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The Joke Known As 3D TV 594

harrymcc writes "I'm at IFA in Berlin — Europe's equivalent of the Consumer Electronics Show — and the massive halls are dominated by 3D TVs made by everyone from Sony, Samsung, and Panasonic to companies you've never heard of. The manufacturers seem pretty excited, but 3D has so many downsides — most of all the lousy image quality and unimpressive dimensionality effect — that I can't imagine consumers are going to go for this. 'As a medium, 3D remains remarkably self-trivializing. Virtually nobody who works with it can resist thrusting stuff at the camera, just to make clear to viewers that they’re experiencing the miracle of the third dimension. When Lang Lang banged away at his piano during Sony’s event, a cameraman zoomed in and out on the musical instrument for no apparent reason, and one of the company’s representatives kept robotically shoving his hands forward. Hey, it’s 3D — watch this!'"
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The Joke Known As 3D TV

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  • thrusting (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 04, 2010 @08:16PM (#33478274)
    the first post at the camera
    • Re:thrusting (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MDMurphy ( 208495 ) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @08:34PM (#33478404)

      Thrusting is right. ( Though I usually refer to 3-D as "throwing shit at your face")

      You can spot a commercial for almost every 3-D movie right away, even watching in 2D with no foreknowledge. You'll see spears, birds, balls anything that moves rapidly moving towards you, stopping just short of hitting the screen.

      As with B&W movies, or even silent films, that survive and entertain today, it's about the content, not the technology. New features can possibly enhance the experience, but a crap show is a crap show, regardless if it's in HD, surround sound and 3-D.

      • Re:thrusting (Score:4, Insightful)

        by negRo_slim ( 636783 ) <> on Saturday September 04, 2010 @08:47PM (#33478466) Homepage
        Regardless of bells and whistles technique can still be refined.
      • Re:thrusting (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Metasquares ( 555685 ) <slashdot@metasquared. c o m> on Saturday September 04, 2010 @08:57PM (#33478526) Homepage
        We're in the "blue LED phase" of 3D right now, where everyone is using it just because it's new. Once the novelty wears off it will start to be used more sensibly. Although I'd argue that we still haven't reached that point with blue LEDs either :)
        • Re:thrusting (Score:4, Interesting)

          by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @09:11PM (#33478626)

          We're in the "blue LED phase" of 3D right now, where everyone is using it just because it's new. Once the novelty wears off it will start to be used more sensibly. Although I'd argue that we still haven't reached that point with blue LEDs either :)

          Yeah. A couple of years ago at work we installed a new HP inkjet printer in our department. It went into its internal diagnostic/setup rouitne, and a bright blue LED started going back and forth like a demented Cylon. We all stared at it in awe, until it finally stopped. Then one of the guys reached out and pressed the self-test button again.

          However, I'd argue that 3D movies have already gotten past the blue LED phase. Certainly Cameron's Avatar was a highly engrossing (both to the viewer and the bottom line) film even without the 3D, and without throwing somebody's yo-yo in your face (like "Journey to the Center of the Earth", which was nothing but a vehicle to show off 3D effects and little else.) Of course, few filmmakers are of Cameron's caliber, and many just depend upon special effects to try and carry the day (yeah, Mr. Lucas, I'm lookin' at you.)

          • Re:thrusting (Score:5, Insightful)

            by awtbfb ( 586638 ) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @10:40PM (#33479102)

            However, I'd argue that 3D movies have already gotten past the blue LED phase. Certainly Cameron's Avatar was a highly engrossing (both to the viewer and the bottom line) film even without the 3D, and without throwing somebody's yo-yo in your face ...

            I've been telling people that Cameron got Avatar "right" in terms of 3D exactly for this reason. There is such a stark contrast between it and other 3D movies in that there were only a couple scenes where it was clear they were showing off the 3D. Even those had reasons where the scene kind of made sense (like refocusing on near/far during the diary videos). I think Avatar will be a real benchmark in 3D strictly because it shows you can do well with 3D without being an eye-poker movie. It will be interesting to see how many other directors learn from Cameron's willingness to try to do it right.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by ScrewMaster ( 602015 )

              It will be interesting to see how many other directors learn from Cameron's willingness to try to do it right.

              Oh, I suspect they will. Right now they're still playing on the novelty aspect of 3D motion pictures (even though they've been around, in one form or another, for decades.)

