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The problem with 3D TV

Wed, 02 Jun 2010

As part of TVNZ's 50 years of TV in NZ celebrations, Media7 is filming a "future of TV" special tonight, which will screen from tomorrow.

Part of it will involve some 3D TVs from Samsung making a studio appearance.

This got me thinking: why am I always so grumpy about this dazzling new format?

There are the usual debates about content, viewing fatigue and whether the required goggles are a bit silly.

But I think, at base, the problem is this: 

Watching a 3D film like Avatar on the big screen is an immersive experience.

But a TV is your living room is just too small. Even if it's a relatively stonking 50-inch model, the real-world, with its more natural depth of field, still crowds your peripheral vision. For me, it's too jarring a contrast.

Last night, fed up with the lame antics and clumsy sponsorship "Cheers to 50 Years" (why the sideshows? The retro stuff is enough in itself), I instead used an Apple TV box to funnel YouTube to our Panasonic TV.

We then proceeded to watch an episode of the BBC series Psychoville – which has not yet screened here on free-to-air broadcast TV and may never.

It was a bit low-fi, but quite acceptable viewing. And that's the real future of TV - unlimited choice of video via the internet. It's nice to see Samsung, Sony and Panasonic supporting such IPTV moves (and TVNZ and TV3, through their expanding on-demand services), even as they make the most noise about 3D razzle-dazzle.

Checking out Samsung's 3D TV
Checking out Panasonic’s 3D TV
Checking out Sony's 3D TV

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The problem with 3D TV