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Thread: Why did 3D TV die?

  1. #1
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    Why did 3D TV die?

    We've been waiting for 3D TV ever since Ralph Kramden's time.
    Why, when we finally got it, did it fizzle?
    Now we are going for UHD.
    I can't tell the difference between HDTV and SDTV, how am I supposed to benefit from UHD, 4K or 8K? But I can tell the difference between a 2D and 3D movie.
    What is the problem?

  2. #2
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    3D TV works fine, it just has all the same problems as 3D cinema - eye strain, motion sickness, and a sensation that is unfixably different from real 3D vison. I personally enjoy 3D TV much more than 3D cinema, because it's a smaller screen (I have a pair of 2D glasses I wear for 3D movies in the cinema), but I think most people who enjoy 3D enjoy it as part of a large-screen experience. So the TV version is both a bit rubbish and the wrong scale for the fans.

    4K is, for must TV viewers, a bit of a con - while it looks eye-popping up close in the shop, most people will need to sit closer than their usual viewing distance to detect the higher resolution. (The transition from SD to HD was, in contrast, evident at normal viewing distances for most people.) So it's one for home cinema enthusiasts, or those people who like to have a giant TV in a small room. I've had a 4K computer monitor for a couple of years for photoediting, but no plans for a 4K TV.

    Manufacturers need to move units, so they need a novelty cycle (curved screen, anyone?) 4K may be the latest in that cycle (I think it might be), or maybe everyone will dutifully shuffle up closer to their TV screens. Stranger things have happened.

    Grant Hutchison
    Last edited by grant hutchison; 2017-Mar-12 at 07:58 PM. Reason: clarity

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    For me, I already wear glasses, so adding 3D glasses on top is annoying. They were also expensive in most brands - what if my whole family plus a few guests want to watch something? I need that many pairs of glasses available?

    And I've never seen anything in 3D that really impressed me all that much. I accidentally saw a 3D version of "Avatar" (at the movies) after already having seen the regular 2D version. The 3D added nothing for me. I could hardly tell the difference, really, unless something very contrived made use of the 3D. *

    Finally, there was never much 3D content to make the expense and hassle worthwhile.

    3D - meh. For that matter, to my eyes, FHD (and even SD) is plenty good, so I'm in no rush to get a 4k or 8k T.V. either. Much of my watching these days is streamed (Netflix etc). I don't know if I want my internet connection to bear the brunt of streamed 4k or 8k content.


    This seems a bit of a thing with technology - it gets to a stage where "good enough" really is good enough. Like retina screens on a iPhone (or equivalent on an Android). When the pixels are smaller than the human eye can individually see, there comes a point where having more of them won't have much discernible effect. I don't think we'll see screen resolution continue to increase at the same rate - it becomes pointless.

    (Computer speed is another example. Say your main use of a computer is "word processing". They used to be so slow, paragraphs wouldn't even reformat unless you pressed the "reformat paragraph" key. (I'm thinking "Electric Pencil" on a TRS-80). Now, as fast as you can type, the computer, between each key you press, is checking a thousand times "has s/he pressed another key yet?". And that's while it's also streaming/decoding music to play while you work.)

    It's a problem for the tech companies - how do they make us buy new stuff? Why buy that new phone/T.V./computer/car?


    * edit: and it made my Wife throw up.
    Last edited by pzkpfw; 2017-Mar-12 at 07:59 PM.
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    Oh - and does anyone like those curved T.V. screens?

    My in-laws have one; I don't like looking at it, and I also see weird reflection artifacts on it. I wouldn't buy one.
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    Take the length of the diagonal of your (16:9) TV screen (that's the standard measurement quoted by manufacturers). Back off 1.5 times that distance. This is the distance at which HD TV pixels subtend about a minute of arc, which is the limit of resolution of a normal human eye. Back off 4.5 times the diagonal, and you have the distance at which SD TV pixels subtend about a minute of arc.
    Closer than the inner limit, you should start to notice the higher resolution of 4K over HD; between the limits, 4K and HD will look pretty much the same, but better than SD; outside the outer limit, they'll all look pretty much the same.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Do you need to wear glasses with 3d? Who wants to do that every time watching tv?

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    I would think there wasn't enough content to make it worth while getting a 3Dtv, for most people. It needs a critical mass of viewers and stations to keep the ball rolling.

    Just shut one eye, if you want the 3D effect.
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    That sounds about right, Grant. When I was in the imaging business, we used to use "double the diagonal" as a rule of thumb, under the assumption they used our pixel density guidelines.

