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back to article 3D TV: Minority interest for years to come

Anyone hoping that 3D TV will greatly boost the consumer electronics industry will find the latest research from DisplaySearch less than comfortable reading, despite its affirming headline data. The market watcher estimates 1.2m 3D-capable HD TVs will ship this year, which sounds like a large number. DisplaySearch expects the …

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Happy

3D Killer apps to drive sales...

Films are good as a killer app, but I think games are being overlooked as a potential huge additional 3D TV market to help increase sales. If we could get true 3d displayed 3d games I would buy one faster than waiting for films to become 3d.

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Obviously behind the times...

We've had proper 3D for games for years now, just look at nVidias 3D Vision. I was using that back before LCDs where mainstream. Now I have the newer version that works with 3D capable LCD Monitors (Samsung 2233RZ in my case)

It work with just about any 3D game on my desktop :)

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Unhappy

@We've had proper 3D for games for years now

We've had proper 3D displayed 3D games for *decades* one way or another. Problem is none of it is mainstream which was my point. We need it to become the standard to expect to have a 3D display of the 3D games. (That may mean it'll have to wait until the next generation of consoles but still its a killer app for 3D TV).

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Unhappy

Just a gimmick?

I enjoyed Avatar in 3D, but I'm not sure how effective it would be on a small screen. My real problem with 3D is that our visual sense is more sophisticated than the current gadgets. Although the primary source of our 3D view of the real world is the slightly different views from our left and right eyes, the brain is adept at using other cues as well (which is why people who have lost the sight in one eye can still judge depths with surprising accuracy).

These include the focal length of the adjustable lenses in our eyes and parallax generated when we move the position of our heads. These latter two features are not reproduced by our current TV or cinema 3D technologies, leading to a disconnect between the apparent 3D depth and the other cues. Perhaps holograms are the answer?

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parallax

You're absolutely right. Check out Johnny Lee's demonstration (on Gootube) of 3D from 2D using a Wii remote for tracking head-position. Almost magically effective, whether you have one eye or two - trouble is it can only work for one person at once.

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Pint

HD Ready today, 3D Ready tomorrow!

In the same way HD Ready TVs have rapidly become the norm, despite few consumers having access any actual HD content, I see no reason why the bulk of new sets will not become "3D Ready" at a similarly swift pace.

Once 3D channels from Sky/Sony/ESPN/Discovery begin broadcasting, the standards will become fixed and the cost of manufacture will fall, leading to "3D Ready" becoming just another sticker that consumers look for when buying a new TV, even if it's "just in case".

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FAIL

Tech folks too young to remember...

....the fact this 1940/50s gimmick is only being rolled out once again to help Hollywood boost ticket sales in a recession to films that tanked in 2D to preview audiences.

Take a crap film (some "I know what you bloody Saw 8") run it through the 3D process and you guarantee 50% more gross for a film that should have gone straight to DVD. "The dimwits in the 14 to 25 age bracket will love it!" Anyone older knows how shit it is.

It's a crappy gimmick and not pushing the boundaries of TV/film tech at all.

Plenty of other things we need to concentrate on than this.

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title

@Recaffeinated

I used to work at one of the companies you mentioned, and they are indeed chasing 3d like the rest of the industry, but they are also very busy with supplying / moving to 100% HD content, since you can demand all new stuff to be made in HD, but when you have huge catalogs of shows in SD then you cant do that much with it.

Couple that with no real standard for 3D yet and questionable difference in quality of HD delivery from Virgin and Sky and you make a situation that is going to confuse and annoy the average punter. I wonder if anyone was asked what feature they wanted on their TV, i bet most people would say to be able to plug it into the computer and watch stuff off the internet... but that is still a bit specialist with HDMI.

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Boffin

What's the point?

It's not 3-d, it's a gimmick. The only reasons for it are to (a) sell more sets and (b) differentiate one broadcaster from another.

