Are You Ready for 3D TV?

Ready or not, 3D TV is coming your way. Last month I predicted it would be a tech trend of 2010, and after recently attending an Electrolux sponsored blogger event hosted by MrsG’s @DebbieSchaeffer, and coordinated by Mrs Mo NJ’s @MrsMoNJ, it’s clear that this is going to be in demand by summer! The keynote speaker, Techlicious Founder and Editor-in-Chief Suzanne Kantra, Twitter handle @Techlicious, presented 3D technology in a way easy to digest, even for non-techies. This style is the essence of the website. She was the tech editor for Martha Stewart Living, and Popular Science before starting up Techlicious.com. Did I mention this event was broadcasted live on UStream TV?

Debbie Schaeffer welcoming guests

More and more movies released in theaters are using polarized 3D technology to enhance our viewing experience. Gone are the days of the paper 3D glasses with red and green/blue plastic lenses. These days, we’re given polarized glasses by Real D 3D which look more like a pair of Rayban Wayfarer sunglasses. The effects vary, based on the technology used to shoot or edit the films. I loved Techlicious Founder and CEO Josh Kirschner’s take on some differences. Movies like “Coraline” have graphics popping out of the screen, and make a bold impact. Then you have a movie like “Avatar” which is subtle, and the effects draw you into the scenes, allowing you to connect more with it because of the more natural 3D effect.

Some movies are filmed with special two lens cameras to give us a rich 3D experience, while others are shot with regular cameras, but with 3D in mind, so they make sure the scenes are bright enough, and can be enhanced by adding depth. Unfortunately, other movies are only trying to jump on the band wagon, and aren’t even worth the increased ticket price to watch in 3D. If you take the glasses off, you don’t notice much of a difference, so read the reviews before deciding to pay extra for watching that movie in 3D, or eventually buying it as a 3D Blu-Ray disc.

3D content is being filmed/edited everyday, and it seems like films are being released monthly. The next step is to get them on the “small” screen. Manufacturers are now producing Blu-Ray players capable of playing the content to be shown on 3D TVs. The discs should be available soon. All that’s needed are the 3D glasses, which unfortunately will not be as inexpensive as the polarized theater models due to a different technology needed to reproduce the effect on DLP, LCD, and plasma screens. This is the only drawback. The price range for these shutter glasses is $50 – $250 per unit. Many glasses are proprietary to the manufacturer, but this pair of 3D glasses allow you to use them on any HDTV.

The great news is, 3D content doesn’t end with Blu-Ray discs. Broadcast TV, consumer video cameras, still cameras and video games will also be sources of 3D material. Mitsubishi DLP TVs will be 3D ready, and will require an emitter to send the signal wirelessly to battery operated shutter glasses. Manufacturers of plasma and LCD TVs will have built-in emitters. Both Suzanne Kantra, and Monster Cable’s Scott Pecchia emphasized the importance of using high speed HDMI cables (v1.3) to connect your equipment to each other to properly view 3D material. Monster Cable even has a “Cable for Life” program, which allows you to upgrade your high speed HDMI cable if your current cable isn’t keeping up with current technology.

My Twitter friend @KhurtWilliams asked about the long term effects of wearing 3D glasses, in addition to eye strain. The response was, at this time there isn’t enough data to answer the question about long term effects. Personally, I say everything in moderation. I plan to provide this as a weekly treat for my family, not a daily habit. We also sit at least six feet away from the screen, which reduces the chances of eye strain. What a coincidence that I saw a link he tweeted yesterday, which was “Is 3D Bad for You?”, and it discusses eye strain. It is something everyone should read and consider. I love 3D technology, and I think if used with care, it can enhance your viewing experience. You could have similar concerns about looking at a computer screen all day. It too could cause eye strain or make you nearsighted, so it’s suggested to periodically look at distant objects for about a minute. Basically, exercise good judgment and limit 3D viewing. Stop watching the 3D content if you experience discomfort like headaches or eyestrain.

Suzanne Kantra on right

By the way, I just have to add that a delicious lunch was served. Mrs. G’s always provides a tasty, healthy meal for us, and this event was not any different. McCaffrey’s Supermaket provided the food, and prepared it on site in the Electrolux working kitchen. Steak and shrimp fajitas, with sour cream and freshly made guacamole & salsa were on the menu with salad and fresh fruit. Yum!

I’m really excited about 3D TVs, and I’m getting ready for the explosion. I wasn’t an early adopter, watching movies via a home server as this post describes, but I do want to be one of the first in the neighborhood to invite my kids’ friends over to watch a Disney or Dreamworks CG 3D movie, so they can go tell their parents to buy all the goodies, and spread the tech joy!

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5 Responses to “Are You Ready for 3D TV?”

  1. Great write up on the event and overview of 3D TV.

    I’ll be a late adopter. Right now I think 3D TV is a gimmick that is being used to raise the profits of TV manufacturers. I don’t think 3D add anything at all to the story or the experience. Based on my own experience the 3D effect is similar to the View Master 3D devices I had a a kid.

    3D glasses are expensive and easily broken. Super Bowl in 3D? Sure! Just be prepared to spend $2000 to $3000 on extra glasses for your guests. Viewing angle? No problem. Just be sure that you sit straight up and look straight ahead.

    Until I can watch 3D TV with out any technology assist I’m not doing it.

    • shutterbuggeek Says:

      3D technology has been out for decades. I always liked it, but wearing those paper glasses gave me eye strain after 20 – 30 minutes. The polarized glasses I find comfortable & can wear for the entire movie without a problem. yes, the shutter glasses are more expensive, but they’re worth it to me if I can have the same experience at home as in the theaters.

      I would mostly use them for a weekly movie, and won’t buy more than 4 for my family. Hopefully, others will buy the non-proprietary glasses to use in friends’ homes.

  2. Oh. One more thing. Monster over charges for its cables. A digital signal is a digital signal. It does not require special metals etc for its transmission. Better prices here:

    http://www.monoprice.com/products/subdepartment.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10243

    • shutterbuggeek Says:

      I know Monster Cables are more expensive. This is the case in most industries for brand items. However, I do like the fact that you get free upgrades for life. A generic brand can cost 1/10th the price, but if you have to replace it five times to keep up with technology, then it’s only half the price. Some generic brands don’t last as long, or are inconsistent, so if you have to replace it in between upgrades, it closes the price gap. For some, the inconvenience isn’t worth it. Monster Cable isn’t for everyone. Thanks for sharing the link!

  3. […] ShutterBug Geek wrote an amazing post about the MrsGsVIB Blogger event. There is no way I could have written the details any better. Boy is she good! No, she’s great! […]

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