back to article 3D TV gets cold shower from Avatar man

Judging by the avalanche of hoopla thundering out of last week's Consumer Electronics Show, you'd think that 3D television is done deal. All the wrinkles have been ironed out, and all you need to do is don a pair of geeky glasses and your boob tube will immerse you in three-dimensional movies, sports, and reruns of "The Office …


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  1. Tony Paulazzo


    I'm hanging on for holographic wall screens.

  2. criscros

    If I may...

    What about the eye strain? This stuff is a public health hazard, especially if people (especially kids) sit around the TV watching it all day long.

    As for the technology itself, it's still pretty gimmicky. The 3d glasses are very uncomfortable, and even though OK for the cinema every once in a while, they're not ready for prime-time in the home. If they can get rid of the glasses, I'll be more excited about this development.

  3. Michael C

    No Active Glasses

    I'm OK with 3D glasses, but not active ones. Polarized like the ones in theatres today (preferably the EXACT ones) will be required before I'm ready to invest. Yea, I'll probably end up owning a "3D capable" TV before then (technically, all it requires is an HDMI 1.4 input and 120Hz screen or faster), but I won't pay $50+ for glasses for it, let alone dealing with charging and all, and especially not with small children who will break them!

    TRUE 3D TV's will have an active polarizing layer on top of the LCD matrix, and will do left/right eye switching on the TV and use passive glasses. I'd pay $500 more for a large TV (42" or larger) to have this feature now (and at most $200 more 3 years from now).

    Fortunately, I have yet to buy a BR player, and I'm told the PS3 can be updated to support the BR3D spec (I'm waiting to buy one on exactly that formal confirmation). My current TV is also only a few months old, and is as large as my enertainment center can hold, so the next upgrade is not only the cost of a TV away, but also a large furniture purchase... Maybe in 2-3 years.

    I'm actually much more interested in the networking featuresx of new TVs than I really care about 3D. 3D is only impressive when the screen is larger than your base field of view (when you;re close enough your eyes need to move around to see different parts of the image clearly) Smaller than that, most of the effect is lost. In my house, I'd be looking at a 70"+ TV to gain that effect at a minimum, and my room is not THAT big...

  4. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Early adopter syndrome

    I thought the amusing part was when Greer said the standards committe moved too slow (taking years), then said his ultimate goal was to get the companies to consolidate on a standard protocol at least instead of having 7. Guess what? It'll take THEM years to do this too. Sorry.

    So, this stuff sounds cool, but I think the big issue is getting a unit, then finding out it's not compatible with anything. The second problem problem, I already wear glasses -- I watched Avatar once in 2D and once in 3D. The 3D looked nice, but I'm not going to go around wearing glasses for long periods of time just to watch some shows. I didn't quite get a headache but I was getting there. Third problem, I don't have a TV -- until I can play 3D content on my Linux box (or more likely a faster one -- an Athlon 2200 works pretty hard to play HD already) I will not play 3D content at home. This may not be a problem, it depends on if they decide 3D is an excuse to slip in nasty rights restrictions, which ATSC managed to (for the most part) escape.

    1. zourtney

      Too dorky, too expensive

      I watched Avatar in 3D. I actually felt that this was the first 3D movie in which the technology was not used in an abysmally gimmicky way. Nonetheless, I didn't feel like it added THAT much to the experience. I don't foresee this technology actually catching on in-home until we can ditch the dorky glasses.

      Also, like many others, I have I forked a lot of money to buy an HDTV. So, I'm not even going to consider buying a new set until my new one is 5 years old, explodes, gets a Wii remote through it, etc...

      1. chr0m4t1c

        I'd go along with that

        I can't see the excitement particularly anyway, but I'm not about to replace a TV that's less than 12 months old or fart about with glasses. Even less so when the mates pop around for film+curry night.

        Most of my non-techie mates still have CRT boxes in their living rooms and the ones with HD or HD-ready TVs largely don't have Bluray yet, so I'd say adoption for them would be even further away.

        2010 is more likely to be the year of the great 3D flop at this rate.

