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April 2014
Issue: May 1, 2010

PUSHING... AND RESISTING STEREO 3D

By: Marc Loftus
It was impossible to attend this year’s NAB show and not pick up on the stereo 3D trend, be it in the form of acquisition, workflow or display products.
Panasonic had a 3D theater where attendees could — with the help of passive glasses — view 3D footage. The company is partnering with DirecTV on three new 3D channels that will launch this summer, and Panasonic is steadily working on delivering 3D production tools such as camcorders, professional monitors and related technology to make stereo 3D content production and delivery a reality.
Sony had representatives from ESPN at its NAB event, talking about the new 3D network the sports programming provider is launching this summer. ESPN 3D will debut with the FIFA World Cup on June 11, and the new network promises to deliver 85 events to viewers in 3D in the next year. Sony’s technology will be a big part of that, and will include cameras, production switchers and monitors.
Grass Valley addressed 3D during its annual press event. But the company took a more cautious approach to the prospect of the new business, stating GV has “stereo 3D-ready” products, but that they were not betting the farm on it.
Interesting. And the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. Grass Valley is in a different position than Sony and Panasonic. They are not looking to sell consumer sets, so whether or not 3D flies may have less of an impact on the company. The more I spoke with attendees — and even a few manufacturers that hoped to hop on the 3D bandwagon — the more resistance to the format I heard. “I’m not wearing those glasses at home,” was the resounding response. Then the mainstream media started questioning the format, with reports that asked, “Can stereo 3D make you sick?” Even set-maker Samsung released a statement warning of the health risks that can occur from watching 3D pictures: seizures, altered vision, confusion, nausea… Yikes!
What works in the theater — 3D glasses — might not translate to the home viewing experience, where people tend to multitask. Still, expect to see lots of 3D content this year.