    3D died because it cost too much extra for what it provided. Active 3D suffered because of expensive glasses and crosstalk/ghosting on the best of days, with worse crosstalk when the batteries got low or the sync signal was dropped. Passive suffered because the Film-Patterned Retarder cost extra and because it reduced the resolution to each eye, which is noticeable in high contrast or high speed scenes, and because you could still get crosstalk from head orientation or if you didn't sit in the proper distance or angle. The 4K displays were supposed to make passive work better due to the higher resolution, but 3D was already on its way out by the time it got affordable. In some ways, 4K can seem 3D due to the sharpness. Of course, the sellers didn't help by charging more for it and making people choose. if they had simply started including it in all units for a general price increase, then adoption would have been higher. They took a quick, small profit at the expense of future, bigger profit.

    The biggest problem is that people have to wear glasses at all. People get jaded and they always want it to be better. There are glasses-free 3D based on lenticular displays, but people will complain that they have to sit in a certain cone to see it properly. Some day we'll have affordable volumetric 3D tank screens, but people will complain that they are too big and don't look like an infinite depth when necessary. If and when we have 3D holograms like in Star Wars, people will complain that they can't see behind some characters, there's no background or it's not opaque enough, and that the glow from unimportant stuff washes out the image, but if they don't have unimportant stuff in the scene, but then only important stuff will be seen, which ruins the mystery of what's important.

    I wanted a 3D monitor, but the issues are magnified. The sitting distance and convergence angle means a passive TV wouldn't work. An active TV might work, but they're too big, or would result in too large a pixel pitch at monitor viewing distance. A dedicated active 3D monitor requires special video cards and connectors, because they use a different set of protocols and connectors from a TV. A dedicated passive 3D monitor would work - if you can find one, and then you'd still have the problem of reduced resolution which is more noticeable for the detailed environment of a computer desktop and apps. So, I recently found and ordered a set of mirror-based stereo-glasses and they seem to work for viewing side-by-side. There's also prism glasses, but I read they cause bad color separation - because that's what prisms do. Either kind of stereo glasses still suffer from smaller field of view and half resolution, but at least it's a contiguous image instead of interlaced.

    Then there's VR, which is OK and getting better. Google Cardboard works nice, but it gets your phone hot from all that usage. Plus, only flagship phones tend to have the necessary sensors to make it work well for looking around. They only work well with content on the phone, since there's no easy way to connect it to another video source or the computer - though complicated workarounds exist. Standalone stereo viewers like Oculus may eventually get here - but are pricey and bulky, though less bulky than when VR first came out in the 90s. There have been viewers that were small and light, like a pair of glasses, but with low resolution and no sensor tracking.

    I swear, the only way 3D will ever really take off is when people can get high-resolution display stimulators surgically implanted into their visual cortex. But those would still need to use the eyes, since some visual field processing occurs in the retina and just behind for color, movement, and depth.
    Last edited by Ara Pacis; 2017-Mar-12 at 09:26 PM.
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    I once saw a 3D film in the theatre, I believe it was in the 1980s.

    It seemed rather a novelty at first, but I very quickly lost awareness of its 3D-ness. I didn't feel it really added much to the viewing experience.
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    3D sucks because it only uses stereoscopy and not other cues. Most notable is focus. Regardless of what stereoscopy tells your eyes, you're still focusing on the screen. This leads to a contradiction in cues that makes it not work quite right.

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    I have some red-cyan anaglyph images and movies on my PC. I've noticed that after wearing the glasses for a while, I still sense depth in the thumbnails even with the glasses off. I don't know if it's like a residual image you see after staring at a pattern and then look at a plain wall, or if it's another type of adaptation, like how people who wear image reversers eventually start to see things normally again.
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    I have only about 5% vision in my left eye so 3D TV was never alive for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pzkpfw View Post
    <snip>
    This seems a bit of a thing with technology - it gets to a stage where "good enough" really is good enough. Like retina screens on a iPhone (or equivalent on an Android). When the pixels are smaller than the human eye can individually see, there comes a point where having more of them won't have much discernible effect. I don't think we'll see screen resolution continue to increase at the same rate - it becomes pointless.
    Many years ago, when comparing stereo speakers, I came up with the term "differences only a dog could hear". Again, at some point, it doesn't matter. Maybe we are reaching the point of "differences only an eagle could see".
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    Many years ago, when comparing stereo speakers, I came up with the term "differences only a dog could hear". Again, at some point, it doesn't matter. Maybe we are reaching the point of "differences only an eagle could see".
    Back in the 70s or 80s, Merrily Harpur drew a cartoon of two guys sprawling in a wine bar, one saying to the other, "... and I'm having my ears specially trained to detect tiny faults in my stereo system."

    Grant Hutchison

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    I almost never watch TV on TV anymore. When I get vids on my computer or tablet or phone, I always buy the SD version. Why pay for resolution I don't even use?
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    I've seen some really, really good VR now. About two months ago.

    Much better than anything I've seen labeled as 3D.

    I was so delighted I laughed out loud.
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    (John, not the other one.)

