Passive and Active 3d TV x 2 or x 0

We seem to be on the cusp of a 3d TV revolution. There are real 3d TV’s in real shops to buy. They are expensive (ish) but the massive growth in flat screen digital televisions, the introduction of high definition and the HDMI cables and sockets to drive them has had a knock on effect to create the base for 3d TV’s to enter the market.

The speed this has happened is stunning. It was only a few years ago that we got our first large LCD TV. It was by no means a common sight in stores, the cathode ray tubes bulked up most of the space in the tech shops. We may have adopted a little early as ours only goes to 1080i or 720p not full HD at 1080p as its called. However its been a great TV and having HD content to drive it, in particular from the games consoles has been superb.
Now though its getting a bit washed out. It needs a replacement. I went to experience some 3d TV’s to see if it was worth it yet and found myself in that awkward upgrade path dilemma. The two I looked at were very different and felt very different. A passive cheap glasses version and an active “glasses need batteries” one. Like all these things I am sure you get used to them eventually but I could see the frames flicking in the active one, not in a really obvious way but I could feel the tech working. The passive glasses over the top of regular glasses give the same feeling as when you put your specs on in the morning and you eyes and brain struggle for grip.
So, yes the pictures were in 3D, though they seemed to be more cut out layers (in the football anyway) than the depth of the cinema experiences like Avatar.
The thing I did not get to try though was 3d gaming. I am wondering if the fact that TV watching is a passive activity that we sit back and wait for the entertainment means we notice more the effect of the glasses. After all we have been watch TV all out lives and are pre disposed to know how it feels. Gaming on the other hand brings an expectation of getting in there and doing things. I suspect that may be more of a draw to a 3d TV.
Game content, and virtual world content of course lends itself to being rendered in full 3d. The model of the world in many games is already fully 3d. We known that the door over there is 5 metres away and the tree swaying the in breeze is off to the right and 30 metres away. Objects are places in virtual environments, hence they are already instrumented to allow a virtual camera to render them in 3d. That feels like it will make for much more obvious and less planar 3d experiences.
Soccer and TV on the other hand has to deal with a finite number of cameras to sense and understand the depth of an image. Whilst every pixel in a scene of a game may be addressable with an xyz component we don’t yet have cameras that understand every photon arriving at them and its relative position in the world.
So I am left wondering if there is a combination that works well here. Does a passive experience only need a passive 3d system, an active game experience an active 3d system. Probably neither.
With systems starting to sense where we are in the world I think the use of 3d glasses will fall away rapidly. Specs are a barrier to entry for a mass use device like TV. They are not such a barrier to gamers though. Kinect will known who is where in a room, not full precise eye tracking but its a massive leap forward, all it needs is the devices showing the pictures to know where to send them. I.e. be truly active and like the eyes of a painting follow you around the room your visual and audio experience is tuned to you.
It is not so far fetched as you can see here a system that tracks 2 people in a room and projects the correct left and right images to them.
The nintendo 3DS which is a single user game console has very smartly added no glasses lenticular 3D. Though it has raised another concern over 3d visuals (I am starting to sound a tad luddite) and children under 7’s eyes.
Given what I felt wearing the early specs it does feel as if there is a pull on the eyes. Yet as in the article above a totally glasses free system such as the 3ds seems to have less effect and have less impact.
So I really don’t know. I feel that being a gamer is really the driving factor here. More interesting and immersive experiences. Being a metaverse evangelist working worlds that already have 3d and that can also be made more natural for people to enter and understand also makes sense. As an early adopter I don’t want to be too early though and miss out as we did with Full HD. As a parent I certainly don’t want to cause any harm to the predlets.
So TV industry and games industry. What is going to convince me to make this buying decision ?

2 thoughts on “Passive and Active 3d TV x 2 or x 0

  1. I’ve seen both passive and active 3DTV demos Ian and honestly didn’t see much if any difference between them. But the demo material on the passive LG TV was much better showing a variety of content including U23D concert footage, American football and animation. Some of animation in particular was hugely impressive and the American football demonstrated perfectly why 3D is a boon to sports fans (no guessing whether a shot is going wide anymore, you judge tell by the flight).

    I too got a 720p HDTV but did so on the basis of a chart I read which explained that there was no advantage in going for Full HD on a 42″ TV if you were going to be viewing it from 8 or more feet away. Mind you I still haven’t attached a HD source to it so I can’t verify that one way or the other 😉

  2. Admittedly the content was different on each of the TV’s but the visual effect felt different. I did like it though 🙂
    Looking at the 1080p content from games in particular on newer TV’s looks a lot sharper than our older 720p. The difference may not be as much as the jump to properly encoded HD but its more the principle of the thing 🙂

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