back to article 3D TV: Avatar or Ishtar?

We've seen plenty of forecasts predicting how many 3D TVs will be sold in the coming years - the latest, from UK-based IMS Research, puts the total at 218m shipped by the end of 2015 - but none that show that punters want or will use the technoology. As we reported recently, there have been small spending surges in the US and …


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  1. MarkOne

    What these surveys fail to grasp

    is that consumers may not be ready for it just yet, or may not even want it, but pretty soon you won't be able to buy a TV that does not do it... (unless you are a chav that buys home electronics from supermarkets).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Interesting definition of chav

      Certainly one that's never been applied to me. I get all my consumer electronics from Asda. My DVD player plays DVDs and my toaster toasts. Am I missing something?

      Back on topic: While I think we all agree that the whole 3D thing is a sales ploy; most people seem to think that said ploy is to get people to replace their perfectly functional devices. Actually, the ploy is to distract people from the fact that there's nothing worth watching in the first place...

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Pretty accurate definition of chav

        I'd go further to say that anyone who buys anything from Asda is dancing on the line of chav-dom, but there you go... It's the only supermarket I've seen where people go in their pyjamas.

        Not that I'd say everyone who visits Asda is a chav, but the ratio of chav to non-chav definitely increases...

        1. MrT

          Isn't that because...

          ... Asda opens some of its stores for all 24hrs? Okay, point taken... anyway, around here the store tends to get pronounced Ass-da, which might be another curious insight into the clientelle

          Oh yeah, 3D TV. No. No. No. Might work for lonley types or DINKies, but not for a family with young kids. Totally agree about it being a ploy to sell more boxes, but it's where we were heading when TVs went up to 600Hz scanning - allows for the reintroduction of interlacing without real degradation in picture quality.

          And. Planet of the Smurfs is not Brothers in Arms - why pick that failfest of a movie as the driver of a new(sort of) format? Some of the other ones on the list will be more of a draw to anyone who has actually seen Avatar.

  2. John Mangan

    Pros and Cons


    More immersive with the right content


    Family sitting around with their jamjars on

    Non-interoperability of different specs so need a bag of 'spares' for when friends come around

    Easy to lose one remote, what are the odds on losing/breaking expensive glasses

    Not great/relevant for many types of content

    possible restrictions on viewing angles/distances in modern, cramped houses

    I left out expense since that will fall. Yes, internet access would be more useful.

  3. Marco van de Voort
    Thumb Up

    World Cup

    For a real drive, the Word cup broadcasts should have been 3D of course ;_)

    The only thing I really wanted to add is that while I like 3D for some movies (like action or cartoon) in the cinema, I notice it is more exhausting.

    This is ok in a cinema, but at home I mostly watch more leisurely, and then the fatigueing effect might be too much to ask, except for the occasional film.

    There is a chance one gets used to it overtime, but I already decided to first have a good look at such a set at a friend's before buying one. Viewing angle is something else I'd like to check first

    1. Paul Foxworthy

      World Cup *is* in 3D

      For a selection of matches. See for the schedule on Australian television. If your network isn't doing it, ask them why.

  4. nordwars
    Thumb Up

    I'd use it...

    And already do - I have a NVidia 3D Vision capable PC and use it for 3D gaming. It works very well in fact, although the (shutter) glasses could be a bit more comfortable and aren't great if wearing for more than a few hours. Even works in conjuction with prescription glasses. The technology isn't perfect yet, but is bound to get better in time.

    Because of the comfort issue, I'd probably use it more for watching movies and playing games than for general TV viewing.

    I'm not even the early adopter type - not sure why I was in this case actually, but I'm mostly happy with it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      . . . but it would be fair to say, wouldn't it, that one person directly in front of a single screen is slightly different to several family members arranged around a room? And (some) game content would probably lend itself very well to 3D so it's a slightly different question.

    2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      There's the rub ...

      Not comfortable, aren't great after a few hours and not perfect yet - Can the manufacturers actually get the get things up to spec before the great unwashed decide it's failed technology or not for them?

      Maybe there's a quiet inevitability if manufacturers simply pursue delivering 3D which makes the whole debate rather moot and pointless. It will either catch on or go the way of the WAP, DAT and MiniDisc.

  5. Herby

    It is not really "3D"

    Actually it is stereoscopic. You get the same view regardless of where you sit. True "3D" is a holographic experience, like looking out a window. You get the picture you are given, no more, no less. In that case, a simple picture is just as good. So, in the grand scheme of things, all I can say "why bother".

    That puts it in the Ishtar category. I wish it luck.

    1. Annihilator Silver badge

      Good call

      It's also trying to force the 3-D effect only via binocular cues. Completely misses the monocular cues, which is one of the reasons for the headaches. One example of monocular cues is depth perception via your focus shifting (accommodation).

      Frankly, I think the "3D" efforts in cinemas are fucking awful.