  • Hahah. They're too scared to *not* put out a crappy product.
    • by anguirus.x ( 1463871 ) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @08:19PM (#33478300)
      Even if they can tell, obviously, that these 1st-gen 3DTVs are a bust, they can't afford to risk missing out on carving out market share right now. Now is the time to make their brand synonymous with 3D TV. The trick will be avoiding being the brand associated with the failings of the first generation.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I agree. I think we are looking at a Laser Disk or BetaMax situation here. Either it's going to establish an under-served dedicated niche market that will be viewed in the future as cutting edge pioneering technology, or it's going to establish an under-served dedicated niche market that is going become a laughing stock despite being cutting edge pioneering technology. Either way, this generation of 3D is never going to go mainstream.

      • But how many folks are actually gonna buy this crap, assuming the industry doesn't collude and just stop making non 3D TVs? Hell I still have plenty of customers on regular SD sets because to their glasses wearing peepers that is plenty "good enough" and those I know that have gone HD seem to be just happy as clams with the upscaled SD they get from their cable and DVD players.

        With the economy starting to smell like a corpse in the sun I just don't see many folks jumping on the 3D bandwagon. I mean sure you

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          I suspect that "victory" if there is one, in 3D displays will take one of two forms:

          Either R&D will grind along, driven by a mixture of long term optimism and the occasional big simulator/data-visualization/etc. contract, until they eventually hit on something genuinely Good which will then be accepted. Or(and I suspect this is more likely):

          Victory will, eventually, be conceded to whatever 3D tech's panel, interconnect, and data storage requirements are most similar to those of the 2D market, and
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Voyager529 ( 1363959 )

            While I agree with most of your post, I feel the need to get pedantic on one point...

            Think back to the early days of USB: Slow, virtually nothing to plug in to it and what there was was buggy, not even supported by the OSes that most people were running; but Intel put it in their chipsets, so it cost the motherboard maker peanuts to drop the passives and the connector on the board. Everybody had it before anybody cared.

            In the early days of USB, the choices were either serial (really really slow), parallel (regular slow), or SCSI (fast, but expensive, and manual mapping wasn't for the faint of heart). They all required reboots after installing things, and the number of expansion ports were quite limited. I remember sharing the serial port between my mouse and my Cybiko. Keyboard only syncing taught the keyboard commands REAL fast!

            USB was i

  • SCTV is on the air! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Latent Heat ( 558884 ) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @08:17PM (#33478284)
    Was that a recurrent, annoying joke of the late John Candy on the SCTV comedy show, where he was constantly thrusting his hands towards the camera to highlight the 3D effect? The parent post is reality imitating art.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    3D TV reminds me of BluRay or HDTV. They're all marketed as the next big thing but all they do is make
    it a bit prettier. What about spending more money on making it a better story? Making it prettier does
    not make it better, it makes it prettier. Its only a distraction from the plot not an enhancement
    and its only the stupid who fall for it but then they are just as likely to be impressed by a piece of
    shiny foil.

    Its worse than PhysX for games. At least that could be used to enhance gameplay but all they seem

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hedwards ( 940851 )
      To an extent, but the poor quality of things like say falling rain and breaking glass has a tendency to stretch the ability of the player to suspend his disbelief. Likewise, high quality effects tend to lend themselves to more cooperation on the part of the viewer. I remember reading something recently that we tend to notice poor video quality more when we're not fully engaged in the movie.

      That being said, the thing is that we've always had poor quality movies and games, it's a question of what's availab
    • by Jackie_Chan_Fan ( 730745 ) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @09:40PM (#33478818)

      Dont equate Blu-ray with 3D TV...

      1920x1080p Blu-Ray Discs are incredible. I would never want to watch 720x486 NTSC SD interlaced footage EVER again. I work in post production/special fx, so i'm a videophile.

      3D is a gimmick, but resolution is not a gimmick. Resolution is very important. Just turn on any HDTV sports broadcast and compare it to old SD sports broadcasts... Its not even choice, you have to watch the HDTV broadcast because the SD is just so pathetic.

      Resolution increases are not the only benefit of Blu-Ray or HDTV... but also improved sound streams, uncompressed audio streams etc.

