Thursday, August 26, 2010

3D TVs: What to Know Before You Buy [Guest Post]

Written by Jocelyn Gibbons


3D movies are a new standard for science fiction and children’s movies over the past 2 or 3 years. Taking this trend home, more and more companies are introducing their first lines of 3D televisions recently. But it’s hard not to notice some major red flags in this new technology. Before you commit to a new 3D TV, know the warning signs and make any purchase with your eyes wide open.

Red Flag No. 1: 3D TVs Are Picky about Their Glasses
People cannot use their individual 3D glasses on another television unless the TV is the same specific model. Even if a 3D TV owner has the same brand as another owner, the glasses are not designed to work with different models. This obviously presents problems when you watch TV, movies, or play games with a group of people. If you ever want to have friends over, you’re going to have to have extra 3D glasses on-hand that work with your TV (or pick and choose who gets to enjoy the show and who gets to stare at a weird looking screen).

Red Flag No. 2: So-called Universal 3D Glasses Are Not So Universal
The most recent universal 3D glasses have major problems that need to be addressed. Users are reporting that the Mitsubishi and Samsung TVs have a noticeably greener tint when viewing with universal glasses, while Sony and Panasonic have an amber tint. So though it is possible to buy so-called “universal” glasses, as of yet, they do not provide the quality for optimum viewing and really aren’t worth the price.

Red Flag No. 3: Eye Strain, Headaches, and the Inability to See 3D

3D movies create an extreme strain on the human eye. In 2D, it’s as easy as looking at a picture to examine details. However, 3D causes the eye to focus on different pictures at different depths, placing weight on the eyeball’s bench press. You can quickly experience this strain by taking both your hands and placing them in front of your face, each at different depths and begin to focus from one to the other. Dizziness ensues.

Also, some individuals are naturally more sensitive to 3D and if you have depth perception issues, you may not be able to see 3D at all. There are even some early warning signs that watching too much 3D may actually harm your vision.

Red Flag No. 4: Untested Technology Being Released Too Fast
Manufacturers are distributing 3D TVs in stores as fast as possible. This may not seem like such a shock until you consider other technologies—like HDTVs. Televisions were being tested in high definition about a decade ago and not placed on the market until just recently, allowing for HDTVs to have higher resolution and quality than they could have without the testing.

Yet banking on the current popularity of 3D—thanks to Avatar and other new 3D releases—manufacturers are pushing to get 3D televisions on the shelves, whether or not they are ready. Critics are warning that consumers should not be surprised when the current 3D televisions become totally obsolete in approximately 2 years. Technology has moved at phenomenal paces in the 2000s. The 3D TVs currently in stores will soon be looked upon as very basic prototypes in the near future.

Red Flag No. 5: 3D Is Guaranteed to Hurt Your Wallet

The cost of a 3D movie ticket is around an additional five dollars on top of the regular movie price. The reported cost of a very basic, no bells-and-whistles 3D TV for a family of four is about $3,000, according to Consumer Reports. If you want upgrades in quality, screen size, or extra pair of glasses for all those friends you want to have over, you’re going to have to fork over even more money.

This is not even taking into account the fact that if you want to watch 3D, you have to buy a subscription to a 3D TV provider, buy 3D-ready movies, and have the consoles for 3D games. Consider this—you are paying thousands of dollars for 3D, but just how many TV shows will be in 3D? How many movies? Games? Is that small percentage worth the cost? Only you can decide for yourself.

Before You Buy, Beware

Like saying “yes” to a wedding proposal, buying a new 3D TV requires some thought. Pay attention to the red flags—if you catch your to-be fiancĂ© making out with your ex, you’d (hopefully!) heed the warning signs. Likewise, before you invest (and with the amount of money you’re spending, you really are investing) in a 3D TV, make sure the quality is there and you will really use it.

Heed the warning signs. If you don’t, you may just end up with kids who don’t look a thing like you (or a spouse who’s always “working late”) . . . and a TV with 3D capabilities that you hardly use or enjoy. Think about it!



Jocelyn Gibbons has a background in both creative and technical writing. She is currently the creative marketing director for Just Eyewear, an online prescription eyeglasses retailer.

1 comment:

  1. I just heard of these TV's yesterday when FIOS said they were showing something as a preview - click the link for details. Well I need a TV for 2500 and the glasses too?

    lol, HOW disappointed was I? I just got an HD tv, I'm pretty behind the times I think...



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