CES Cheat Sheet: How to Argue that 3-D Sucks


nvidia_geforce_vision_3d_610x444With consumer electronics companies intent on making 3-D the belle of the ball at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, I thought the skeptics among you might benefit from some arguments and knowledge about the topic that goes beyond wide-eyed exclamations of delight at the idea of a 3-D SUPERBOWL AD!!!! When some sap brings up Bolt or Beowulf you can bust out with one, or all of these arguments, to make them realize what a tool they are. And, if you’ve already shelled out for your 3D-ready TV, then tell me why I’m wrong.

For those who want to argue on the technical merits, Charlie Demerjian over at The Inquirer does a nice job talking about the many ways one can implement 3-D, and why Nvidia’s choice of active glasses is wrong. A point he doesn’t address fully is that, for something to work in 3-D, a consumer has to have the original content filmed or created for 3-D and a compatible DVD player and screen. Figuring out what works together may not be easy for consumers to decipher, especially since the standards are still being set.

For those concerned about the artistic merits of 3-D movies, David Benjamin (a self-proclaimed Luddite) points out a few issues with some of the 3-D technologies over at EETimes, such as it giving you a headache or requiring a person to keep their head still, and he notes that we already see everything else in 3-D. Perhaps our movies should be different. He suggests that the limits of 2-D have forced directors to rise to the challenge of presenting real life in a constrained format, and along the way some pretty awesome things have arisen.

I’ll make the final argument, which basically boils down to this — this is a transparent effort to make you buy more gadgets with little return so far. Dreamworks has committed to making all of their content in 3-D going forward (for which Intel (s INTC), which will sell boatloads of processors to support this, thanks them), and James Cameron will film his next movie in 3-D (using equipment provided by Panasonic, which hopes to set a 3-D standard). But few studios are paying to film all, or even many, of their movies in 3-D.

So even if you rush to Best Buy, find 3-D gear, make sure it’s compatible and set it up, there’s no guarantee there will be anything you want to watch. If we all wait for the content and standards fights to settle out, the studios may decide consumers aren’t ready and pull back on content. Still, if they give it a go and standards are set, then it will be time to embrace 3-D. But for those of you pondering your declining stock portfolio, why not let the content guys and CE manufacturers spend a bundle on this hype cycle before you do.

image courtesy of Nvidia


Andy Oliver

Well…ViewSonic is announcing 3D monitor and projector at CES! Bellagio ballroom 6 if people would like to check the new products out.


Hi Stacey,

the Nvidia system has been working for years with almost all PC games since they use OpenGL or Direct3D. Active glasses like Nvidia have the best effect and in addition allow you to tilt your head, which you will do while playing games (polarized glasses do not allow you to do that).
Similarly any pure CGI film that has the original data stored could calculate a second viewpoint for the other eye.

I have had a 3D projection system using active shutter glasses at home for years. People have been amazed by it. So there is tons of interactive content out there, almost any game and yay – finally movies, too.
I have witnessed a few problems. One is that some people have a lazy eye (noticeably two sisters I demoed it to) – they cannot see depth and do not see the difference between 2D and 3D. Secondly when playing games some people do get motionsick. But for many people a large 3D screen was really like a window in another world.
Add to that what new standards will bring us – Video cameras, Photo cameras that all work easily with the new screens. Imagine combining this with fast mobile networks – live personal 3D broadcasting.
The 3D future will be exciting :) No need to be a luddite!

Cheers, Julian

Screen Sleuth

3D and glasses and all of that is pretty old hat by now…surprised companies are still caring about that sort of thing, let alone announcing anything related to it at CES.

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