Is 3D TV ready for the main stream? With all the 3D hype with movies showing only in 3D and a dozen of new 3D TV models it seams so. While magazines and newspapers warn users to wait a bit longer for standards to form and for prices to drop, some users already enjoy their 3D movies and 3D sport in their living rooms.
But I’m on the skeptical side. And some are as well.
Two questions that come to my mind are:
1. Is 3D TV ready?
Looking at the history. When stereo came out, it sometimes produced awful results switching sound from left to right. When coloured TVs came out, the colour schemas were awful. When first flat screen TVs came out, they were not really close to CRTs quality wise. Is this the stage of a 3D TV now? Probably. And it will sure improve. There are a few problems to be solved first. Quite a few people reported headaches and eye problems after watching 3D movies. Maybe some of these can be caused by constant changing of depth and angles that work well in 2D, but not in 3D. But there are other problems with 3D video.
Creating a stereoscopic video that would not cause these problems is maybe harder than just converting a 2D into a 3D. A 3D adds a depth, however it is realistic only in a "sweet spot". E.g. an image with a person in front of the house will look the same no matter where the viewer moves, while in real world viewer sees the person and the house from different angles. This makes brain work harder which happens also with a 2D (if watched from an angle) but way less than with 3D. Another problem is that depth is produced by double image and glasses. The glasses cause the right eye seeing only the left of double image and vice versa. But when the object moves on the edge of the screen one of the images disappears before the other. This happens in real world as well with objects we watch at, if eyes are moved to the edge, but never for objects in front of us. Which is weird and makes brain work harder. This is the reason why IMAX theaters have "endless" screens.
Another study showed that "that 3D works by tricking the brain into making you think you are physically moving
in relation to your surroundings. But you aren’t. So your inner ear is
not experiencing the movement that corresponds to what the eyes are
seeing." So if eyes like the 3D, brain doesn’t. This causes nausea and the public was already advised that Nintendo 3DS shouldn’t be used by children under 7.
2. Will 3D TV replace 2D?
Looking at the history again. VHS was replaced with a DVD and the latter is slowly replaced by a Blue Ray. BW CRT TVs were replaced with coloured CRTs and than with LCDs. Now is even hard to find a non HD ready TV. So technology changes, improves and we as consumers are ALSO FORCED to buy new gadgets. New movies are impossible to be found on VHS tapes and new music on cassettes. Although there are niche markets for some of the old technology.
So will 3D TV replace 2D companions? Above examples added an extra value/user experience/benefit for users to adopt them for a low cost. Can 3D TV do the same? Several technologies had all these but still did not catch on (remember mini disk??). Maybe because the hype was not so prominent and such technologies became obsolete.
Another thing are glasses. Some people say that glasses are a major obstacle in adopting 3D TV. Who would like to put on and off glasses for watching TV. But many people wear (regular or sun) glasses with no complaining. This is similar to say: "people will not want to use headphones to listen to the music". IMO glasses aren’t really a problem. And parallax might be a solution. But again, it can produce a real 3D only in one "sweet spot" (of which Nintendo 3DS takes advantage of, but this is not possible with TVs as we watch them from different angles).
As I said I’m on the skeptical side. Maybe our brains can be trained to some of these 3D video problems (nausea, headaches) which will cause wider adoption of this technology. And I also believe that we will have holographic technology one day. But 3D TV is not ready for the mainstream. However, I might be wrong.