How good was the 3-D shown during last weekend's Super Bowl commercials and then Monday night on NBC's series, "Chuck"? (See 3-D on NBC continues Monday night with "Chuck".)
It was better than traditional red-blue 3-D glasses, and my kids were indeed thrilled by it, but the glasses were annoying and reminiscent of a suggestion my optometrist made and I once rejected for a similar reason: I don't like each eye doing a different thing, I like them to work together.
As nearsighted contact lens and eyeglass wearers age, they have problems focusing close-up, and need reading glasses. With eyeglasses bifocals are the preferred solution, but for contact lens wearers one solution is to use lenses of different strengths for each eye: One sees close-up, while the other sees distance.
That's kind of the philosophy behind this new/old anaglyph technology, in which one eye sees most of the color, and the other sees the "depth color", which is blue. The idea is that one eye sees the two-dimensional image and the other eye sees the depth dimension (or more accurately, two-dimensional cues that a third dimension exists -- see New 3-D TV format to be demo'd during Super Bowl.)
This is a matter of belief -- I offer no rational explanation other than that it's more unnecessary work for the brain, and seems inherently unnatural -- but I don't like my eyes receiving completely different images, I like my eyes to see very similar looking images.
Additionally, when not watching TV, because one eye sees almost normal while the other sees nothing but blue light, the glasses are less comfortable to wear before and after the 3-D programming. This is quite different, again, from the far superior polarized-light 3-D glasses. With polarized lenses, things look perfectly normal when you look away from the screen. Though a minor point, if you're running to the refrigerator or the bathroom it's nice to be able to leave the glasses on and see OK.
So what happened during NBC's 3-D presentation of "Chuck" Monday night in the U.S? Unlike the 3-D commercials during the Super Bowl, which lasted only a few minutes, and contrary to my earlier prediction, the entire hour-long episode of "Chuck" was indeed in 3-D. At the very beginning of the show the character Chuck told viewers to put the glasses on, but then after commercial breaks, which were not in 3-D, the program would just come back on as if nothing was different, except for a subtle "NBC 3D" watermark on the lower left of the screen.
I found the hour-long presentation in this format too long, and the commercial breaks were particularly annoying, because it seemed to take several minutes to "get into" the 3-D illusion after each set of commercials. (One eye is seeing an all-blue image, and it took a while for my eye-brain system to get the two images aligned with each other to make sense of it all and see depth.) By the end of the hour, I had gotten so sucked into the silly plot of the show, and was so annoyed at the 3-D (despite my usual cheerleading attitude) that I actually watched the end in 2-D, which looked almost OK except for prominent yellow (and to a lesser extent blue) shadows around objects and people in the picture.
Was this the first-ever hour-long presentation of a 3-D program on U.S. (and/or world) television (aka 3DTV)? I think it was, but I doubt the experiment will be, or should be, repeated.