The Wonders and Hazards of 3D TV

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The television sets market is a constantly changing one. The black-and-white tube from long ago was replaced by a colour TV, followed by the thin plasma and LCD high-definition sets.

The current evolutionary path of TV screens follows the ever bigger and ever thinner curve. But that is not all. Lately, early adopters of technological innovations are being tempted by the 3D TV screens that promise to bring the experience of a 3D cinema into their living rooms.

Judging by the announcements of major manufacturers like Sony, Samsung, LG Electronics, Panasonic and Sharp, the year 20 is poised to be the year of 3D TV. The expectations are that the demand for 3D TV will skyrocket in the next couple of years, mostly thanks to sports. Some broadcasters even plan to indulge fans by transmitting the 2010 Soccer World Cup, held in South Africa from 11 June to 11 July, in full 3D glory.

If you are one of those people who must have the newest high-tech device as soon as it hits the market, and a sports fan to boot, you are probably considering buying a 3D TV set. However, in this case it might be wise to think the purchase through carefully. Getting a 3D TV in this early phase might be fraught with difficulties that go beyond spending too much on new technology just because you do not have the patience to wait for the prices to settle at a lower level.

The Silly Glasses

The first and the most obvious downside of a 3D TV set are the 3D shutter glasses. Never mind the fact that a replacement pair is likely to cost you dearly should you lose the one that comes bundled with the set. The bigger issue is that they look just plain silly on anyone. 

If you want to keep your dignity while watching moving pictures in an extra dimension, you may want to postpone the purchase of a 3D TV sent until the manufacturers manage to do away with the glasses. After all, they are already experimenting with displays that allow you to see the third dimension – without the glasses.

The 3D Blindness

Still not prepared to miss the chance to watch the 2010 football cup in 3D, glasses or no glasses? Before rushing out to acquire your new tech toy, visit your optometrists. It turns out that the eyes of some people simply cannot process something called stereoscopic imagery.

If you belong to this minority, do not despair. The 3D-blindness condition is treatable in some (but not all) cases – that is, if you don’t mind paying for the medical bill over and above the cost of a 3D TV.

The Health Warning

The new technology fans who have the money to fund their hobby will probably not be deterred by either of the hurdles mentioned above. However, they should at least read the health warning that comes with 3D TV – if not for their own sake, then for the sake of those around them.

According to the warning issued by Samsung, one of the pioneers in 3D TV, using this new toy can adversely affect children, teenagers, pregnant women, senior citizens, alcohol consumers, epilepsy sufferers, as well as unfit, tired and/or sleep deprived individuals. (This last group probably includes about 95 percent of everyone with pockets deep enough to afford a 3D TV.)

The list of possible symptoms associated with watching TV in 3D is long and includes: altered vision, lightheadedness, dizziness, eye or muscle twitching, confusion, nausea, loss of awareness, convulsions, cramps; and/or disorientation. Epilepsy sufferers may experience an epileptic seizure or a stroke.

With all these dangers looming, it’s good to know that 3D TV handles the good, old 2D video just fine too.

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