        Still, the technology might be ready when it comes around again in 2050.

  5. Disco-Legend-Zeke

    3D television? yeah, i invented that.

    Back in the late 80's I came up with ideas to make stereoscopic television a reality. The patent, #4,709,263, is considered the basic patent in the Industry, and has been cited over 30 times in later patents, especially in the Olympus Industrial Stereo Measuring Scope.

    The system still works, it still gives excellent results on ANY TV. I have the dies for making the glasses stashed away in a shed somewhere. All that's missing is a round of VC financing.

    Although buying a new TV will absolutely Give you a bigger 3D picture, my system costs 99% less and works on ANY TV or monitor.

  6. Brian Miller

    Glasses? What about clip-on shades?

    But what about all of us who already wear glasses? What they have doesn't look like it would fit over any frame I've ever seen.

    1. StooMonster


      All that's missing is your patent, you know they expire after 20 years?

      Here's a beer in consolation for expiration date of four years ago.

  7. Beelzeebub

    Oh well....

    I used to be at the forefront of the difital revolution, but now I can't be bothered, nor can I afford it.

  8. Matthew 17

    Can you get perscription 3D glasses?

    Or even better, contact lenses!

    Home entertainment is all about convenience above all. Does anyone really think that folk will be arsed having to stick on some glasses before they can watch something?

    £10 says it never takes off.

  9. GeorgeTuk

    As with everything...

    ...I'll wait until it becomes a more reasonable price and people stop forcing 3D everything on us.

    I mean I can already see "Because of the unique way the BBC is funded see the amazing new 3D Eastenders on the new BBC HD 3D Super Duper channel...only available on paid for TV subscriptions, what did you think the licence is for fools!?"

    Do I really want to se Ian Beale in 3D, I don't think so.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Compatibility will be ok 3D will be big

    TV manufacturers basicly agreed on a couple of formats to support on HDMI. Blu-ray standard well progressed and will soon be fixed. Vertical TV operators like Sky and DirecTV control the StB and can update it to fit with their broadcast mechanism.

    The remaining work is on open standard mechanisms for broadcast so it can be used on open platforms and in minimal bandwidth supplementary channel systems. This will come later.

    The display technology does not need standardising, can be a mix of active and passive working from same sources. Passive screens are much more expensive and lose half the resolution so for the moment make sense for public displays in pubs etc but not so much in the home.

    One final comment is the 3D TVs are not shown to their best in tradeshows like IFA and CES. They are much more impressive in more home like environments with better controlled lighting. At IFA I found the glasses didn't sync reliably but when I have seen demos in normal meeting rooms since they have been completely sucessful. I predict when samples are available to review a number of those reporters unconvinced at CES will be converted to believers.

    1. Steven H Taylor

      Anonymous Coward is right

      The display technology need not be standardized; so long as the displays work with standardized sources as input, all is fine. Just don't try to use the glasses of one technology with the display of another.

  11. John H Woods

    Glasses not always required.

    I've seen a 3D display which didn't require any glasses ... it certainly caught my attention. That is surely the way to go. However, I am confused about why the recording standard should be hard - surely it's just a left eye and a right eye video? Standing by to be corrected ....

    1. Steven H Taylor

      Full dual encoding

      is considered too inefficient. The left and right-eye video can be encoded together with much less bandwidth than twice a single one.

  12. ian 22

    @Brian Miller

    And what about those of us that wear them with polarized lenses? I suspect they will cause problems with 3DTV, and I'm not about to buy a new pair just to watch crap in 3D.

  13. Pablo

    How wants to bet...

    They'll saddle this tech with some kind obnoxious DRM scheme?

  14. Anonymous Bastard
    Thumb Down

    Left-Right 3DTV is flawed.

    The problem with this method of stereoscopic viewing is the effect only works when your head is approximately level. And as pointed out to me that means it's "not so good for cutching".

    My predication: This is a temporary fad.

  15. Mike Richards

    The next standards war

    Oh goodie - after finally killing off HD-DVD, the media industry can get down to doing what it does best - producing any number of rival formats to sting early adopters. Bonus marks will be awarded to the company that manages to include DRM in their 3D technology.