      1. Steve Roper

        Good call seconded

        I went to see Avatar in 3D - actually pseudo-3D as previously posted - and vowed never to see another movie in 3D again. You're spot on with the failure to use monocular cues. All through the movie, my perception kept shifting from depth perception (the 80' or so distance to the screen) to binocular perception (on-screen characters apparently supposed to be 6' in front of me). I think I could keep my eyes fooled for a maximum of about 15 seconds before my depth perception kicked back in and wrecked the effect. It was so distracting that I remembered nothing about the movie and everything about how awful the pseudo-3D effect was.

        No, I really hope this technology dies on its arse like the fad it is. If it ends up where everything only becomes available in 3D, I'll be the first to be hacking it to a 2D version before watching it.

    2. TheOtherMe

      Fully agree

      My eyes already work in true 3D (I can see the world around me) more over I can move to a different spot and get a new perspective on what I'm seeing.

      When they offer me the ability to rotate an image through all 3 dimensions, or just move around and see it from different angles - WITHOUT- the need for special 'glasses', then and only then will I consider it 3D technology and fork out my hard-earned for it.

  6. Rob

    Industry has lost it's marbles

    I just don't get how the industry sees 3D as being even remotely profitable, the amount they must of spent on R&D over the years coupled with manufacturing costs vs units sold, now throw into the mix the uptake of HD. Surely HD should be a warning sign of the overall customer apathy about this sort of TV tech, it still hasn't reached market saturation in terms of how many people have HD TV's let alone how many people have taken up a HD subscription with say someone like Sky.

    I think the industry is overstating the consumer 'want' for this technology. If they want people to buy into it en-masse they should perhaps employ Apple's marketing dept they are great at selling mediocre tech at ridiculous prices.

    1. david bates

      HD takeup...

      could be lower than it might be due to the terrible picture quality one sees in various major highstreet chains. Either the picture is pixellated to hell, or the TV is set up wrongly, with shadows and ghosting.

      Even if everything *seems* correct it often hard to tell the SD from HD content even when they are side by side. Rarely do you see something that blows your socks off.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    3D is going to change the way we consume video content...

    ... at least to the same extent that WAP has changed the way we use our phones.

    1. Rob

      You could be right...

      ... but lets attach a time frame to that statement of about 10-15 years.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No to 3D

    Don't need it - don't want it.

  9. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

    To be fair...

    ...they were both pretty bad.

  10. dogged
    Thumb Down

    Not really

    I'd much rather have UPnP and DNLA built into my telly than 3D.

    3D is a gimmick for content-providers. If you've digitised your DvD library and are keeping it on a server, then plug&play connectivity with that library is far more enticing.

    And let's be honest here; most TV manufacturers aren't in the content business. They just want to sell more goggleboxes so I'd recommend that they take steps in this direction. Leave the 3D gimmicry to Sky and just let me watch my movies on my TV with a minimum of hassle.

    1. Mike Richards Silver badge

      Bang on

      This is the latest way for the movie industry to get people back to the theatres. Now we've all got big screens and HD the living room is looking increasingly appealing compared to the out-of-focus, crappy print quality, fast-food, daycare centres of the multiplex.

      But if they can now offer 3D that's something you can't have at home. So for a couple of years people have been drifting along to see the novelty - some good ('Up'), some bad ('Clash of the Titans') - but all highly profitable as they've been able to bump up ticket prices.

      Where it all falls down is that people who actually *like* 3D are few and far between. Even those movies that haven't been post-produced to look 3D (hello 'Last Airbender') tend to look a bit murky, are hard work on the eyes and come across as LESS immersive than a well-projected (especially digitally) 2D movie. I'd be perfectly happy never to see another 3D feature ever again outside of a theme park.

      So no, 3D won't persuade me to buy a new set. Bigger screen, better blacks, Internet out of the box - yes, thinner - maybe.

      And if they want me back in the multiplex - well tasers for the staff, a projectionist who knows what the focus does and content that doesn't assume I left the brain at home would be a good start.

      1. chr0m4t1c

        Has it drawn people to the cinema?

        I've stayed away.

        My local cinema is a bit overpriced anyway, but they've take the opportunity to up their prices for 3D films *and* they pretty much only show films in 3D now.

        Consequently I haven't been to the cinema for over 12 months now, even though there have been a good number of things that I wanted to see.

        Having not seen them I probably won't buy them on DVD/BluRay and I have no idea about what's coming up in the future either. Ultimately it's probably saved me a fortune as I now just wait for the 2D version to show up on Sky Movies. That is until Sky try to force 3D on us and I cancel my subscription to that too.

        Naturally, their loss of income is due to "piracy", not bone-headed thinking on their part.

  11. adamski...

    not yet

    Just bought a new Panny with freeview HD but not 3D.

    I don't currently think the £500-£1000 premium is worth it. In a few years when they're as common as muck, I'll consider my next move.

    Until then, i'll spend the grand I've saved on a proper 3D experience at the movies.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    3D HD Idol Concerts

    3D HD Idol Concerts would be a seller for me, chance of it happening due to the costs of making such delicious content == 0

  13. nobby

    one-legged man in an arse-kicking contest

    The thing is, anyone can wander up and watch the arse-kicking contest without forking out £50+ for a pair of glasses that give them headaches.

