/ Technology

Why 3D TV is destined to fall flat on its face


3D TV is an exciting proposition for home cinema buffs, yet the technology comes with a hell of a lot of baggage. It demands our attention and the emptying of our wallets, but TV shouldn’t be this hard to watch.

It’s not hard to decipher our love affair with the telly. It welcomes our unceremonious slump onto the sofa after a hard day, demands only half of our attention, but always has plenty to give back (if you’re prepared for a bit of channel surfing).

If, on occasion, our telly does show what we want to watch, then we sit up and pay attention, but it’s still a ‘take me or leave me’ proposition. No strings.

Forget all that with 3D TV

3D TV is an event; an event with so many strings you’ll end up tied in knots. It demands not only your total attention but the attention of everyone else in the room, each wearing a pair of ridiculously priced glasses for good measure (£100 a pop anyone?)

It’s like settling down to watch your favourite DVD with the family but having to ensure everyone is appropriately dressed. No quick crossword, no quick web surf on the iPhone and definitely no sneaking off to the loo. The 3D telly is on and it’s in control.

‘Fair enough’, you might say – for a special event like a 3D movie it’s fine to make that extra special effort. It’s worth it in the end right? Well in a word, no. Sure the technology is impressive, and the first time you slip on the specs you’ll experience the ‘wow factor’. But it doesn’t last long.

The glasses are uncomfortable and heavy, background light flickers in the corner of your eye and the 3D effect is quickly muted if you happen to take your eyes off the screen. In short, 3D TV is a chore and like most chores it doesn’t make you feel good.

3D TV doesn’t match the hype

Don’t get me wrong – I was very excited about 3D TV and love new technologies (no really, you’re never more than three steps away from a gadget in the Briggs’ house). And this is nothing to do with the lack of 3D content (it’ll come) or the high price of the TVs (they’ll fall in time).

3D TV just doesn’t match the hype being generated by the industry. It feels like a gimmick born from TV industry executives gathering in the boardroom, plonking Avatar’s receipts on the table and saying, ‘We want some of this’.

Once the dust has settled, tales of clunky glasses and monster 60-inch screens will get around and 3D TV will be quietly consigned to the canon of expensive technology flops. Only LG’s passive display technology (cheap glasses included) could save the day. But then why bother when you can go to the cinema?

Jason Shouler says:
16 February 2011

“Only LG’s passive display technology (cheap glasses included) could save the day”

Never has a truer line been spoken!

If 3D was ever to fail in the home market then it would be due the widespread issues associated with the cheap to manufacture active shutter technology adopted by every major manufacturer along with the heavy marketing that followed.

LG’s 47LD950 little promoted and understood circular polarising screen technology has turned out to be a jewel in the home 3D market. Under promoted (rather bizarrely LG seemed more keen to promote their own shutter based sets) and with an initial firmware bug (related to blu-ray playback but with a trivial solution) together with misconceptions about the technology produced less than favourable reviews.

Aside from a single theoretical disadvantage in outright image resolution (which by most accounts rates as unnoticed or insignificant by owners who have moved away from active shutter sets – which includes myself) this technology shows exactly what good 3D should be.

No headache inducing cross-talk or eye-strain (a caveat here: if you don’t enjoy 3D at the cinema then you wont like this set either). No heavy, bulky or uncomfortable headsets. No concerns about headsets having dead batteries or not being charged. No fiddling with on/off buttons and with the glasses costing typically £1 each it’s easy to pass a few extra around should friends visit (you can’t watch in 2D once 3D is active on any 3D set).

Once experienced in this form then I defy anyone to argue that 3D is a gimmick.

Sky has a dedicated channel 217 for 3d It is possible to record this channel in 3d on a sky plus box.
Viewing 3d is an occasion why not just watch a choice film consort or football match then switch the tv off .
The concept that tv should be video wall paper is wrong . Getting back to the idea that you should occasionally concentrate on what is on the screen might really increase the enjoyment of viewing.

Dave Groves says:
27 November 2014

I bought a Sony 55″ 3D t.v. last November along with the necessary player. It’s a passive set. The glasses aren’t expensive or heavy or awkward, the picture is superb and the 3D astonishing. I’ve bought several 3D discs and prefer them to normal ones. Look in the right shops and they are avaiable second hand. I haven’t suffered headaches or anything else untoward. To some it’s an unnecessary gimmic. To me it’s a pleasure. Just keep the discs coming