[mythtv-users] OT: Why 3D TV won't work.

Daniel Kristjansson danielk at cuymedia.net
Wed May 26 15:36:00 UTC 2010

On Mon, 2010-01-11 at 10:32 -0600, Justin Johnson wrote:
> I'm also interested in what people think about 3D TV from a general
> viewing standpoint. Is it going to be as groundbreaking as HD? My
> thinking is that it could be, for some content, just as HD doesn't
> make a huge difference for many shows. Sports is where I see the
> largest benefit, same as HD. What do others think?

I've done some work with stereo 3-D in the past and there are a few
reasons I don't think it will be groundbreaking in the home. The first
problem is that to have real depth you need the focus plane to be five
meters or so from the viewer. This is not difficult in the Cinema, you
only lose a few seats at the front of the theatre which weren't great
to begin with and with $20 tickets you make up for that loss fairly
quickly. In the home very few televisions are mounted that far from
the viewer, so you need to reduce the amount of depth you use.
Note: Age matters for this issue, if you are under 25 you can probably
watch a 2 hour movie in stereo only 2-3 meters from the screen without
getting a headache, but this isn't something you get used to -- you
are able to watch fewer and fewer minutes of content as you age.

The second reason affects cinema as well. You can't use depth of focus
to indicate what the viewer should be looking at. Everything must be
in focus. This means closeups don't look realistic at all. You also
can't make cuts where the depth changes, which severely restricts how
you can tell a story. For this reason I think it will only be used for
successfully for animation and action movies and perhaps some nature
documentaries and sports. If you've seen BBC's Seas of Life, I can
imagine something like that being absolutely stunning in 3-D. I don't
think American football, or hockey will work unless they drastically
change how they capture those events. Car racing, football and baseball
might work, although I don't think baseball in the 3-D will work from a
cultural standpoint. I've seen both American football and golf in
3-D, it was nauseating at four meters and also did not look compelling.

I also don't think it will work in the home because it requires you
to sit straight and stare directly at the screen. Aside from "movie
night" this is not how most people watch TV.

I do look forward to the 3-D content Discovery will produce, but I don't
expect it to be financially viable in the long term.

-- Daniel

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