      So support Blu-Ray... get out there and buy them because many HDTV cable/sat providers over compress their HD signals, and anything streamed over the net is equally over compressed. The best way to get a nice high bitrate, clean 1080p video is still on a disc. If we let Blu-Ray die... we let mediocre, sub par quality win.

      • by Skreems ( 598317 ) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @10:00PM (#33478936) Homepage
        I've got bad news for you... most of us don't care at all, and will take immediate delivery over resolution any day.
      • by PitaBred ( 632671 ) <slashdot AT pitabred DOT dyndns DOT org> on Saturday September 04, 2010 @10:16PM (#33479018) Homepage

        Buy Blu-Ray? Because DRM is good for everyone! Blu-Ray is shit that happens to have high resolution. If they had some kind of high-res format without the DRM, I'd be all over it.

      • by udippel ( 562132 ) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @11:07PM (#33479254)

        1920x1080p Blu-Ray Discs are incredible. I would never want to watch 720x486 NTSC SD interlaced footage EVER again. I work in post production/special fx, so i'm a videophile.

        That's one of the troubles with the world of today. Some people get their kicks just from the resolution of the image. Go to any TV-electronics parlor. People will be excited about the crisp picture, the brilliant colours. Whenever I go there, I am infinitely bored with the crappy movies. And then I go home, and watch 720x486 NTSC SD interlaced with an enormous pleasure; Bunuel, Hitchcock, Marx Brothers. Even Kubrick's 2001 is great fun, in PAL. Murnau's Nosferatu (I guess, not more than 300x200 effective resolution) sends more shivers down my spine than Kinski's remake, even if it were in 1080p.
        Because it is the art; not the resolution that counts.

        YMMV, though.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          WTF does art have to do with HD res of SD res. That's a straw man if I ever saw one.

          HD res of crap film = still crap film.
          HD res of good film = better than SD res of good film.

          So there are old films that will never be in HD, and many new HD releases are intrinsically bad films. Are you so blinkered to think that 'the world of today' will never produce new movies as good or better as the old classics?

          HD wins every time, only issue is budget.

          • by udippel ( 562132 ) on Sunday September 05, 2010 @04:48AM (#33480434)

            Of course you are right if you take my words literally, and to that extent.
            However, if you care to infer the message, it is about the focus with which movies are shot. There is only that much of funding, and in these days, I'm afraid, the average investor is more concerned about resolution and brilliance (of the shots), than in the artistic quality of the undertaking. And all this 'over-technisised' appreciation of the audience will actually lead to movies being shunned because of a perceived lower technical quality, despite of potentially higher artistic quality.
            I personally have overheard people who refuse to buy any non-BlueRay movie, because "Blue Ray is the future". Content seems to disappear behind technicalities, including for the consumer.
            And if you please read the message of the OP, I would never want to watch 720x486 NTSC SD interlaced footage EVER again., you might understand my urge to point out what a nonsense this implies. And that one was modded +5, Informative. I was only trying to say, that my primary argument for selecting a movie is its artistic content; not its resolution.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)


              I've work in film, tv and videogame production as a 3d animator. I've also worked on two pilots for television, one of which is in talks right now with a major studio.

              Film investors do not sit around and say "The story isnt great, but what matters is, what resolution are you going to shoot this?"

              That doesnt happen. EVERYONE working in major production right now and in the past, has been working with material that produces resolutions well over home delivery capabilities. Film stock itself can easily be

  • This latest crop of 2D-to-3D technology is best used in 5-minute amusement park rides, where all the other 3D tech belongs. At best, it provides a few cool moments during the action scenes. At worst, you have a headache after too many blurry shapes try to trick your brain into seeing depth that isn't there and have to stop watching.

  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @08:24PM (#33478346)
    The early days of stereo audio are known as the ping pong days because of the vocals and instruments bouncing back and forth between the two channels. If you listen to, for example, some of the early Beatles recordings, you'll hear the ping-pong effect.

    When you add another dimension to a playback medium, the first temptation is to exploit that new dimension to the point of exaggeration. That is where 3-D TV is now.

    Give the creative types a few years and 3D TV will look very differently. Heck, it may even work without those awful glasses........

    • by Zapotek ( 1032314 ) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (soksal.sosat)> on Saturday September 04, 2010 @08:28PM (#33478376)
      You beat me to the punch...The technology is still under development, like when the first flat screen TVs came out....
      Everybody needs to stop whining right now and give it time. No-one is forcing you to buy it anyways, f'ing hell...
      • Would the technology advance without whiners?

