this even qualifies as an item that should go on our wish list of "stuff I wish they would invent". Let's consider some of the possible uses for such a technology.

    I don't want to watch a drama in a fish tank. Think of Hamlet in your living room. (Let's just pretend we have a living room that would permit life-sized characters; a miniaturized Ophelia or King Claudius in a fish tank sized "screen" are too ridiculous on the face of it.) I suppose you could walk around and see the eponymous protagonist agonize from all angles. Maybe you could even walk between Hamlet and his father's ghost during that scene. Observe the theatrical fencing techniques in the fight scene from different angles. How much fun is that really going to be? After the first time. I suppose plays could be written that allow you to participate in them, but this has been done before (with real actors), and it's not much fun after the first time, either.

    What's true for plays is just as true for any dramatic entertainment—I don't understand how a movie would be better if it were shot in REAL 3D (in the OP's sense) as opposed to shown on a flat screen. It seems to me that seeing the action in a "fish tank" (no matter if it's a huge fish tank) would actually interfere with my ability to immerse myself in the action. (As, in fact, today's feeble 3D prevents immersion, at least in my case.)

    OK, how about games? There's more latitude here. Maybe a first-person shooter in a 3D environment would be cool. You and your friends could meet in each other's living rooms, with appropriate armor and armament superimposed by the software...hmm...this could be hard on the furniture as you throw yourself around to avoid incoming fire. Maybe you could play in special venues set up for this kind of thing. But wait, don't we have something like that already? It's called "Lasertag", I think. And if you have to travel to a special arena, how does the 3D thing help much? Hmm. There must be something I'm missing.

    It seems like the technology to project realistic 3D images anywhere you want to is bound to be useful. Literally hundreds of science fiction books tell us so. But caution should rule here—remember that before we all got cell phones, science fiction heroes were always rushing to the nearest "videophone booth" to make the call that would save the world. OK, if you look like Princess Leia, you could better use your feminine wiles to plead for the help of Obi Wan Kenobi if you could make a REAL 3D call. But other than you really want to turn on your REAL 3D scanner so that you and your friend can appear to be mutually sitting in each other's living rooms having a conversation? When a simple phone call would do?

    I'm not saying there wouldn't be a use for REAL 3D, but it's not making movies or phone calls. Maybe it would be nice for games, maybe a kind of game that hasn't been invented yet. But my imagination is not exactly coming up with lots of money making reasons for anyone to work on this technology. Of course, that's not the same as saying that there aren't any.

Make it myself? But I'm a physical organic chemist!