In my Digital Home newsletter last week, I linked to a blog post from the Video Imaging DesignLine that covered plans to show last Thursday's NFL game in select theaters in 3-D. Here's is the original Wall Street Journal link, although a registration wall may block access. I would have liked to have seen the 3-D demo, but would have had to have gone up to Los Angeles to do so. I've been looking for reports of the test, although the most detailed user experiences that I've run across came from sports talk radio. I'll have to paraphrase what I heard.
I did find one story on the siliconvalley.com web site about the 3-D experience. That story reports a generally positive experience with a couple of glitches. Here's what I have heard. Several San-Diego based sports commentators discussed the presentation. They were allowed to watch the first half in a theater on a full cinema-sized screen. They watched the second half in a small room on a high-end HDTV set. Despite the wow factor of the big screen, they indicated the presentation lacked sharpness on the projected presentation. The consensus was that a good HDTV set would provider a far better experience. And in reality, that is exactly where the promoters of 3-D TV are headed (see links below).
Evidently the actual game presentation was hampered by the fact that there was only a single game view provided in 3-D. When you watch a televised football game, the director provides wide shots taken from high-up cameras at the beginning of a play so that the fan can see the full set of the offense and defense. The 3-D presentation lacked that ability and concentrated on close-up shots from a sideline camera. I'd assume that's a temporary problem. It reminds me of the first NCAA basketball final that I saw live in HD. The network had only one HD camera. The presentation was better on the regular network broadcast because of the many more available camera angles.
The discussion I heard indicated that while the viewers of the 3-D test did have to wear 3-D glasses, that the glasses weren't nearly so inconvenient and uncomfortable as what you might experience in a 3-D amusement park attraction. The participants indicated that they were comfortable wearing the glasses even while turning to look at another participant to discuss the action. In fact the commentators suggested that consumer would ultimately buy 3-D glasses for their personal use that match their image and style.
I guess the best news is that 3-D TV is mainly a problem on the production and transmission side of the equation. Consumers that have HDTV sets will presumably be ready to watch 3-D presentations at home once the broadcasters work out the back-end technology. Consumers will simply need their own glasses to style in.
According to the the latest blog post from the Video Imaging DesignLine, consumers won't have to wait long for a chance to experience the technology. Fox will offer the NCAA championship football game in January on a much larger scale albeit still in theaters. In any event, it appears sports will usher in the 3-D TV era just as sports was the driving force behind HDTV adoption