      • by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @08:55PM (#33478522)

        No-one is forcing you to buy it anyways

        It's true, if you get headaches from 3d, you will never be forced to get a 3d TV, since consumers are never forced into upgrading their equipment ever.

        Now if you excuse me, I have to go buy "Inception" on VHS...

        • by Abstrackt ( 609015 ) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @09:15PM (#33478644)

          No-one is forcing you to buy it anyways

          It's true, if you get headaches from 3d, you will never be forced to get a 3d TV, since consumers are never forced into upgrading their equipment ever.

          Now if you excuse me, I have to go buy "Inception" on VHS...

          VHS died because DVD was obviously better. The quality wasn't as good as DVD, there weren't as many features as DVDs and you had to rewind your movies (hey, it was annoying).

          I don't see 2D television going away any time soon as 3D isn't exactly an obvious improvement. It will probably become a niche, like vinyl in the audio world.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Jesus_666 ( 702802 )
      And let's not forget about great ideas like "the music plays on both channels but the vocals only play on the left one".

      I just hope that trideo* matures fast.

      * Hey, Shadowrun described this stuff ages ago so why not stick to their nomenclature? It's handier than "3D TV".
    • by Culture20 ( 968837 ) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @09:01PM (#33478554)
      Just like how Silver slippers became Ruby Slippers and a Horse of a Different Color was added to highlight Technocolor in Wizard of Oz.
    • Stereo Beatles (Score:4, Interesting)

      by KingAlanI ( 1270538 ) on Sunday September 05, 2010 @01:17AM (#33479816) Homepage Journal

      I tried visualizing the waveforms via Audacity:
      My copies of Please Please Me and Hard Day's Night are in mono, but I notice a very pronounced difference in channels for Beatles For Sale, and only a slight difference in the channels on Help!

      [Just tested track 1 of each album: I Saw Her Standing There, A Hard Day's Night, No Reply and Help]

      Yes, I noticed that modern music tends to have less-radical differences between the channels; the first time I saw/heard noticeable difference between channels was earlier Zeppelin material - Whole Lotta Love, for instance.

      I suppose, like any audio effect, it can be used effectively or ineffectively.

  • by boondaburrah ( 1748490 ) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @08:25PM (#33478348)

    If 3D content creators would stop making window violations and (my favourite) changing the convergence point of the screen without zooming (and vice versa) the idea that 3d is going to give headaches wouldn't have as much fact to go on. I'm sure some people get headaches anyway, but the majority of the people get them because of this stupid filmography. Also, stop changing the 3d depth every shot. I'm looking at you, Avatar.

    If you give the brain realistic input that could actually happen, people would be more comfortable with it and it would be more likely to sell.

    Also, the ghosting on some glasses is terrible. I could even see it in RealD, but it wasn't nearly as bad as some systems I've used (especially anaglyphs).

    I hope it gets good before everyone becomes disinterested, because I'm actually excited for 3d to become kindof standard.

    • by FiloEleven ( 602040 ) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @11:20PM (#33479300)

      If you give the brain realistic input that could actually happen, people would be more comfortable with it and it would be more likely to sell.

      This is why 3D gaming makes much more sense than 3D movies.

      A lot of film techniques rely on changing between multiple cameras, and that dramatic, angled close-up that is so effective in 2D results in a depth-of-field change that's going to fatigue people in 3D. Many games, especially racing, FPS, and platformers, rarely do that sort of thing. 3D would add lots of immersion with fewer drawbacks. There's always room for abuse, but it doesn't seem as inherent to the medium as in film.

      I think this could become more evident pretty quickly with the launch of Nintendo's 3DS, depending on how many developers they get on board.

  • All those TVs look pretty flat to me.

