Updated 3D TV: What they are not telling you

Categories: New TV Technology

Written By

September 30th, 2009

Phillips-3D-TV

I'm not working myself into a tizzy over Panasonic's announcement that it has released a 3D television.   I had my first HDTV in the year 2000.  But notably, did not actually receive any content in HD until 2002. DVDs did look very good on it, but there were no Blu*Ray or  HD DVDs available in the year 2000.

Will it take years for 3D to catch on at home?

Business Week went long on writing about Panasonic's announcement of a new 50" 3D television, but did get right to the truth about why Panasonic actually cares:

For Panasonic’s strategy to work, it has had to cozy up to movie studios. The man behind the effort is Eisuke Tsuyuzaki, chief technology officer for Panasonic’s North American Operations. More than two years ago, Tsuyuzaki started offering studios Panasonic’s technical expertise in converting 3D movies to DVDs. The mission now is to get major studios to support Blu-ray as the standard DVD format for high-definition 3D videos, Tsuyuzaki said during a recent interview at the Panasonic Hollywood Laboratory, in Universal City, Calif.

The DVD thing, I completely understand.  But here's what I don't get:

Why do I need a new TV to see 3D?

Answer: I don't!

I can see 3D on my TV today.  The problem is , just like with Panasonic's spiffy new TV they announced, you still have to wear special 3D glasses.  Business  Week buried that until near the bottom of its article, and it might be the single biggest issue in slowing adoption of 3D.

Update: However, Panasonic is offering new and improved 3D technology with this TV that will enable viewers with "active shutter" glasses to see better 3D than the traditional blue/red tech employed for 3D TV viewing.

The 3D Technology is already decent if you're wearing the glasses. You don't  need a new TV for that!

If you have a high definition widescreen, the 3D technology available is already very good.   Last year's Super Bowl campaign where there was a 3D ad for Monsters vs. Aliens and a 3D episode of Chuck taught me a couple of things:

1.) The technology itself is awesome. When I viewed the demos available online that were specifically intended to ONLY be watched in 3D, I was surprised by just how fantastic the quality was.  Stuff literally jumped out of my screen.  And it was much, much more pronounced on my big screen TV than it was when viewing the same demo's on my 24" computer monitor (though in full screen mode, it was very noticeable and cool even there)

2.)While not a problem for special 3D DVDs, the one reason besides any bandwidth compression issues why you won't see much 3D content from the TV networks anytime soon is that in order to create shows that look REALLY cool in 3D for those wearing the glasses, the content becomes practically unwatchable for those who are not wearing the glasses.

Again, that's not a problem with the DVDs.  The bigger obstacle there might be convincing the masses to wear glasses. But do I need a new TV for that?  No.

(just to get this in again!) Update: However, Panasonic is offering new and improved 3D technology with this TV that will enable viewers with "active shutter" glasses to see better 3D than the traditional blue/red tech employed for 3D TV viewing.  Also, commercial availability isn't expected until 2010.

 
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