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    Forget 3D the soap-opera effect makes older movies look as if shot on videotape. 24 frames per second just looks more "noble" somehow. on the TV show COPS--the videotape/camcarder made the nights look bleaker. The new digital cameras seem too bright.

    There was a time when I could tell you just what TV station was on just by the image on the screen. NBC always had a sepia tint to it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDon View Post
    I've seen some really, really good VR now. About two months ago.

    Much better than anything I've seen labeled as 3D.

    I was so delighted I laughed out loud.
    That's what's going to replace everything. Why buy a giant TV for your living room when something with the form and weight of sunglasses can cover your eyes? VR gear will be that sleek in a decade, if that long.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SkepticJ View Post
    That's what's going to replace everything. Why buy a giant TV for your living room when something with the form and weight of sunglasses can cover your eyes? VR gear will be that sleek in a decade, if that long.
    If only we could harness it as a force for good.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by SkepticJ View Post
    That's what's going to replace everything. Why buy a giant TV for your living room when something with the form and weight of sunglasses can cover your eyes? VR gear will be that sleek in a decade, if that long.
    Socializing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ara Pacis View Post
    Socializing.
    Yeah. I'm already noticing an issue that comes from having so much choice.

    It used to be that my Wife and I would just end up watching the same thing, together. We'd share our reactions, like seeing each other laugh at the same gag; and maybe discuss a show afterwards. If one of us wasn't fully interested in the show/movie/whatever, it didn't matter as there wasn't much alternative.

    Now, if I don't want to watch what my Wife does, I'll go to another T.V. or play a game on my computer. Vice versa, she might play with her phone or go to use another T.V.

    If we've all got our own personal V.R. goggles on (which as with 3D glasses, I'm not sure I want all the time), there's even less reason to all watch the same thing at the same time. Even if we're sitting on the same couch, we're not sharing the experience. (I also note we'd need to use headphones if we're not going to be listening to the same programme at the same time).

    So for the present and some way into the future, I don't see myself getting rid of the giant big T.V.
    Last edited by pzkpfw; 2017-Mar-18 at 07:14 AM. Reason: were --> we're
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ara Pacis View Post
    Socializing.
    For that the VR gear could simulate that an entire wall of your house is a TV screen and let you see your loved ones in the room with you when you turn your head in their direction. It's called augmented reality.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SkepticJ View Post
    For that the VR gear could simulate that an entire wall of your house is a TV screen and let you see your loved ones in the room with you when you turn your head in their direction. It's called augmented reality.
    I thought of that too. Socializing is sharing an experience interactively. That requires communication, including non-verbal cues like facial expressions. They could use avatar faces overlaid their real faces because their real faces are covered by goggles. But if you're watching something different, then your experience is not shared.
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    My niece and nephew have phone-holder goggles that let them use VR though a phone app.
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    If only we could harness it as a force for good.

    Grant Hutchison
    Doc, about six months after automotive design engineers started using augmented reality in engine design somebody went, "hmmm, I wonder if they could use this in medicine?"

    My youngest daughter is a prototyping engineer on this project. Wow doc, I hope you can hang on another decade or two longer. Surgery is about to really Star Treky in the next two years or so.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDon View Post
    Doc, about six months after automotive design engineers started using augmented reality in engine design somebody went, "hmmm, I wonder if they could use this in medicine?"

    My youngest daughter is a prototyping engineer on this project. Wow doc, I hope you can hang on another decade or two longer. Surgery is about to really Star Treky in the next two years or so.
    It's been around for a while, Don. I've even played with a few examples. But you need a lot more than just a VR headset to do anything useful surgically - if your daughter isn't also involved in developing robotic and haptic feedback components to go with the VR headset, then I'm sure someone else in the team is.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Hey doc, whose.

    NMew bar tender at the new, realll6ty close by bar that charged me a quintuple shot of Remy Marty Xo for $20 then gave me a thrple refill for $11, is on my new friends list. I only weigh 218 ATM!

    I'm messewd up as a soup sandwitch.
    Time wasted having fun is not time wasted - Lennon
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    I think there comes a moment once maybe many times in our lives when satisfaction of what you have is acknowledged. The next innovation or thrill or social desire doesn't seem to be what everyone is telling you.
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    I just know commercial AR is going to be cluttered with stuff I don't want and will find annoying. If I can use it as a head-up navigation system, good. If I have to walk through a world in which buildings are marked up with other people's Trip Advisor reports and the owners' banal accessible content, then I believe I'll pass.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDon View Post
    Hey doc, whose.

    NMew bar tender at the new, realll6ty close by bar that charged me a quintuple shot of Remy Marty Xo for $20 then gave me a thrple refill for $11, is on my new friends list. I only weigh 218 ATM!

    I'm messewd up as a soup sandwitch.
    You be careful out there, Don.

    Grant Hutchison

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