    So I suggest that the one-legged man will get more viewers.

  14. JDX Gold badge

    I'd go for it if...

    ... the glasses become standardised and cheap. The static ones used in cinemas aren't too bad - a bit silly but not as bad as people seeing you using the wii! they are also seriously cheap.

    If it starts coming as standard on TVs I think it will take off but not replace normal films. However, I wonder if PS3/XBOX/etc will drive adoption. Something like Call of Duty in 3D is targetted at just the right market - young techo-savvy spenders, and will probably be pretty cool.

    1. Havin_it
      Paris Hilton

      Don't be ridiculous

      Video gaming does not drive adoption of new technology.

      Porn does.

      1. Matthew Ellison
        Paris Hilton

        Not true...

        If that was the case we'd have had HD-DVD and not Blu-Ray. The vast majority of porn studios sided with HD-DVD due to cheaper production costs. The consumers however sided with Blu-Ray, largely due to the PS3. Gaming did indeed drive the adoption of the last format war, porn did not.

        On topic, I went HD for my xbox over 4 years ago, only a few months ago finally signing up with Sky's HD service because my TV region will be last to get Freeview HD in 2 years time. It's the same for the majority of my gaming friends and colleagues. I envisage it will be a very similar approach for 3D games, especially as my PS3 will only require a firmware upgrade, although Sony will probably require payment for it by the time they release it.

        Paris because, well it's obvious surely.

        1. Rob

          Wrong comparison

          "The vast majority of porn studios sided with HD-DVD due to cheaper production costs." That's a format war, I'd say the HD to 3D route is a tech level/upgrade issue. Either way the porn industry wouldn't care which format was finally settled on, they were just interested in getting better quality video of plumbers servicing bored housewifes whose names could have been cindy or debbie, which required a bigger disc than a DVD.

        2. Mike Richards Silver badge

          HD-DVD / Blu-Ray

          The movie studios sided with Blu-Ray, probably because it offered even more DRM options.

          The PS3 only helped adoption, but HD-DVD was dead by the time the PS3 actually started selling in bulk. Lucky they put Blu-Ray in the console, because it's something of a disappointment otherwise.

        3. Daniel B.

          PS3 Firmware update

          Don't worry, you won't need to pay for FW updates. Never have, never will, and they already added some kind of 3D support in the last FW release.

          Unfortunately I can't acknowledge this, as mine is still running 3.15, thanks to the stupid decision of nuking OtherOS support. :(

          Anyway, I'm glad that Blu-Ray won that format war, HD-DVD sounded stupid and it also baffles me that anyone would back an inferior product at all. On storage capacities, it was like the 5.25" trying to beat the 3.5" floppy disc, or the Compact Casette trying to beat the CD. Then again, it has happened before ... with the 8 track tape.

  15. Downside

    3D a non feature

    I'm not gonna rush down to buy a 3d set, nor am I going to pay a premium for a 3d set when my current panel comes to end-of-life, nor will I pay for "glasses" etc. So that's a FAIL.

    Holograms..remember them? They were cool back in 1983. how many have you got on your wall?

    3D is not good enough, content is not good enough, content will not be significant enough to justfiy it.

    I could almost see hardcore gaming being worthy of it, but the future of gaming is non-hardcore... think Wiii, think Kinect, think 3/4+ people playing gesture games, can you really see that many people wearing expensive glasses to watch the main telly in a home? Only if you're a marketing dreamer working for Sony.

    1. Daniel B.

      Gesture gaming is a joke

      " the future of gaming is non-hardcore... think Wiii, think Kinect, think 3/4+ people playing gesture games"

      All I can *think* about that is that guy from the Kinect presentation playing Dance Central and looking like a dork. It looks like something out of "Decline of Video Gaming" that even the creators of THAT series didn't imagine possible.

      However, I do agree that 3D whatever isn't just ready for consumers yet. The "wear funny glasses" kind works well for the movie theater, but fails for home use. And the few glass-less 3D devices I've seen can only be used in certain angles, and are usually headache-inducing. Ow.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I dunno

      Re your analysis of gaming, I seem to remember one or two people buying modern warfare two.

      Sure lots of people play "casual" games but the fps gaming market it huge and will remain huge for a very long time.

  16. Mike Brown

    love it

    I bought a 3d tv 2 weeks ago and love it. There isnt any content for it yet. My PS3 cant play 3d blurays yet. I dont have any TV channels to watch, and im a bit bored of the 3d tech demos ive dowbnloaded, but what im not bored of is gaming. Wipeout HD 3D is incredible. I played wipeout to death last year, but with the free update to 3d iove been playing it again, and my lap times have improved. The sence of depth makes it easier to steer round corners, and to tell where the edge of the track is. 3d makes gaming better, much better. Not just in a "wowser that looks cool sorto of way" but in a real tangible improvement to your performance. im a big fan of 3d, everone i tell thinks im mad to get into it this early, but when they see it in the flesh, they soon understand

  17. Pavlovs well trained dog

    its inevitable

    So may as well embrace it

    but those bastard manufacturers are going to have to prove this won't be another BD vs HD, VHS vs Betamax - debacle before I spent a penny of my money on it

    When I buy meself a nice new telly it'll be the other features and price that dictate which comes home.. if it happens to include 3D so be it..

