Buyer's Guide: 3D TVs
Nice kit - but where's the content?
Group Test The good news, as a Panasonic spokesman told me a couple of months ago, is that “there will be no format war” for 3D TV. It’s true that there are actually two different types of 3D television, but both types can play 3D TV broadcasts and films on 3D Blu-ray Discs, so you don’t have to worry about buying the wrong type of 3D TV and then being left with an expensive and obsolete piece of kit when one format wins out over the other.
3D TV: no format war - well, kind of...
There are currently four major companies preparing to launch 3D television sets this spring - LG, Panasonic, Sony and Samsung – with rivals Sharp, Philips and Toshiba also gearing up for launches later this year. With one exception – which I’ll come to in a moment – all these companies have standardised on a 3D system known as ‘active-shutter’ technology.
All 3D technology works by displaying two slightly different images on the screen – one for the left eye and another for the right eye. Your brain then merges the two images together to create the illusion of three-dimensional depth. Active-shutter televisions rapidly alternate between the two images, flicking from the right-eye image to the left-eye image in quick succession.
The glasses that you use with these TVs include a set of electronic ‘shutters’ – LCD lenses that alternately open and close the left and right eyepieces in sync with the alternating image on the TV screen.
Active shut-out: don't assume Sony specs work with Samsung sets
A small transmitter, either built into the TV or connected to it over a cable, sends a signal to the glasses to ensure they expose the correct eye to the image being shown at that moment on the screen. The synchronisation process is automatic, so don't let anyone tell you you need to pay an engineer to link the two together for you.
tried the samsung in john lewis
blu-ray looked pretty good but it all comes back to the same 2 points:
- is the whole family going to sit there with jarvis cocker style specs on to watch eastenders in 3d?
- ah yes eastenders. content is king, so 90% of the stuff on tv is not better in 3d anyway. so 3d in the cinema is great but still doesn't work for the living room...
I don't even have Blu-Ray or a HDTV. I simply don't see the point (no one has been able to show me an HDTV and standard TV, of comparable size and show me any difference). On the HDTVs my friends have, I can't see any difference between a DVD or a Blu-Ray. So I don't see the point in wasting money on them until kit needs replaced.
Sound is the important thing. That is what will immerse you into the story. Black-and-white movies are still captivating because of the sound and, well, the story. Laural&Hardy are still funny because of the jokes. 3D adds nada.
Actually I take that back. 3D might give a good movie something extra, but a bad 3D movie is just going to be a bad movie in 3D.
From what I understand, the brain only uses stereoscopic depth perception for the first 10m or so, after that it's brute logic and other tricks (Anyone know for sure?). So what is the point in 3D when vast swathes of the scene don't need to be 3D at all?
More anti-piracy bullcrap is my guess. Bullcrap that *would not be needed* if the RIAA and MPAA simply got with the feckin' program!
Good clear introduction.
Misses some points:
1) While implied, the article doesn't explicitly state that it's not 3D at all. Only Stereoscopic. Like Viewmaster or Victorian novelties.
2) Maybe 20% of people who DO see real 3D, don't get ANY depth illusion from Stereoscopic video.
3) The Active shutter glasses may work for some people with one eye slightly weaker where the passive glasses don't..
4) Prolonged Stereoscopic video viewing will cause headache and eye strain. In reality unlike real life or real 3D displays(there are some not holographic), the image distance is actually always on the screen. The eye unconsciously tries to focus on apparently closer or further objects based on the parallax illusion. This is what causes the headaches or even nausea. The definition of "prolonged" is going to vary per person.
Not so standard after all.
Interestingly I went to IMAX in London with a pair of the decent quality Real3D glasses a friend had bough to go to his local cinema with.
When the 3D stuff started I just got a blurred image. No matter which way I turned the glass around. I was popular getting up to go and get a pair of IMAX specs that day!
Are the companies having a laugh?
First there is far too little content around to justify buying a 3D TV.
Especially since Microsoft announced last week a 3D imaging technique that needs no glasses.
So surely any sensible IT bod will wait a year or two.
But in the mean time, have a laugh and ask Currys for a demo.
I went into Currys for a 3D TV demo and was told that the TV did 'upscaling' to 3D. I asked them to explain this and I had to try hard to reframe from laughing.
They seem to actually think that the TV can turn _any_ 2D programme currently on Freeview into a simulated 3D show in real-time no less and they tried to show me a '2D->3D' 1 min demo from a USB stick.
This 2D-3D demo was less effective than real 3D TV but it did have a 3D effect.
I tried to explain that they had the wrong end of the stick about up-scaling and what they had tried to show me was pre-rendered 2D to 3Dvideo and I had to leave before I started choking with laughter.
Oddly the '2D -3D' or 3D demos they had on their £2200 TV were obvious at the wrong data-rate or just plain broken as they kept on stuttering and pausing. No reason from the staff as to why these were the only 2 demos available (no 3D Bu-ray was available and no they didn't have it connected up to Freeview!) Dude - If I'm shelling out £2500 I want to see it working!
I spoke to a recent Currys 3D TV customer and he was asked to shell out a further £50 for a HDMI 1.4 cable as one wasn't included (choke) with his £2500 TV.
He went home and tried a HDMI 1.3b and guess what, it worked just fine.....
Nice one Curry. Don't think you'll get many sales...