Is it Worth Investing in 3D TV Now

Before discussing this issue, it is important for one to have an understanding of what is actually the 3D TV we are talking about now.

The short answer is that 3D television is a display technology that enables viewers in the home to experience TV programs, movies and video games in what is referred to as a stereoscopic effect. It relies on the use of stereopsis or separation, to add the illusion of a third dimension to an otherwise two-dimensional flat image.

This illusion is created by simultaneously displaying two separate full-size but slightly different images of the same scene – one for the left eye and the other for the right eye. The differences in the two images are intended to mimic in very simple terms, the way the human vision system sees an object. The distance separating the eyes of a human being – referred to as interpupillary distance – helps the eyes see objects from a slightly different angle, leading to two slightly but distinct images. The brain processes these differences to generate among others, relative depth information to create the 3-dimensional image.

However, the way 3D TV generates a 3D image is not exactly in line with the way we see an object in space in that while 3D TV relies on image separation only, human vision uses both image separation and eye focusing cues to determine image depth. For many, this is not much of an issue in that image separation is often sufficient for the brain to determine relative image depth. However, this difference leads to a number of undesirable effects with 3D TV such as disorientation and in some cases, even headaches.

What is different from the 3D we have seen in the recent past is that now we are talking about a 3D experience that can support a 1080p HD image for each eye. Up to now, this was not possible.

Challenges of 3D in the Home

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Well, 3D TV in the home has become a reality but… we believe that 3D Television still has to overcome a few serious issues before it will become a true mainstream technology in home entertainment.

In other words, it will still take a few more years for 3D TV technology to become the mainstream TV technology in the home.

Technology is still very expensive to be affordable by the average family. Suffice to say that at the present prices, a typical 3D HDTV and two pairs of 3D-glasses – (3D glasses are necessary for the displayed image by a 3D TV set to appear as a 3D illusion) cost some $1,000 more than a 2D equivalent HDTV. And two sets of glasses are the bare minimum; you a pair of 3D glasses for each member of the family viewing 3D TV content.

3D glasses – 3D TV’s necessary evil: We mentioned the 3D glasses. The issue with the glasses does not stop at their expensive price tag (circa $150 per pair). The added inconvenience brought about by the necessary 3D glasses is definitely something that not even TV makers know if the end consumer would eventually accept. You see, wearing a pair of 3D glasses for an extended period to watch one of the latest Blu ray movies in 3D is an acceptable compromise. But to enjoy all your TV viewing with a rather over sized 3D glasses is another matter.

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3D experience in the home is different from that enjoyed at the movie theater. While there is no doubt that the 3D TV experience in the home is definitely pleasing, yet it is less immersive and impressive than in the movie theater.

3D Content: True 3D TV content is a scarce resource and no matter what the movie and entertainment industry will be doing in this respect, it will remain so for a number of years to come in comparison to what you have in 2D. It is true that some 3D HDTVs come with a 2D-to-3D converter but this would be like the vague virtual surround you get from an old stereo recording.

Upgrade Reluctance: Many have just upgraded from their tube TV to a flat panel TV; some have even got a step further and purchased their second LCD or plasma TV. These are still enjoying their ‘new’ HDTV purchase and I do not think that they will be the once to upgrade to the latest 3D TV technology – at least for now and at the present pricing.

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