In the comments following my blog last week, Neil Richards asked a follow-up question that is the cause of much confusion. I wrote a bit about it in the comments attached to that blog, but I thought it deserved a more thorough treatment this week.
Yesterday, Panasonic and Xpand, makers of mostly commercial active-shutter 3D glasses, announced a standard synchronization protocol for this type of eyewear called M-3DI. The new standard is intended to improve compatibility between 3D TVs and home projectors, computers, and digital cinema, a problem that has plagued the current 3D marketplace since its inception over a year ago.
As I watched demo after demo of 3D at CES this year, I kept wondering if 3D is something that consumers really want or if it's being pushed on them by the studios and manufacturers in their quest to sell more products. So I decided to conduct a purely unscientific survey here on UAV. To participate, all you have to do is post a comment on this blog with your responses to any of the following questions, especially the first one:
This week's poll questionDo You Suffer From 3D Sickness?has yielded some interesting results. Of those who have voted so far, 38 percent say they never experience eye strain, headaches, nausea, etc. while watching stereoscopic content on 3D TVs or in 3D movie theaters, and 19 percent say they have never seen stereoscopic 3D. That leaves a whopping 43 percent who experience 3D sickness at least sometimes. Why?
The 3D TV landscape got a whole lot more complicated at this year's CESand it was already plenty complicated before the show! In addition to displays that use active-shutter glasses, we now have some that use passive-polarized glasses and a few flat panels that use no glasses at all. In particular, I've been seeing quite a few blogs about glasses-free 3D, such as this one by Grant Clauser for CEPro and this one by Stewart Wolpin for TWICE. Both commentators reject the current viability of glasses-free 3D, which is more formally known as auto-stereoscopic, and with good reasonit looks lousy, and it confuses the 3D market considerably.
I received an e-mail on the last day of NAB announcing a demonstration of a new glasses-free 3D display technology from a company called 3DFusion, so I had to check it out before heading back to L.A. The company has licensed some 800 related patents from Philips and developed its own algorithms to solve the problems of limited viewing cones and crosstalk while using a lenticular filter on a flat-panel screen.
One of the sessions in the Content Theater was presented by 3net, the 24/7 3D channel co-created by Imax, Discovery Channel, and Sony and currently available on DirecTV. In addition to the big projected image, six 42-inch Sony monitors located along the walls were showing the same content so we could see what it looks like on a typical home display, for which 3net's original content is designed.
On Tuesday evening, Tom Norton and I went to see Megamind in Imax 3D, and I have to say it's one of the best animated 3D movies I've seen to date. The delightful, touching, often hilarious story is an original and unexpected riff on good vs. eviland how the boundary between them is often not so clearand the voice acting by Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill, David Cross, and Brad Pitt is superb.
It's nice to have connected friends. Last night, I got to attend a SAG (Screen Actors Guild) screening of Tron: Legacy, which opens in theatrical release tomorrow, as a guest of member Nina Goldin, a talented voice actress and singer/songwriter. The screening was held at the Main Theater on Disney Studios' backlot in Burbank, CA, where security was pretty tightmetal-detector wands to prevent any cell phones or cameras (or sound-level meters) in the theater.
Here at UAV, we're always looking for new reviewers. My staff of freelancers is already working at capacity, which means I need to find some new voices to join our ranks. If you think you have what it takes to be a reviewer, I'd like to hear from you...
Last Friday, video guru Joe Kane visited Grayscale Studio, where Tom Norton and I conduct most of our display reviews, to show us his latest test patterns, which are designed for 3D displays. The images were generated by a VideoForge test-pattern generator from Audio Video Foundry and sent to an Accell HDMI switcher/splitter, which fed two flat panelsa Samsung UN55D8000 with active glasses and LG 55LW5600, which uses passive glasses. (Interestingly, the Accell switcher/splitter can pass 3D from the VideoForge, but not from a 3D Blu-ray player.) The results of these tests were very interesting, to say the least.
This week at UAV, we've posted a review of Toshiba's XD-E500 upconverting DVD player. This might seem a bit odd, since we haven't reviewed a DVD player in quite a whileinstead, we focus on Blu-ray these days.
This week, instead of answering a reader question, I'd like to ask you a question. You can answer in one of two ways—either post a comment after this blog or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.