    1. OrsonX
      Thumb Down

      VHS vs Betamax

      hear hear, STANDARDS!

      as well as all the other negatives mentioned here for 3D, this is another biggy, if not the biggest. At the moment there are multiple technologies for delivering 3D at home and numerous other one on the way. Three primary technologies exist: polarizing glassed, shutter glasses and paralax(?) screens (non-glasses 3DTV). Then you have frame rates and resolution to contend with etc etc.

      Until the VHS of 3D emerges then forget it.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Death to '3D' TV.

    I hope it fails hard. For starters it looks fucking weird. '3D', sort of, a weird optical illusion of 3D that just gives you a headache after a while. As it is I already need to wear glasses to watch TV (or movies at the cinema), I don't want to have to wear another pair, in fact I don't want to have to wear anything extra just so I can see the picture. That's before you get into the whole nonsense of needing enough pairs for when your mates come round, or some backup in case a pair fail, and so on and so forth.

    I could rant for hours against '3D' TV, so much so that my mates now don't bring the subject up when I'm in earshot...

  19. Ian Ferguson
    Thumb Down

    As far as I can see...

    ...3D was added as a gimmick to films to encourage people back into the cinema and away from pirated movies (or, god forbid, waiting for the film to come out on DVD).

    As home AV setups now have colour, surround sound, widescreen and hi-def, cinemas needed a new trick. Once people have 3D at home, cinema will need to find a new fad.

    The thing is... did you hear anyone actually crying out for 3D? Widescreen, maybe (nobody was UNhappy with their standard def TV); hi-def, at a stretch (most people can't tell the difference between DVD and Blu-Ray). 3D, though?

  20. Annihilator Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    "Do punters really want it?"

    In a word - "no". Frankly I think the 3D solution (though as pointed out already, it's stereoscopic, not 3D) is appalling. The problem I've got is that I can't get on board with what is effectively dressing up to watch my TV and without the special glasses the image is useless.

    Cinema can just about get away with it, but in my own home, the TV does NOT command my full attention at all times.

    Bring in proper 3D without any glasses and we'll talk. Until then, it's a gimmick and can die a slow painful death for all I care.

  21. Circadian

    And what will be shown?

    Let's see - I wonder how much 3D would improve:

    cookery shows

    "reality TV"

    "reality cop-chase" shows (hmm, wonder how much tax-payer money would be wanted to retrofit all the police vehicles with 3D cams...)

    Ant and Dec

    What? You mean TV shows dramas and films now?

    Oh and last thing - you *know* that advertisers are going to make you want to vomit once 3D adverts kick in.

  22. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    A better horse

    Somebody said that if Henry Ford had done market research - he would have built a better horse.

    All the above arguements were made against colour TV and HD.

    el'reg readers that have thier DVD collections ripped to a server somewhere and want a TV that can be a domain controller are something of a minority.

    3D TVs cost next to nothing more to produce than a regular TV, passive (cinema style) goggles cost a couple of $ - your next TV is going to have them.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      @a beter horse

      You used to need to wear glasses to watch colour TV?

      People were made nauseous by HD?

      Viewing angles were a problem with both?

      I don't think any of the above arguments were ever made for colour TV or HD.

  23. Oliver 7
    Thumb Down

    Will eventually be standard...

    Once the price comes down enough 3D will probably be integrated in all tellies the same way Freeview (HD) is now. I expect UPnP/DLNA will be included too.

    I still have a 28" Sony Trinitron CRT, when the 3D fad has brought the price of a non-3D 37"+ LED screen at Richer Sounds below the £400 mark, I'll get one. Not a day before.

    I may be a tight-fisted wanker but it means I have a long cock!

  24. dz-015

    It's nonsense

    It makes films look a bit crap and fuzzy, it's tiring to watch, it makes lots of people (including me) feel nauseous, and it requires everyone to sit there with silly glasses on. The sooner this stupid fad dies, the better.

  25. Anonymous Coward


    We ddn't want it when we had to wear those cardboard glasses with the blue and red celophane, what makes them think we want to watch it using expensive battery operated glasses that won't work with other brand TV's?

    Ok so I get that they were waiting for HD TV to penetrate the market a bit more and the TV's refresh rate to get to 200MHz (because that is what makes the current crop of 3D TV's technically possible), but seriously, we could have had 3D TV years ago if we had all been willing to wear special glasses (glasses would have been cheap enough to throw away after a few uses).

    TV's that can play content (in popular formats like DivX and even H.264, and the newly open sourced Google codec) from network or USB connected storage is top of my wish list.

