The Problem With 3D Television
3D movies have become extremely popular over the last few years. It only makes sense that television would be the next medium to become viewable in 3D. However, 3D television has a couple of problems to overcome before it becomes mainstream.
The first problem is that buying a 3D television will cost you around $1,500. That’s not including the extra goggles you will need for other family members and visitors. Even if you do have enough, not everyone can enjoy 3D because it gives them a headache. While there is a complex physiological reason for this that David Wood can explain better than me, it basically comes down to the fact that are bodies aren’t meant to watch simulated 3-dimensional objects.
As Andy Quested, BBC’s head of 3D and HD, told the Hollywood Reporter, “About 20 percent of people find sports matches in 3D simply too long. Twenty-five percent of people are apathetic toward 3D viewing no matter the content. Another 10 percent can’t see 3D because of visual impairments, but arguably up to half the audience for 3D content is put off by having to wear glasses.”
While having to wear glasses for 3D content will go away as technology gets better, the other issues can’t be worked around so easily. The major media companies can’t make people care about 3D content. Based on what Quested said, over 55 percent of people either can’t watch 3D content, don’t see the need for it, or get tired of focusing on 3D content after an hour and a half or so. This has led several companies, most notably ESPN, to shut down their 3D channels, which continues the vicious cycle for 3D.
Most people who want 3D television won’t invest in a 3D capable television set until there is programming worth watching, yet media companies won’t invest a sizable amount of money into 3D television until a good chunk of the population owns a set. However, many people won’t invest in a 3D set because after a while it gets tiresome to watch. Once in a while for a movie, 3D is a neat gimmick, but watching every television show in 3D will only result in a headache.
According to a study done by L Mark Carrier of California State University, there is evidence that 3D movies don’t offer any advantage over their 2D counterparts. He wrote, that of the 400 filmgoers studied, the viewers who watched in 3D didn’t feel more immersed or have more intense emotional reactions. However, they increased their chances of being uncomfortable.
While everyone will have different opinions, it doesn’t seem like 3D television’s benefits outweigh it’s flaws, at least at this point in time. It is entirely possible that your brain will adapt to 3D viewing if you watch movies and television in that format often enough, but is it really worth the discomfort for something that probably won’t improve your viewing experience?