    • I think you're looking for one of these. []

      These definitely don't look flat, I assure you. :P

    • I suspect that what we'll end up with in the relative near future is using that cloaking technology stuff to make what is basically equivalent to a small stage in a box, where there's layers of basically pixels that go transparent at various points. It's a ways off, but apart from the space, assuming they can do it, I'm sure it'll be superior to the other approaches ultimately.
  • by codegen ( 103601 )
    With the prices dropping on HD TV's, they need to find something with a high markup that the chumps^H^H^H^H^H^H videophiles will buy. There are only so many $500 ethernet cables you can sell.
  • by EdZ ( 755139 ) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @08:30PM (#33478382)
    3DTV itself, or rather stereoscopic display technology, is perfectly fine. The problem lies in pants-on-head-retard directors who wouldn't know convergence depth interocular distance from their own anus. Creating stereoscopic video that doesn't cause headaches is HARD. You can;t justtape two cameras together and carry on as usual, and you sure as hell can't expect a 2D movie retrofitted to 3D to look even half decent.
    Imagine if colour TV had started of with everything in bright block primary colours only.
  • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @08:31PM (#33478386)
    According to this Slashdot post [], 3D can harm child and maybe adult vision.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Gaygirlie ( 1657131 )

      I rather wonder about people already diagnosed with impaired vision: I just recently had to get glasses because I started getting frequent headaches and could not see almost anything clearly and was diagnosed with rather strong case of astigmatism. ( [] for those interested ) This means I have to use glasses all the time through the day and thus can't use any of those fancy 3D glasses, and thus I will not be able to 'enjoy' 3D content.

      Impaired vision being a rather comm

  • by iliketrash ( 624051 ) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @08:31PM (#33478392)

    One of the fundamental problems with 3D movies and TV is this: Close-to-the-viewer images that appear far to one side of the screen. The problem? You go blind in one eye. To create the appropriate binocular disparity, the "other" image would need to appear in a direction for which there is no screen, thus, no image is presented to one eye. The result is jarring and upsetting.

    James Cameron seems to have figured this out in Avatar and avoided doing it for the most part.

    How else to avoid the problem? Use a really big screen (in terms of angle subtended at the viewer's position) such as Imax. What does this portend for 3D TV? Nothing good, since TVs almost universally, even with "large" screens, do not subtend an adequate angle.

  • by linzeal ( 197905 ) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @08:33PM (#33478398) Homepage Journal

    When color TVs became affordable for the consumer market and television programs started broadcasting in color the amount of garish costumes and set designs and other "look ma, its in color" gaucherie was lampooned mercilessly. The technology was refined and eventually turned out alright, even though it went through a stage at the advent of color when it verged on the psychedelic.

    Discounting 3D at this stage of the technology is a patently absurd prognostication given the history of the TV.

    • by martin-boundary ( 547041 ) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @09:02PM (#33478556)
      The garish costumes actually had a purpose in black and white film, as they offered better contrast to the TV or cinema viewer. Obviously, you can't change a significant wardrobe collection overnight when colour becomes available.
      • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @11:25PM (#33479326)

        When HDTV came out, there were a lot of production problems revealed. I remember one of the first CSI episodes where George Eads looked orange. Reason was not that he'd overdone a tan, but that they used really intense makeup. NTSC has much poorer colour handling, so makeup was overdone. HDTV is better at dealing with colour capture and transmission.

        When moving to a new technology flaws in your old process can show up.

    • by udippel ( 562132 ) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @11:27PM (#33479332)

      Yes, and no. Your argumentation discards a relevant fact; one that you are probably not aware of.

      Black and White photos are a proper representation, or mapping, of a 3-dimensional space on a 2-dimensional plane. Adding colour adds information. The human eyes can be tricked into perceiving a rate of above 16 images per second as 'motion', and an ever higher rate as 'smooth motion'. You add colour to it, everything fine.
      Over the years, this has been refined, and we can all enjoy coloured moving images without trouble.

      Stereoscopy as it is being done, cannot produce a proper mapping. (I gave some initial arguments elsewhere in this thread, so I don't want to repeat myself.) This is why 3D hasn't taken off despite of very early efforts, in red/green, of some generations earlier. The problem is not one of technology, resolution, not even left/right separation. The problem is, and there is plenty of research available if you are interested, that - contrary to the mapping of 3D to 2D - two cameras - even if mounted with the proper interocular distance - cannot map the 3D-impression properly into 2 electronic channels. Therefore, it is physically/biologically impossible to regenerate the original 3D impression with lateral cameras.

  • why it misses (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fermion ( 181285 ) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @08:39PM (#33478428) Homepage Journal
    I see TV, outside of niche market like the obsessive sport fan, TVs serve two purposes. One is to be large central, almost alter like presence in the central room. If one is judged on size, and not performance, anything that reducing the diagonal inches/dollar is certainly not going to sell. The other purpose is increasing to replace the radio as background noise.