  26. Anonymous Coward

    I'll get a 3D telly...

    ... when the shutter tech is built into these things:

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seems the cart has rather overtaken the horse on this one

    the film industry made a concerted effort to get into 3D in order to stave off the ever-present evil of the downloader: you can't pirate 3D movies by sitting in the cinema with a camcorder, simple as that (overlooking, of course, the actual routes by which movies are pirated, but the film industry does that as well), much as last time around the push for 3D was an attempt to kill off TV (worked well, didn't it?). Now that they've got all the DRM gubbins in place to let you watch that 3D content at home, it's seen as an easy win for everyone to push the consumer into 3D at home: higher prices for 3D Blu-Rays, higher prices for equipment upgrades, it's all a tasty little treadmill.

    The problem, of course, is the content or, more precisely, the lack thereof. Making TV in 3d is not currently a familiar or easy process: for instance, the cameras currently have to be focused manually and have quite a shallow focal plane. Test footage created by LG for Formula One Management has been rather lacklustre, showing poor focus and blurring of fast-moving objects. Show that to anyone who's splashed out on a fancy new set and they'll be less than pleased.

    There are too many technical hurdles to cross at the moment before home 3D is an everyday thing, I believe. Crossed they will be, but for now that cart needs a bit of braking.

  28. Sven


    If i have to put glasses on, I will never buy it. People say its a small thing and you won't notice, but next thing you know, I'll be required to put on certain clothes or shoes to fully enjoy a film.

    Beer: what if your drunk? Has that been tested? 3D while drunk :-)

  29. Lamont Cranston

    I can't see the attraction.

    Then again, HD is no great shakes to me. My widescreen CRT has a plenty sharp enough picture for watching DVDs, so why would I want to replace it before it breaks? And then buy BluRays of all my DVDs? No thanks. Not to mention the fact that flat-TVs are lightweight and easy prey to curious toddlers.

    I suppose that when my CRT finally bows down and dies (it stopped doing audio a long time ago, but the picture is fine and I have a surround-sound system), the flat-panel, LCD-whatever I buy will probably be 3D ready but, like everyone else has said, I'd much rather be able to connect it to my home network and stream stuff to it.

    Not too taken with 3D cinema, either, as you have to pay a premium on top of what are already expensive tickets.

    Bah, humbug!

    (beer icon, as I know where I'd rather spend my money)

  30. David Haworth

    3D not a selling point

    Watching avatar in 3D made me feel sick and I had to walk out, so I'm perhaps not the natural consumer for this, however when I was watching it, the 3d effect felt like it was making the image less sharp. I've paid a fair amount of money to get ultra sharp Full HD bluray films playing in all their glory, so I don't really want to dull it all with 3D.

    I do suspect that 3D will eventually become a given on many TV sets and in the future, if I'm buying a new TV I wouldn't turn down a 3D one, if it didn't affect anything else. I just wouldn't go out of my way or spend too much extra for it. I'm rather hoping it will drive down the prices of boring old 2D HD projectors really...

    More of a concern to me is the plug compatibility. supposedly we need HDMI 1.4 for fullHD 3d, but what HDMI1.4 kit is there? the indistry is still struggling to get people to HDMI1.3. and if you want the full, lossless surround sound from your bluray, you'll need to feed the HDMI through a surround sound amp/processor but there's now 1.4 ones around at the mo (unless I'm mistaken) and all the early adopters and hifi/AV geeks have only recently upgraded all their high end kit to 1.3. they won't be keen on selling it for 1/4 of it's value for the next plug standard, esp with the spectre of this new cat5 based cabling hanging over everything as well.

    The obvious solution would be to have 3D bluray players with 2 HDMI's, 1x1.4 to go to the TV and 1x1.3 to carry audio to the amp, but apparently companies like Sony haven't thought of this.

    it all just seems riddled with problems and looks like an attempt to get consumers to buy it all again, just as they thought they'd got sorted. from the PoV, I'm not predicting it's meteoric rise, perhaps more of a slow burn with a moderate and then falling number of 3D titles.

    I can see it being cool for games, but again, all the points above still apply.

  31. AndrewG

    Not for me thanks

    I never sit there goggle eyed staring at the TV, I'm always reading an occasional page out of a book, or using a notepad to write stuff (aTV in the background helps me think) or looking at teh otehr people in the room getting munchies, lots of stuff . 3DTV as it currently stands means just watching TV, that might be TV makers and channels Nirvana but it shows a complete disconnect for how people use the device (I don't know anyone where the whole family stops and watches TV without doing anything else).

    An RJ-45 port and an internal hard disk could have potential, but I think thats crippled too becasue I don't think unlimited broadband is going to survive the next few years and I don't think any country has the network backbone to support the level of downloads youd get if internet connected TV was ubiquitous.

    So I think both technologys are heading for the niche.

