Samsung's health hazard warning reminds me of the fledgling virtual reality (VR) market of the late 1980s that consumers revolted against after medical experts hinted that head-mounted displays (HMDs) could encourage "lazy eye" in youngsters. Wearing 3D glasses is not as invasive as an HMD, but the old "lazy eye" scare is at least one reason that 3D TV vendors still warn adults today that their kids are at the most risk. Regarding the 3D movie craze, I have several friends who have been made nauseous by watching a 3D movie at the cinema--that's after just two hours viewing. With 3D TVs in the home, there is no way to regulate how much or under what conditions people watch. I suggest that 3D TV vendors start preparing their defense against lawsuits alleging all sorts of aches, pains and worse, caused by 3D TV. I suspect that legal prep-work against such lawsuits is Samsung's reason for posting this health warning at this time.
Colin, I think your drawing a parallel to the experience of early days of VR is very astute and interesting.
But I also think that we may be missing a point if we just dwell on the hardware side of the issue. A lot can be done when one is creating 3-D content and post processing it -- in order to prevent the potential 3-D disastar, according to Insight Media's Chris Chinnock.
See the follow-up story at:
Could it possibly be an attempt to delay an emerging market that Samsung entered early, with a poorly performing implementation? All reviewers of the Samsung LCD 3D TV product have complained about L/R eye view crosstalk.
The New York Times did an article back in February about how Avatar in 3D caused symptoms of motion sickness is many viewers. The explanation given was that 3D films cause the viewer's eyes to make unnatural movements which become stressful after a period of time.
Perhaps different people are more or less susceptible to this effect, as seems to be the case with reading in a moving car -- that activity never bothers me, but I have known many people who can't do it for long without feeling sick.
This issue is definitely something that 3D TV hardware vendors and content creators should be concerned with as they roll out this next-big-thing in TV entertainment.
and at the end of the day, what 3D adds to the party just isn't all that compelling. I saw Avatar in 3D at the theater. Nice movie, but the 3D part was a yawn. The right comparison, I think, is 3dTV vs. quad audio of the 1980's -- just wasn't worth it.
At age 64 I can still clearly remember the 1950s 3D movie experience with cheap plastic red and cyan colored glasses. Even using high-quality LCD shutter glasses still does not produce an accurate 3D imaging for some people. The reason is simple and will never be totally overcome using a 2D viewing screen. The spacing of the eyes for each individual is slightly different, while the actual 3D camera lens imaging is at fixed "average" spacing. My interpupil spacing is on the very low-side of average, and every 3D movie I have seen makes me feel like I'm slightly cross-eyed....Not very pleasurable!
Until a cost-effective method is developed to project 3D images in a real "3D space" using something like a laser projector, this problem will be with us. I also believe this in large part is the primary (subconscious?)reason why people will not be running out in droves to buy new 3D TVs, etc.
Whether it causes permanent eye and/or brain damage I have no idea, but for some of us the current 3D technologies will not be a very pleasurable long-term experience.
Using 3D in moderation is the answer. During action scenes we can use 3D, other listening and thinking parts of the story (if there is a story) can be listened to and watched "the old way." Unfortunately action is the focus and story is simply an annoying afterthought to movie makers focusing on special effects. Avatar is a welcome exception that combines both.
I have been using 3D shutter glasses for gaming since I bought the Elsa 3D Revelator glasses for my GeForce 2 GTS card back in 2001.
First with ELSA's own drivers, then later using Nvidia 3D Stereo drivers, for GeForce 4, FX, and 6800.
The only problems I had was that I had to use a much lower resolution on my CRT to get the 120 Hz that gelt comfortable
than the resolution I could get using standard 85 Hz.
Also, most games used a lot of non-3D stuff for effects like smoke etc,
so I had to turn those effects off.
After some years, when trying games at my friends, using no glasses, it felt like.. really bad.
So I am very excited about these new 200 Hz / 240 Hz screens.
I believe if the 3D content is good, there will be a lot o f people buying these.
Also, at least on ELSA's and Nvidia drivers, one can adjust all those settings so it fits your own eyes.
For a TV set with several people watching at the same time... it's a bit more difficult, of course!
Avatar uses a totally different 3D method, similar to Kodak's Epcot show. Your glasses are not switched synchronously; the right and left sides have horizontal and vertically polarised lenses which allow the eye to see horizontall and vertically polarised projections which is very similar to normal vision.
From the technology perspective, health hazards could be mitigated with a '3D ready with option to turn off' as needed for any discomfort. It should not be a big deal, after all no-one is driving or operating heavy machinery while watching (who knows, may be there will case uses who do just that ). My discomfort on the technology front is the various confusing options and standards (my automated research assistant Wiki P Dia can attest to that). From a consumer perspective, I cannot get over the glasses required inconvenience (specially since I already wear glasses) so always-wear glasses will never be an option for me. Maybe one session here and there could be tolerable but this brings up the need for extra spending (aka pocket hazard) when I am still enjoying the Blu Ray 1080p experience and expenditure. So I would encourage autostereoscopic solutions and closure on standards for now.
While I'm not sure exactly what technology Samsung is using, it sure seems as though using cross polarized glasses combined with right and left pixels on the television would not be difficult or that costly to implement. By encloding DVD's or Blurays at 1/2 resolution with adjacent left and right pixels and a TV that had the associated pixels polarized appropriately, it seems this would be simple to produce. A plasma TV should be backward compatible with existing bluray and dvd standards. This is likely to be problematic in many types lcds however, depending on how they're implemented (some already have polarizers).
Back to the topic of seizures however, their warning seems somewhat "boilerplate." As far as people who already use glasses, crossed polarizers are easy to clip onto any existing glasses.
I wanted to make a short 3-D animation and discussed with the specialists from an animation company in Los Angeles about the hazards potentially associated with the technology. By using the 200 Hz / 240 Hz screens and 3-D glasses switched synchronously the chances of photosensitive seizures considerably lowers, especially at children.