    Yes there are crowds other than than sports fanatics that are actually to spend time glued to the tv for hours on end wearing these glasses. But I think the time when this is status quo, at least in the US, is long past.

    Many would say that the going to movies is in decline because TV is catching up to major budget movie quality and because the experience is not what it used to be. I would say the reason for this is that people are less willing to sit idly for an hour or so and passively consume entertainment. The 3D tv is part of that passive consumption, and if we won't do it theaters, why would we do it at home, where are not prohibited for texting on our phones or loading up a video game on our portable player, simply because so relic for the 20th century thinks it is rude.

    • Re:why it misses (Score:4, Insightful)

      by sapphire wyvern ( 1153271 ) on Sunday September 05, 2010 @02:20AM (#33479990)

      why would we do it at home, where are not prohibited for texting on our phones or loading up a video game on our portable player, simply because so relic for the 20th century thinks it is rude.

      You do that at the cinema during the movie? Don't you realise how distracting it is for every single person sitting behind you to have a bright little screen waving around in their peripheral vision, in an environment that's deliberately as dark as possible?

      Damn right it's rude! If you don't want to watch the movie, leave. The rest of the audience paid to see the movie too, and don't need to have their experience ruined by selfish behaviour on the part of one person in the audience.

  • by Yeechang Lee ( 3429 ) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @08:42PM (#33478444) Homepage

    People accept glasses for watching 3D movies in theaters because they are there for the experience of watching a film on a giant screen with other people while eating popcorn and drinking soda. The same goes for other specific, controlled environments, like 3D CAM in an office; people accept it as part of the experience (or job in this case).

    3D in the home will never succeed until and unless glasses are not needed. It doesn't matter whether the glasses are disposable or expensive, or if today's multiple competing standards congeal into one. No one will accept needing to constantly put on and take off 3D glasses to watch TV. Period.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      You know, that's a damn good point. Generally, when you go to a movie, you're there to *watch* the movie, so you don't mind glasses on your face so much. But at home? What if I'm laying down? Got friends I wanna chat with while the show's on, and look at them while I chat? Look away to grab the phone? Get up to answer the door? Grab a snack? Go to the washroom? Grab the remote? Read a book during commercials/dull parts of the show? There's dozens of little moments while watching TV that you're not going to

    • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Sunday September 05, 2010 @12:17AM (#33479562)

      In the home, a TV is usually not in a special room, just for TV watching. Some high end homes have home theaters, but in most homes, even one with nice TVs, the TV is out in a public room. Ok well with any new 2D TV technology, this hasn't been a problem. People can wander in and out and they all see the same image. However with 3D TV, it is a problem. When the 3D mode is on, only people with the glasses on get a good image. Everyone else sees a blurry mess. So if you are walking through to stop and chat, it is highly annoying and the person watching has to either disengage the 3D, or you have to pick up glasses to fix the problem.

      Probably be easier just to leave things 2D, over all.

  • by PhrostyMcByte ( 589271 ) <> on Saturday September 04, 2010 @08:44PM (#33478452) Homepage

    I sat a few of my friends down to watch some scenes from Avatar in 2D, and one of their jaws dropped at how much worse the CG looks. 3D corrupts the live actors just enough to make the CG look of similar quality -- when it's in 2D, that effect goes away. I didn't do this to rag on Avatar's CG, but to show them how 3D destroys image quality even on something that is filmed specially for it.

    I'm not looking forward to the day when the first 3D-only movie comes out.

  • 3DTV here to stay (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I love 3 Dimensional TV done well. We have two eyes and see in 3D in the real world ... without having things shoved in our faces. Calm down content producers ... we get the point. 3DTV is here to stay - so start doing it right ...
    Film like its a window into the world your watching - not like its a threshold for all sorts of stuff to poke out of.

  • Problem Solved (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mikeroySoft ( 1659329 ) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @08:48PM (#33478480)
    Just don't buy a 3D TV. The manufacturers will get the hint.
  • Informative! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @08:58PM (#33478536)

    Let's hear lots of comments by people who haven't seen 3D TV. And then let's have poorly-woorded descriptions of a visual medium than can only really be appreciated by experiencing it.