As others have pointed out, the brain's depth-processing doesn't match what's being broadcast, it gets broken when the image is in the wrong place (e.g. too close to and too off axis from the eyes), or when other cues break the instinctive action to check something moving fast and apparently close to the head. There's no 'look behind' capability on any of the current proposals - and even if material is shot from two cameras 'just in case' it will never have that. Possibly most significant is the inability to track focus with distance; you're always focussed on the display device irrespective of the image focus point. And of course the small displays have a very restricted sweet spot.

On top of that the whole grammar of film/TV production needs to be changed; you can no longer (for example) play with the focus to indicate an area of interest; fast zooms, tracks, and pans no longer work (you lose the 3-d effect if you do it too quickly), and of course the issue of the viewer throwing up needs addressing.

The data bandwidth required either doubles, or if it remains the same, allows with most displays only half the resolution - which indicates HD bandwidth for not much more than SD display (though this is debatable depending on how you count the bandwidth - but certainly there's less per eye available).

You need to edit everything twice, and possibly shoot it twice, too - you can't just drop down to a flat image if you don't have a 3-d display device. (Well, you can, but for reasons of the film grammar, it looks odd.) And of course the transmission method and the display surface have to be independent otherwise you can't display some things on incompatible displays.

Apart from that it's wonderful. But I can't help feeling that Avatar would have looked as good flat as in 3-d, and without the silly glasses, too.

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Re: avatar in 2D

"But I can't help feeling that Avatar would have looked as good flat as in 3-d, and without the silly glasses, too."

If you'd shut one eye, you would have been able to test it. IMHO still impressive (I was in an iMAX) but not quite as fantastic.

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Go

I wanna be the minority

I must admit that I would love a 3D HD tele for some types of games: I reckon a 3D FPS would give me motion sickness will all the running around corridors etc. RPGs, RTS' and driving games are a big appeal for me.

Avatar made all kinds of fun things happen in the trouser department, not sure I could watch that in 2D.

But 3D TV programs in the home? Can we please deal with the bigger problem first: so many channels already and nothing to watch, 98% of it is rubbish. Of the other 2% alot of people will want to do something else at the same time as watching TV and not want to wear dorky specs.

I'll be getting a 3D TV when I can, becuase I can, and hold my head up high when people point and shout, 'GEEK!' But only for DVDs and games. TV broardcast can suck my chocolate salties

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I believe . . .

. . . the 3D currently used in cinemas (RealD) doesn't work if your eyes aren't broadly level - so laying down on the couch to watch a film would be out of the question.

Besides which, average length of ownership for TV's (especially in the UK), is quite long (7 years the last I heard) - most people have just updated to HDTV of some kind, who's going to scrap that for a minority product (I know HD is still a minority product, but the benefit was switching from heavy, bulky CRT's to light, thin and larger LCD/Plasma).

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I don't get it either.

Completely agree with Jason7: Jaws 3 didn't herald a great demand for 3D films and neither will this. Scary monsters leaping out of the screen is all well and good but TV is a passive experience - which is why interactive TV has never really taken off - and until I can get true 3D without having to put on magic specs first this isn't going to fly long term.

The only thing 3D is good for is driving customers to the cinema who would otherwise wait for the DVD to come out, and the novelty of that will wear off pretty quickly - making this yet another technology solution to a demand that just isn't there. I'll add it to my list:

* Video phones

* Interactive TV

* 3D screens requiring specs.

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If the porn industry ....

adopts 3d tv, then expect the takeup of 3dtv to be greater.

Regardless of your morale stance with regards to the porn industry, you can't deny the fact that its a massive driving influence in the technology stakes.

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Stop

Numbers

Nice to know the numbers, however, a simple % would have been useful.

3D Ready - can't see it coming in 2010 because there is no standard. Somewhere else on El Reg it was stated a new HDMI standard would be required as well...

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Silver badge

3D will become a standard feature of midrange sets

I don't understand people who want 3D TVs right now. The implementations will be buggy, crippled or half implemented and the price will be prohibitive.

Wait a few years and 3D will become yet another feature of mid range television sets. It will start creeping into models the way that things like 1080p, 24fps, 100/200 Mhz displays did in their time.