  32. Brian D. Switzer 1
    Thumb Down

    I'll pass

    Not interested. Don't care about 3D television. In particular I'm not interested in the silly glasses required at this point. I already wear glasses and I'm not about to start stacking them. Tell the manufacturers to shut down the hype machine. It's getting boring.

  33. Z 1


    Wake me up when this fad is over.

    I don't understand the recent obsession with 3D. Seems that the electronics companies are desperate to flog us new crap. I went to one of the recent 3D shows at the cinema to watch clash of the titans. Took the glasses off after five minutes because they were making me feel nauseous.

  34. Anonymous Coward


    I watched a SKY 3D footie match and was not impressed. 3D added little to the actual game, but looked better when there were more close-up shots of players emerging from the tunnel etc. The on-screen graphics were impressive.

    Overall it reminds me of those old 'Viewmaster' stereoscopic gadgets - they used to show pictures that appeared to be a series of flat images, one on top of another.

    So while you get an impression of depth there is very little genuine third dimension or roundedness to foreground objects.

    I'll be sticking with 'old-fashioned' HD for a while I think.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      On-screen graphics are the best part of 3D right now

      the amount of control that can be had over their generation makes them easy to integrate and allows tricks you can't do otherwise while obscuring less of the picture

  35. Anonymous Coward

    3D (from now on called £D)

    is just a way of making gimmicky money. The only £D experience that would make me spend money on at home is a holodeck.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    I'm surprised

    I'm surprised that so many are against 3D telly. If 3DTV porn is as good as stereoscopic porn stills, then I'm all for it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I think the porn factor no longer applies... that's what the internet is for. So until 3D becomes the standard for PC monitors that will not effect the market.

      That said 3D on computers would seem to be a better place to introduce this tech; where the viewer is more likely to be sitting directly in front of the screen and has the extra's potential of 3D desktops (ie: more eye candy for Windows 8/9?) and of course games.

  37. Disco-Legend-Zeke

    I Thought About...

    ...Stereoscopic television, and "Invented" 3-D television during the Captain EO days.

    I patented (4,709,263) the IP. It is now public domain.

    The technology already exists around the world. KMQ, a pioneer in over/under presentation in books and magazines, used the system for video. No special TV is needed, the left and right eye views are stacked with lefitan and rightian flavors of who's on top. If glasses are not available, there is the mere annoyance of seeing two images instead of one. When using a simple prismatic or periscopic viewer, it becomes even more annoying, there are three images, but the virtual image in the center is in PERFECT 3-D. A polarizing filter gets rid of the vestigal images.

    The advantage to the content provider is instant access to all existing channels (hello, NETFLIX?) and the price of public domain glasses is low enough to allow everyone to bring their own.

    There were already optical viewers for the side-by-side-anamorphic flavor now in favor at this year's NAB, but the lense requirements will keep them expensive.

  38. AJ01

    All Wrong

    I concur who on earth wants to sit in front of TV with a set of stupid glasses. Most folks have laser eye surgery so they don't have to use glasses then this comes along. Also Avatar was an utterly terrible film the 3d aspect didn't change that one bit. And as for the porn industry i can think of a few things i don;t need to see in 3d although it could be funny once or twice.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Not taken with it

    You pay more for the experience, so feel ripped off when you have to hand the glasses back at the end of the film.

    I can't stand anything on TV now, why the heck would I want to watch Eastenders, coronation street or even worse, hollyoaks in HD, NEVER MIND 3D. Or X factor, or a cooking program, or anything that has the word reality TV in it.

    Give me something to watch I like, that isn't a soap, reality TV, sport or repeat and I might care if it then came in HD or later on, 3D.

    Oh and while we are at it, I can't stand 3D films that have bit just for 3D, so when watched normally they just have bits that look silly. Like the piano in the alice film, the bit with the bat and ball in aliens versus monsters etc. Adding scenes for a different film format. What will happen to Eastenders when useless directors peddling their twaddle start putting in 3D scenes just for those viewers, like well 'ard jumping up, or that glass being thrown.

  40. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    It will work - eventually

    Your next TV is going to have passive 3D anyway - it's just too cheap not to fit it.

    This doesn't require HDMI1.4 and shows 2D TV normally and only needs cheap glasses.

    Games are likely to use active glasses, because the higher framerate matters and you more frequently upgrade game machine hardware. Phones and handheld games consoles will go auto-sterescopic - doesn't need glasses but only one viewer.

    Interestingly there is a strong age related effect in user studies, if you are over 40 you don't like 3D as much as a 20something - the movie companies love this idea.

    The crap content and nausea at the moment is a combination of the current camera technology and cinematographers not knowing how to use it - look at how bad colour movies were when they first came out!

    We make 3D systems for ROVs, robotic surgery, remote drones etc where people sit in front of them for 8 hours without feeling as sick as you get after 30mins of Avatar (although that's not all due to the 3D-ness)

  41. Anonymous Coward


    Im sorry but ive used it several times in home and watch countless 3D films in the cinima, its nice but ill not be buying, wearing the glasses isnt great and if your a film night in with the kids they just get fed up wearing them.

    also they have had to increase the refresh rate to compensate the left right frame rendering and lets be honest that in reality kicks it down to 100MHz.