    Count me out of this one.

  16. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Paris Hilton


    About the "killer app" that will cause a rapid adoption of 3D technology in the home, Greer said: "No question the other half of this equation for the home is going to be gaming."

    Yeah, right.


    "Poised to explode" indeed.

    1. charles paul

      Linear Polarization

      The head tilting problem only comes into effect with passive systems using linear polarization. RealD, the system used on the silver-screen, uses circular polarization to get around this exact problem.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        RE: Linear Polarization

        Pretty sure it doesn't. Whatever system you use for ensuring that one image goes to one eye, and the other goes to the other eye, you're still stuck with the fact that the two images are horizontally displaced. Unless the screen rotates to match your eyes (think screens inside glasses), then if your eyes aren't horizontal, it won't work.

    2. Rattus Rattus


      I noticed they carefully didn't mention porn at all, but there's no question really. The killer app to drive 3D adoption in the home is going to be porn, without a doubt. That's what drove VCRs, that's what really brought the internet to critical mass. Every new entertainment technology is going to be a niche until the porn producers pick it up, then it will suddenly be in every home.

  17. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Steven H Taylor

      Autostereoscopy may be the future

      but Philips abanonded the no-glasses approach because the final crisis stretched the payback term by another year or so. The credit crunch caused a delay in investments in quad-HD screens which they felt were necessary for decent quality lenticular displays. Yes, they are that impatient. *Sighs*

    2. The Indomitable Gall

      Polarised projection...

      I take it that's all they do in the cinema, then. So what's all this gumph about LCDs, plasma etc when projection technology can already solve the problem?

  18. tanujay

    WILL BD-ROMS playback 3D blu ray discs


    Just wanted to check if the BD ROMs can playback 3D bluray discs if we upgrade WMP or power DVD.

    I have posted this already in another forum . waiting for an answer.

  19. Mage Silver badge

    Passive vs Shutter

    For about 1/5th the population or more, passive polarised glasses won't work well, unless the frames are shown alternately.

    Shuttered glasses work a little better for lazy eyes, but maybe not at higher frame rates.

    Basically if you have a slightly lazy eye, Stereoscopic TV won't work. The eye strain for good eyes is due to fact that the actual focal distance is fixed on the screen. Your eyes will try and focus at other distances and that causes strain, headaches, nausea. Having matched poor eyesight will help on that if you can watch TV without glasses but need glasses to read or drive :-)

    The basic problem is that none of this is actually 3D, but poor, un-natural stereoscopic illusion. In real life even with one eye, or either eye closed you can perceive 3D. The binocular view of two eyes adds extra information to allow the eye to refocus more quickly and better judge distance. On Stereoscopic vision (so called 3D TV & Cinema) the images are 2D, not binocular 3D images.

  20. The BigYin
    Thumb Down

    3D schmee dee

    What we want is a good story. Everything else will be forgiven so long as the story is well written and executed.

    "Avatar" is a terrible movie, simply awful; and typical of the crap Hollywood studio spew. It was nothing more than "Pocahontas" in space and even the idea that the forest is somehow sentient has all been seen before ("Princess Mononoke" to name one).

    The admittedly excellent visual execution cannot make up for the fact that the acting was wooden, story banal and the plot so full of holes it made a passable Swiss cheese. For example, humanity can travel interstellar distances but can't work out how to tunnel? Wow. When they do some archaeology back home and fine the Channel Tunnel, that's going to blow their minds.

    Like the "Star Wars" prequels, "Avatar" is simply continues the trend of style-over-substance.

    As for 3D...yawn...who gives a crap. I still don't have HD and I still see no need for it; no one has EVER shown me an HD picture that gives a better experience than a decent SD set-up and that is because the sound is way, way more important than the picture for viewer immersion.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Personal content = Pron

    The personal content that will really drive 3D is porn. It has always driven it. When VHS/Beta came along, porn was the major thing that drove people to get the players. When camcorders came along loads of new porn companies started up doing amateur stuff. When DVDs came out loads of videos started to use it's multi-angle features. One of the Internet's main data payloads is porn videos. So to get 3D really adopted offer the 3D cameras to porn companies cheaply.