    This is the Internet at it's most Internet-like.

    "Clearly, 3D TV sucks because it's expensive and I haven't purchased one yet. If I decide to buy one, it is because it has improved and no longer sucks."

  • by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @08:58PM (#33478538)
    New technologies are -always- annoying to show that they can do it. Stereo audio is one main point. Listen to recordings from when stereo was just coming out and you will hear sound shift from left to right over and over again just so they can say they did it. Look at some of the programs when color TV first came out, they used hideous color schemes to show that you could have color. Look at the the early Nintendo DS games which were all "draw something with the stylus" games before they started to get better. Etc.

    Early "new" technologies show the worst at the beginning (anyone else remember the age of animated .gif images -everywhere- on the web in the 90s?). 3-D is the same way, it will be annoying at first but when the technology improves and directors make things work, things get a lot better.
  • by kurokame ( 1764228 ) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @09:09PM (#33478610)

    Accommodative input is the future. Period. We will eventually have technology which allows us to adapt content to the human receiver. This is not in dispute. Presentation and interaction methods which use these techniques well will dominate over those that don't. You can already see examples of this. The experience of watching a movie on a large theater screen is vastly different from watching it on a cheap 19" TV. Cruddy audio equipment doesn't have the same impact as a live performance. A real book is much easier to become absorbed in than the same content on most e-readers. Video games with poor camera behavior and non-intuitive controls aren't as fun to play. Psychologists and technologists have studied the hell out of it - immersion, emotional design, adaptive interfaces...they make up new names for different aspects of the problem almost every week. But for the most part, this is the future. There is a lot of promise, but for the most part we have to settle for emulating "real" versus contrived input and interaction to some functional level of fidelity which we can tolerate in order to pick up additional functionality (often portability) which the technological approach enables. Other cases do work better, but only if you're talking about expensive research prototypes which address a single aspect of a broader frontier.

    The problem is that this leads to the mistaken assumption that our current implementations are accurate representations of their eventual successors. In most cases, they're not. 3D is probably one of the biggest culprits here. It's too easy to go "hey look, 3D displays - it's just like looking at real objects!"...but that's not really it. We've managed to come up with a number of technologies which give decent approximations of several depth cues beyond those available in a static 2D image (e.g. shadows, object occlusion, perspective methods). This is wonderful. But it's important to keep one point in mind, a point which is constantly overlooked.

    All current 3D display technology falls well short of producing fully "believable" input.

    Yeah. And that's setting aside the whole "movie producers keep producing trashy fake 3D pictures to raise ticket prices" issue - which is a major complication of itself. If you use good current 3D hardware to display a well-made 3D picture which was shot for 3D and where the medium was used will still degrade the image quality over 2D, people will still get simulator sickness, and a fairly large slice of your audience will even still see it in 2D.

    The first problem, degradation, can be minimized through special screens and top-end equipment, but you can't really eliminate it since there it provides a much more complex problem compared to doing the same thing in 2D with the same grade of equipment - or worse (and more realistically), the same budget. This is orders of magnitude worse if you want your 3D installation to be a theater setting since you have to serve many people sitting at many distances and viewing angles, each of whom is using different eyes and different brains to process the input. Honestly, with any existing technology, the only thing you can do in a 3D theater is try to minimize how bad it is and minimize how much it costs you to set up. There is no good solution here. Polarized light projection is really the best way...but it's quite vulnerable to off-axis viewing. Alternating frame projection is better in that sense - off-axis problems are comparatively minor - but the headsets are quite expensive (polarized glasses can be effectively disposable) and many viewers will perceive constant flickering which is annoying at best but more likely a quick trigger for simulator sickness (above the already inherent risk with 3D from conflicting visual cues).

    The second and third problems are more or less related. The human visual system relies on a large set of visual cues to create a 3D model of your environment, and stereoscopy is only one factor. Admittedly, it's a fairly major factor, and a

  • by dpbsmith ( 263124 ) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @09:17PM (#33478662) Homepage

    Stereoscopic 3D has two very serious problems that have never been solved. The first is the "sweet spot" problem. Imagine a person standing so that they are lined up exactly with a flagpole. In real life, if you move to one side or the other, the relationship changes and you can now see the flagpole... and you no longer see the person exactly in full-face, but slightly in profile. In a stereoscope 3D presentation, the relationship between the screen elements cannot change. You will see the person exactly lined up with the flagpole no matter where you sit. This sounds trivial, but if you work out the consequences, it means that if a person is standing on a square-tiled floor, the tiles must become skewed into rhombuses if you move to the side. And the depth relationships change, too. The picture becomes squashed or flattened if you sit too close to the screen, elongated with exaggerated depth if you set too far away.