    What id rather is significant improvment in SD upscaling, significant improvment in noise reduction and black levels a reduction in blocking on SD TV, better networking and media centre intigration etc

    Lets get what we have perfect before jumping on a new band waggon with its own downfalls

  42. Pahhh

    @any comments concerning 3D glasses

    Lots of people are mentioning 3D glasses. I thought I would point that there are sets that actually dont require them. Check out "philips wow 3d".

    I saw one of these sets in real life november last year and was quite blown away. 3D , no glasses.

    Still it doesnt address the fact it makes you feel sick and that 3D is more hype than usefulness.

  43. Graham Bartlett

    Gaming, maybe. TV, nope.

    I can see the benefits for gaming. You're in an immersive 3D environment already, and where you look is entirely your choice.

    Not so for films and TV. The choice of camera shot, camera travel, zoom and focus is a major part of directing - and the central feature of this is the fact that a screen is a 2D medium. For films with human actors, 3D is a hacked add-on which doesn't work properly. For films done in a computer (like Avatar), you can get true 3D, sure - but it's still "filmed" in a way which assumes a 2D screen. The fact that you can't look around yourself breaks the immersive quality, and if you do get immersed then it induces a motion-sickness feeling like someone's taped your eyelids open and is pushing you headfirst down a corridor on a trolley.

    Practically that would only be fixed with true walk-around-and-choose-your-own-vantage-point 3D. At which point all the techniques of screen-work go out the window and the techniques of stage acting become more useful. This rather knackers the group-participation thing with watching movies though.

    1. OrsonX
      IT Angle

      choose-your-own-vantage-point 3D

      CYOVP-3D (TM)

      I know how stereoscoping 3D is achieved, but does anybody here know how CYOVP-3D could be achieved?

  44. tom 24
    Thumb Up

    You have to want it!

    Who cares whether other losers want to watch the latest Disney tripe in 3D? Well, I do, kind of.

    I WANT ONE to play games on, therefore they *must* become popular; otherwise, they will never be cheap enough that I can afford one. End of discussion.

  45. Leo Maxwell

    Nobody has mentioned...

    That about 5% of the population (including my wife) can't even see the 3D effect, due to an eye dysfunction. Many more who have even an extremely mild sight dysfunction will get headaches, etc.

    And really, is it all worth it?

  46. markx

    3d without glasses

    Most of the negative comments here relate to the requirement to wear glasses. If you listen to the content producers, they are pretty clear that their ultimate goal is display systems that do not require glasses, and as someone posted up above there are already sets out there that do not require them (eg Philips.) For now they are very expensive, but there is no reason to think they will not come down in price eventually.

    So the real question is, if you can get stereoscopy without the glasses, would you get it? Once the premium gets down to a certain level, it seems pretty clear that almost every set will be stereoscopy-enabled.

    Of course those who buy a glasses-encumbered set now will have to shell out again in a few years, but such is the fate of the early adopter.

  47. A. Lewis
    Thumb Down

    Big pile o' pants.

    I've seen avatar, and a few other 3D films. The effect has yet to strike me as anything more than a gimmick. Certainly not worth putting up with silly glasses that dim the picture for it.

    Be compelled to do that in my own home? Not likely fella!

  48. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    @3d without glasses

    The issue for 3d without glasses displays is that they only work for a single viewing angle - so you have to position the viewer and the screen with the same precision quad-stereo fans used for listening to Dark Side of the moon. More expensive ones have 3 or 5 or 7 positions but each extra set of views reduces the resolution even more.

    They are good for cell phones/gameboys where you hold the screen directly in front of your eyes - less good for a TV in the corner of the room. They also have issues showing regular 2d content.

  49. CmdrX3

    Anyone else sick of hearing about 3D

    No interest in it. It's fine and dandy for the odd movie in the cinema but for general home use (especially at the ridiculous prices they want for it) I'll give it a miss. They've been trying to flog us this 3D idea for decades and frankly I'm sick of it. HD is good enough for me and gives a nice crisp clear picture. Why would I want to mess that picture up with fuzzy-assed 3D (even with the goggles).

    When 3D is so good that I think I'm sitting in the middle of the action, then I'll invest, but I'm certainly not putting any money towards the current seasickovision thats on offer.

  50. mky

    I'll wait for braile-o-vision

    3D is so far down on my list of features, it is non existent. Picture quality/clarity, complete color fidelity and total elimination of pixelation are far more important to me. Cost would also be a rather important factor in a purchasing decision.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yay for 3D

    ...because it means I'll get cheap 1080p TV sets which will become the "low-end" stuff while 3D rolls out.

    No, I don't give a flying fudge about 3D TV. Most crap on TV isn't even worth watching, even less watching in 3D. The only thing worth watching in 3D was Avatar.