    Paris because she drives a lot of internet traffic.

  22. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Microsoft 3D anyone?

    Because you all kinow it's not a standard until it's a Microsoft standard.

  23. OzBob
    Thumb Down

    Going to be a collective *yawn* in 2-3 years

    about the whole 3D thing. People are used to interactive experiences now, like gaming, and have much more advanced expectations of immersion (holodeck scenarios etc). 3D movies were cool and gimicky in the 20th century but will struggle to keep up interest now.

  24. Anonymous Coward

    I've heard of a new technology...

    ...that is going to change the mobile phone world forever... I think it's called WAP....

  25. lansalot


    Who in their right mind would want to see 3D adverts in a supermarket ? Leaving aside that it's ADVERTs for second (because we all love adverts shoved under our noses), how bewildering would it be to be actually walking around and having 3D objects leaping off the shelf at you ? Folks would be falling over left, right and centre.

    Moronic. Might work when I'm sitting down and stationary (and yes, I did "ooh" and "ahh" at Avatar), but no way do I want to walk about with this stuff in my face...

  26. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    How comforting

    I am quite reassured that the majority of comments here follow the same thoughts I have on the subject, namely :

    - that 3D will be a mess of standards

    - that we are still in Blu-Ray adoption (or avoidance) phase, so starting over again now is ridiculous

    - that wearing those stupid glasses at home is out of the question

    So now I will just sit back and watch the speed at which this whole mess will implode.

  27. Anonymous Coward

    Driving 3D: Not Pron...

    ....but gaming. OK, perhaps slightly naughty/explicit games. But the controler could be upgraded to perform like a haptics device. Now we are talking interactive 3D, I think that must be in the pipeline (Sony) somewhere.

  28. Rob
    Paris Hilton

    Pick a standard, any standard then insert it pack in the pack

    It will take years for them to settle on a standard let's hope it's about 5+ years cause that's the minimum before people can stomach shelling out for a new TV with different technology on.

    Wouldbe interesting to see some figures on BD Player adoption cause I have a feeling that is still v.niche.

    Let hope the standard they settle on is compatible with the varying eye disfunctions available to the human race, me personally I hope they use a standard which is compatible with my type of colour-bindness.

    Paris, cause she doesn't have a clue either.

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Very jaded and very disappointed with all this!

    There is very little of any real entertainment value about, so this is all just a big gimmick to make cash!

    General TV broadcasts are swamped by reality TV dross, with very little of any interest or challenge. Would you really like to feel like you were in the Big Brother house, sure some would, most of us wouldn't.

    I am still waiting to see HD actually give me that WOW factor. Seen loads of TVs, even bought a 42" HDTV just for my 360, but I am still not impressed. Seen BR players in the bigger high-street places, seen HD broadcasts, still waiting to experience this so called stunning high-quality revolution! Maybe I am so jaded or have just been that unlucky to never catch the right media, but surely everything HD is supposed to be stunning? Obviously not!

    Don't get me started on rehashing anything pre-2005 on HD, what a load of cack! Releasing Moonraker on Blu-Ray, do me a favour!

    1. The Original Steve


      You've got a 42" Full HD TV for your 360 but still not impressed?

      I'd check your settings and calibration mate. HD is pointless on anything smaller than 32" granted - but I can sure tell the difference on the 360 dashboard and games like assains creed II in 1080p and over a scart on my 42" Bravia...

      1. Anonymous Coward

        It's good, just not WOW!

        Don't get me wrong, HD gaming is good, it just doesn't appear to me as "F**K ME! LOOK AT THAT!" sort of good. Running my 360 1080p but maybe I was just expecting something more, something to match the hype.

        Seen one or two quite nice demos from the BBC in fulll HD, very nice.

        I am expecting this 3D malarky to be much the same, very much The Emperor's New Clothes, a lot of people having spent bucket loads of cash on new kit, having to justify it to themselves so they don't feel cheated by all the hype that will come out.