    This means that a 3D picture only looks right when viewed from one, specific seating location, the sweet spot. And, worse yet, it only looks right if the cinematographer eschews the use of wide-angle or long lenses, but films the entire movie only with lenses of the single correct focal length, which means throwing away a century of film grammar.

    The valid appeal of 3D is to add the realism of depth. But unless you are sitting exactly in the sweet spot and the cinematographer has used only one focal length for the whole film, you do not get realistic depth, you get warped geometrical distortion--and worse yet distortion that changes from one shot to the next.

    Have you ever watched a movie from the extreme left seat in the front row? Unpleasant, isn't it? Well, 3D has the same problem, but greatly amplified.

    You may not notice it consciously, but your brain has to work overtime to prevent you from noticing it, and it is fatiguing.

    The second problem involves any object whose 3D placement is in front of the screen but is near the edges. It is a little hard to explain, but remember that without glasses the object shows up double, as a pair. If it is well in front of the screen, it is a widely separated pair. The glasses make sure your right eye sees only the left image of the pair and vice versa, but the problem is that as the object moves toward the left edge of the screen, one image moves offscreen and disappears before the other does. So, as these objects approach the edge, you see them only with one eye. This actually happens in real life for objects behind a rectangular opening, as in a proscenium theatre stage, so you are used to it and it seems natural. But in real life it never happens for objects that are in front of a rectangular opening, and it is weird, unnatural, and fatiguing. The only way to solve it is to have a screen so huge you don't really see or notice the edges. This probably explains why IMAX 3D is relatively successful--it takes a giant screen to avoid the edge effect.

    Together, these two problems mean that 3D cannot just make a scene look realistic and more natural--not unless you project it on a giant IMAX screen and sit exactly at the sweet spot. Under any other conditions, it looks goofy, unnatural, and distracting.

    There's no way to fix it. Four people sitting in a four difference seats in a live theatre have eight eyes and views the scene from 8 slightly different points of view. Showing the person in the left seat of the fifth row the pair of images that would be seen by a person sitting in the center seat of the twentieth row isn't going to work. If there are four people sitting in your living room in four different chairs, they need to have four different pairs of image shown to them, a different one for each seating position.

    • Ya (Score:3, Informative)

      by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 )

      To me, a more convincing 3D tech was one demoed at TED. It was a head tracking technology that did just what you describe on a normal 2D display. In fact when the tracker was on a TV camera, you could see it on video. So no depth like you get with a 3D display, but it looks better and needs no glasses. Of course it only works for one person.

      I'll personally be sticking with 2D displays for now, until something better comes out.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Prune ( 557140 )
      In fact, multichannel audio recordings (and I include stereo into that) have the exact same sweet spot problem, because even with the best recording practices trying to capture 3D (i.e. Ambisonics which encodes a 3D soundscape with spherical harmonics) can only have _correct_ reproduction in a small sweet spot. And yet, multichannel audio is the standard, because it contributes something even if that something is very far from the optimum.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sznupi ( 719324 )

        Though with audio it generally just sounds a bit different / giving effect in the direction of "lower" standard; not terribly obvious when not in the sweet spot.

        With "3D" it's just more wrong (sweet spot is pretty wrong in itself...), not really in the direction of discarding "3D" & appearing flat.

  • Hubble 3D (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JoelWink ( 1846354 ) on Saturday September 04, 2010 @09:35PM (#33478780)
    The thing I remember most from seeing Avatar in IMAX 3D was actually the trailer for Hubble 3D. I finally saw it today and I was not disappointed. Seeing 3D documentary footage of the shuttle crew prepping for a flight, seeing not one but two shuttle launches in 3D, and seeing numerous spacewalks in 3D was awe inspiring. I find a lot of 3D feature length films to be a little fatiguing, but I think the less gimmicky (although still undeniably gimmicky to a point) IMAX 3D documentaries show the potential for using 3D in a tasteful artistic manner.

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