Monday, 15 November 2010

New gadget: 3D TV

Hosting a Bafta/BBC event: who's who guide at the end of the post
OK, I've had a 3D TV for a couple of months so it's time for a bit of a review. I also hosted a discussion on 3D TV for Bafta (guide to the pic at the bottom of this post) and have some strong opinions.

First I should state that the model I'm using is passive rather than active. This means that there's no battery for the glasses, which work by filtering out half of the image for each eye so you get a stereo image just as you do when you're looking at things in real life. The more expensive active sort actually flick on and off faster than the eye can see, in time with the television, so you get the same effect but with twice as many pixels so it's true HD. My way the glasses cost about a quid if you sit on them the active sort are much more expensive.

The first thing to say about the televisions themselves is that they're great but, umm, quite big. People are buying larger tellies than they used to, of course, but starting at 42in and going up is going to stretch a lot of living rooms. We had to buy a new TV stand before it was really comfortable to view.

So I bought my daughter a copy of "Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs" - only to find it was coming up free of charge on Sky, clever Daddy, just go burn a fiver while you're at it - and the 3D is actually pretty effective. At least that's what I thought; the sporting events you can get are also pretty good, and the other movies look excellent. Next year other channels will start to broadcast in 3D (at the moment it's only Sky in the UK).

Oddly my wife didn't think it was that great, mostly because it gave her a honking great headache. I'm going to look into that and see whether it's a known thing that affects some of the population.

Oh, and the film was pretty naff. I'm really looking forward to the Christmas broadcasts of the Toy Story trilogy in 3D; as we concluded on the panel, you need something that's entertaining to watch whether it's in 3D or not when you sit down to a movie or TV programme (which is why I haven't bothered watching "Are You Smarter Than A Ten Year Old" in the new format - I mean, WHY..?) - and the films and TV which will inevitably come out in 3D just because they can won't be worth watching.

So, is a 3D TV worth it? My instinct is that it will be when there's more of a range of sizes around and prices have come down a bit - but mostly when there's more decent 3D programming around. I'm mostly using it as an ordinary high-def TV at the moment.

Who's who in the pic: Jonathan Fawkner of Framestore, who was FX supervisor on Avatar; Sam McCurdy, cinematographer, StreetDance 3D, Phil Streather, CEO of Principally Large Format, Anita Perrett, makeup designer on Sky, fat bloke doing the interview. Photo with thanks by Mark Bassett.

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