        Each new advance, although it may not live up to the hype, at least pushes us down the tech road a little further and the spin-off techs are often pretty neat.

  30. megan12392

    Cool idea, but...

    I think 3d TV is a really cool idea, but i don't know really see it going that far quite yet. As stated they still have to work out the problems such as the funky 3d glasses (which could be easily lost and or sat on and broken) and also the lack of quality material content. has some neat info on it too though.

  31. Anonymouse 1


    3D is over rated and adds very little to the experiance. After a few minutes you don't even notice it any more.

    I'd rather watch 2D anyday, and I certainly will never purchase a 3D TV.

  32. Peter Kay


    I've had a Zalman Trimon monitor for the last few months. It's a fairly cheap line interlaced stereoscopic TFT (this means the resolution is effectively halved when running in stereoscopic mode and your eyes must be kept level. The more expensive options of the IZ3D monitor or Nvidia shutter glasses are not affected by these limitations (they have different issues..)).

    When it does work in stereoscopic mode (head in correct position, decent source material, not dependent on high resolution) it's very good indeed. However, for the last month I haven't bothered using it in stereoscopic mode at all.

    Partly this is due to the setup - I need to correct the monitor positioning so that the configuration Just Works in my seated position without moving my head much. Leaving that aside, I reckon it's really only useful for a determined and extended gaming/film session - if switching between a game and the desktop it becomes a cycle of switch app, take glasses off, perform operation, switch back, put glasses on..

    I'm sure once I sort the positioning I'll use it more, but I simply cannot see it becoming a permanent fixture. It's good, but not so revolutionary to make me want to use it all the time. At least these devices also work in non stereoscopic mode.

    Prescription glasses wearers also face complications - the cheap polarised clip-ons do not always fit neatly on to glasses. The end result is balancing another pair of glasses beyond your own, affecting head positioning again. Few people are dedicated enough to buy prescription polarised lenses..

  33. Charles King

    You're not getting it

    The WHOLE POINT of 3D is that it drives people back into the cinemas, where they pay top-dollar for the latest stuff. Moreover it can't be camcorded and it can't be reproduced in the home - solving all the piracy issues.

    Faced with declining DVD sales, Hollywood is going to be milking cinematic 3D for all its worth over the next 5 years. Sure, they'll jump on home 3D a few years down the line when the shine has worn off and they need a new format for their wares, but right now they're in no hurry at all.

  34. Paul 37

    Novelty will soon wear off

    3D is a childs toy

    30 % colour loss and images that are still blurry in any high-contrast content (Avatar was dark blue for a reason).

    Also, I can't imagine anyone leaving the cinema saying :

    "Well , the story was crap, the acting was terrible, but the floaty depth objects looked greeeatt*"

    *with the exception of pron, natch.

  35. DS72

    Big screen preferable

    Avatar was amazing in 3D , but I think it will lose a lot being viewed on a small tv.

    3d projectors or wall screens are definitely the way to go.

  36. Brangdon

    @ Pointless

    "...and I certainly will never purchase a 3D TV." You won't have a choice. In about 5 years, almost every new TV with be 3D, and buying a TV without 3D will be like buying one without HD now. Because it'll be cheaper to make only 3D TVs than a mix of 2D and 3D ones, and there's enough interest in 3D to ensure that happens.

    You'll be able to use it in 2D mode, of course. People will be putting on the glasses for occasional special films and events, with most watching in 2D.

  37. heyrick Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Oh woo...

    Wasted^WSpent a few hours reading up on this (Taylor Swft is *still* singing "Love Story"? time for a new song, honey!) and it doesn't impress. The situation would appear to be worse than VHS/Betamax or even BluRay/HDDVD because there are, what, seven different "standards" floating around? New whizzy sexy equipment that will cost a fortune and offer how many 3D titles in return?

    I'm old enough to remember when all the red-green glasses nonsense in the cinema was the rage, and how it would totally transform movie making.

    It didn't.

    And neither will this.

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