Even then I don't see 3D being too popular. The requirement for everyone watching TV to wear glasses is simply stupid. Glasses cost a fortune and are simply not an acceptable to watch television for a prolongued period.

3D will really only take off when the glasses requirement disappears completely

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The Killer 3DTV App...

... as is so often the case, is obviously pr0n. And a hands-free remote.

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FAIL

More? You want MORE?

Jason7 is right, 3D is just a gimmick and only applicable to the younger generation who have better / quicker eyesight that can react to the changes. As you get older your eyes get slower and watching Avatar I thought "great film" but I could do without the headache of the glasses and effect. I would love to know the actual bums-on-seats numbers of Avatar compared to non-3D billion dollar blockbusters of the past. The only reason it's passed this mark so qiuckly is the increased cost of admission. I reckon more people saw Mama Mia than have seen Avatar ...

Having just got on the HD bandwagon with my purchase of a 46in Panasonic G15, there is absolutely no way in hell I am going to shell out AGAIN for a 3D TV. After spending > £800 on a TV I'll be damned if I'm going to be duped inot buying another, then sit in my lounge with stupid glasses and getting a headache at the same time.

Besides, this is all cobblers anyway; the HD market has proven that. How long have we had HD ready TV's on the market? How many millions of sets have been sold? How much HD content can we watch via broadcasters? The percentage is minimal! With Virgin Media I have a total of SIX HD channels of which only 2 (BBC and Nat Geo) are worth watching. The rest, Living, MTV etc are not on my TV watching radar. Yes, I could have Sky and pay through the nose but I don't want to watch countless re-runs of The Simpsons and Brainiac in SD let alone HD that they'll charge me extra for.

So for all the hype about 3D, the truth is we haven't even become a HD watching country yet and I am not going to jump ship!

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jai
Silver badge

glasses?

a colleague here at work keeps on saying about how great it'll be when all tv is 3D

but i really doubt the average consumer is going to want to have to wear stupid cheap 3D glasses just to watch the news or Eastenders.

at least, not until the likes of Oakley start making 3D specs :)

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FAIL

3DTV is nothing of the kind.

It's just binocular tv. If it were really 3-dimensional you could move your head and objects closer to you would move in relation to those behind. Moreover you would get a different view of objects in the foreground. You can't achieve that with a flat screen except with head-sensing technology, and that can't cope with more than one head watching. I'll wait for holographic tv!

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WTF?

It truly is shite.

Watched Coraline in 3D the other week. Thats supposedly one of the better attempts. Well its great if you think watching a movie with the colours adjusted so it looks like you are seeing it through a glass of lime cordial is an advancement.

Utter arsegravy.

I expected more savvy from a tech crowd.

Did someone say "Monorail!!!"

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@Chris Miller

I'm one of those ppl Chris mentioned. I'm almost blind in one eye, but I can still judge distances and track moving objects just fine. (I'm an adequate, if not great, badminton and squash player.) From analysing this, I'm pretty sure my brain does it mostly using lens focus in the working eye.

Back in the 90s when VR was all new and funky, I once tried a VR shooter with a chunky Star-Wars-type headset. It just felt like having a PC monitor plonked 2" in front of my nose - no 3D effect at all. Any immersive effect was simply due to the fact of the field-of-vision tracking my head movements.

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Silver badge

1940/50s gimmick

Try 1880s

It's a Victorian invention.

Identical to the Viewmaster toy sold for over 50 years. Are the Avatar discs for it in the Toy shops yet?

I predict whatever sales of 3D TVs there are, the % time used for 3D TV will be tiny and many not used for 3D content at all.

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But, aren't many TVs compatible already?

I mean what you need to do 3D is for example pixels in different colours. You can either use that for the gimmick of colour television or stereoscopic 3D, as recently demonstrated by Channel 4.

I don't see the point of getting a new TV which uses polarisation or time to differenciate both pictures. After all that will start working, without glasses, once Phase 3 has arived.

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