    I am however amused by some people who can't stand *any* kind of 3D. One of my stepdaughter's boyfriends went with us to the planetarium where they were showing one of those "3D" features, which are more of a 3D CGI feature projected in a concave surface (the planetarium roof where you usually see the stars.) He can't stand it ... he was terrified and gripped my wife really hard. What an idiot!

  52. Arctic fox


    A number of good points in this blog. Particularly those who have pointed out something that I had not thought about with 3D. How one watches the telly. Those who simply plant themselves in front of it and stare at the screen without doing anything else are I supect a minority. Most people have other things going on a lot of the time. The glasses thing chains you to the screen in a way that is probably highly unatural for a lot of people.

  53. Goat Jam

    Content Producers

    The content industry are the only ones who want this 3D malarkey to catch on (well, them and the set manufacturers obviously)

    Content producers see 3D as the silver bullet which will slay the downloading freetards monster once and for all. They believe that if 3D becomes a "must have" feature for all films then "freetards" will no longer be able to rip and re-encode movies and they will have to resort to sharing them in their fully bloated multi-gigabyte original form.

    The trouble is that punters don't really give a toss about 3D after they get over the initial "ooh look, it's 3D novelty.

    To make matters worse, lots of people, including me, will actively avoid it. Even if it does catch on it will provide only a temporary respite because as 'net pipes get bigger and faster, downloading a 50Gb movie will become less and less of a problem.

    I remember how long it took to download mp3's via dial-up from some dodgy FTP server back in the late 90's. Now an mp3 can be sucked down in seconds.

  54. Pahhh

    @re: @3d without glasses #

    Actually I didnt think it was that bad. I tried viewing the picture while off center and it was ok. Extreme angles, say more than 45% , yeah it didnt work. But frankly, you will find that 3D even with glasses doesnt feel right unless you within a certain angle from the screen.

    That actually is problem for a lot of people , glasses or no glasses, the viewing angle and the distance from the screen needs to be within a certain range before the 3D effect just because eye wateringly painful. And that isnt going to work out for a lot of people in the sitting rooms.

    To be honest, i wont watch a 3D film in the cinema if i cant get fairly central sitting position.

  55. Paul Hates Handles


    The proper 3D TVs I saw this year that offer a 3D image without the use of glasses were pretty good (though some were a big gash, too), but after half an hour or so I'd want a normal 2D picture again...

  56. 0laf Silver badge


    I'll get a 3D telly when I finally roll the corpse of my 15 year old Samsung 28" out the door. It still gives a great picture off the Sky box.

    I think potentially this tv could be indestructible.

  57. Stuart Archer


    Interesting then how it's Tesco that has banned someone for wearing pyjamas in store:

    On a personal note, I find that you can get some good deals buying home electronics in supermarkets - often better than many online retailers, so I kinda resent the implication that one who does this is a chav. And you don't have to buy the sh*tty Technika brands either! I managed to get a fantastic deal on a Samsung LCD Series 5 a couple of years ago, and had no hassle in returning it when it broke down.

  58. andy gibson


    Personally after a long hard day at looking at everything in 3D I look forward to sitting down and giving my eyes a rest by looking at some 2D.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Every twenty years

    this 3D fad comes back around, then dies...

    3D will stick when punters can use it without glasses.

  60. Keris

    I liked Avatar

    ... I'm probably one of the few who did, and liked the '3D'. However, that was in the cinema, where I'm used to the picture being out of focus and grainy (anything enlarged to that size will be grainy unless you go to something like 20,000 pixels across). And that was a film made specifically for 3D, the "3D-ized" ones aren't worth it (like retro-fitted stereo sound on early Beatles tracks).

    For the home, though, I can't even be bothered with HD, I haven't seen anything which justifies it, I certainly can't see any noticable amount of content I'd want to watch being available in 3D/stereo.

    Widescreen, yes, I got fed up with watching cinema-format movies with half the vertical resolution taken up by black bars. HD possibly if I wanted a large (half wall-size) screen. 3D/stereo with glasses, no way...

  61. Anonymous Coward

    Some movies should never be in 3D ...

    I mean can you imagine the "facehugger" scene in "Alien 3D"? Could you "unsee" it when the movie's over?

    Then again, if you've ever been mugged, "Dirty Harry 3D" or "Judge Dredd 3D" could be fun.

  62. Peter Kay

    Why not, if it's cheap and doesn't affect quality

    I think stereoscopy is a complete no brainer provided it's not much more expensive and doesn't affect quality. Some media are more appropriate than others for the stereoscopic 3D treatment, though.

    For 3D gaming it's a definite enhancement, whilst films are a bit more hit and miss.

    Of course, the problem is that the current technologies usually are more expensive and affect quality. Shutter glasses are pricey and require a more expensive (but not that expensive) high refresh rate monitor. Passive TFTs like the Zalman are fine in 3D but frankly a bit crap in 2D. Projectors are relatively inexpensive and good, but most people aren't prepared to put a pull down screen in their living room..

    If the technical issues are resolved and the medium used appropriately, frankly you'd be daft to turn it down.

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