3D vs HD

I went to visit my brother recently (hi brother!) and he’s the proud owner of a fancy HD TV. I do most of my media consuming online but I can appreciate a good TV when I see one. He was watching the snooker, which seemed a bit of a waste to me, but still, nice TV.

We got into a conversation about 3D vs HD and we were mostly in agreement – who’s gonna fork out for a 3D TV?

First and foremost, you have to wear glasses. In your own home. I don’t approve of this at all. They are expensive glasses, so if you sit on the ones that come with the TV (which I invariably would), you’re going to have to keep on spending to buy more. Equally, if you manage not to sit on them, when friends come round and you do not have enough glasses, what are you going to do? Draw straws over who gets the sub-optimal movie experience?

It also appears that the glasses are tied to which TV you have. So you can’t keep them forever, you can’t take them to the cinema, and you can’t use them at your friends house. Unless you all sign a pact to get the same TV.

I have only seen one 3D movie, I think. It was a long time ago, and I’m sure the technology has moved on enormously since then. Maybe. I saw it in a cinema and it wasn’t that interesting. Nothing that has been hugely promoted in 3D has been that enticing to me. Avatar has blue people in it. Alice in Wonderland is supposedly not very good at all.

I can understand that going out to see a show in 3D would be better – assuming there was something I wanted to watch. Big ol’ screen, lots of friends, bottomless popcorn, make it an event. It’s not going to be the same in your living room, is it?

I’m quite annoyed that 3D stole all the glory from HD. We were just starting to get somewhere, HD was beginning to catch on, the cost of a TV was falling, people were happy to snap them up and watch their favourite sports in all their high definition goodness (unless you’re an F1 fan… oh wait, wrong site). Now there is a whole other genre of definitions and dimensions to think about. Silly TV people trying to constantly make money.

Is 3D really something that is missing from our home entertainment experience? Are we really heading towards a future where you sit on the sofa, stick a virtual reality bucket on your head and live the story?

Because I think I’m quite happy just watching.

12 thoughts on “3D vs HD

  1. I have just got an HD box and I must say I’m absolutely smitten by the clarity and colours of the picture…

    As for 3D…

    Well I saw Avatar. I liked it, but I wouldn’t see it again. The 3D did add a little to the experience but it also made me a little dizzy afterwards and I had trouble focusing on some of the on-screen objects.

    I went to Harrods to try a 3D TV and I must admit while the picture was good, the glasses did get on my nerves. I don’t think I’d buy a TV like that for the same reasons as you, but I did see a concept TV there that was 3D without glasses – the only problem was that you pretty much had to stand in one place to see the effect…

  2. I personally think 3D TV’s are going to be a niche thing – mostly used by people who play video games – some of the immersive games on the consoles could make use of proper 3D, and gamers are likely to be less averse to the glasses – given that the kind of gaming which will lend itself to 3D is generally the kind of gaming played alone.

    Of course, they must be able to show “normal” 2D TV as well (and the most likely technologies to come to the fore – active-shutter systems with so-called “active” glasses – are perfectly capable of doing so) – cinema 3D uses a passive system, which makes the glasses much cheaper to produce, which in that environment is the correct way to scale things…

    I don’t have any interest in 3D TV – let’s get HD mainstream, and yes, F1 in HD would be a fantastic step…

  3. I don’t understand 3D TV at all. I do like HD though but mostly because I use my HDTV for gaming.

    3D I find stupid in a personal manner. IMAX not so much but as a home device I’d just like to, you know, watch TV…

  4. Oh and another thing about 3D movies:

    After it was apparent Avatar was going to be a big success in 3D, a lot of other movies were ‘converted’ to 3D to cash in on the trend. So they’re not even supposed to be shown that way anway.

    And Roger Ebert hates it too: http://www.newsweek.com/id/237110

    He makes some very good points!

  5. Draw straws over who gets the sub-optimal movie experience?

    it’s not even sub-optimal, it’s a cannot-watch-it-without-glasses experience

  6. I got the chance to try the 3d tv’s on display by LG at the Malaysian GP. Wasn’t really impressed. The colors are duller and the picture is not as sharp. HD on the other hand is fantastic, my satellite TV company has just started broadcasting HD and it’s hard to go back to SD.

  7. I am one of those people who can’t see 3D, so naturally I am not that interested in seeing anything in 3D at home.
    A lot of people have headaches watching 3D movies in the cinema, and I heard that they can only do the effect where something comes out at you a few times, because of what it does to your eyes.
    There was an executive somewhere online dismissing 3D technology a few months ago. They played a clip on Buzz Out Loud. Once I find it I’ll post a link.

  8. As history shows, 3D TV will only catch on if the porn industry decide to adopt it into their mainstream productions…its the only reason VHS beat Betamax, why DVD quickly replaced LaserDisc, and why BlueRay beat that HD-DVD thing.

    3DTV porn or HDTV porn? I think the battle has already been won (well…based on what ‘friends’ have told me!)


  9. I was recently in Dubai and in one of the (many!) malls there, they were demoing a Samsung 3D TV which worked /without/ the need for special glasses. Yes, you had to stand in the right place and yes, it was a bit freaky – like viewing lots of layers of picture at once – but it was definitely 3D.

    I can’t really decide if it was better; it was a gimmick, it was different and for a brief moment got us all discussing it, but as most people have already said, the move up to HD is so much more important that I think 3D might go the way of the 8-track and quadrophonic (although perhaps that actually paved the way for Dolby surround so who knows….)

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