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Unique ID Code: 0000147068
Added by: Mark Oates
Added on: 28/1/2012 04:30
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    3D Or Not 3D, That Is The Question

    After two years and five months, it was time to retire our trusty 32" LG LCD. The picture was starting to show signs of deterioration, with the very edges of the screen looking a little darker than the centre. It had given us sterling service, our first full 1080 capable high definition telly, and I had been saving up in my piggy bank for its replacement since its second birthday.

    I'd been holding back from getting a new set for a couple of reasons - mostly not wanting to spend the money when the old set was perfectly usable, but also because I was contemplating the craze for stereoscopic television. 3D.

    I have to confess that up to a week before Christmas 2011, my experience of 3D was limited to peering through a pair of Samsung active glasses mounted in a what-the-butler-saw style rig at our local Tesco superstore. On the screen in front of me had been Disney's Bolt, an entertaining enough movie but one I was quite happy with in normal 2D. I hadn't seen any 3D movies at the cinema, or any other 3D source other than the traditional red/green anaglyph stuff like Spy Kids 3D or Journey To The Centre Of The Earth both of which I hadn't enjoyed because I hated the complementary colour cast wearing the glasses gave you once you took them off.

    I happened to be in Tesco again, picking up one of Dad's Christmas presents and as the TV displays were only a matter of feet away from the in-store collection point I wandered over for another look. This time on the Samsung display they were running Monsters Vs. Aliens and Susan had just arrived on Gallaxhar's ship. Peering through the what-the-butler-saw rig, I wasn't terribly impressed. The picture was dark, and although the sense of depth to the picture was good, it wasn't really impressive. Also, when I looked around at the other televisions and the corner of the store through the active 3D glasses, I noticed how dark they made the place and how they made the other televisions flicker. As I was walking away from the display, I noticed a big, bright 42" LG display with a sort of double-image on it. In a sort-of pot next to the TV was a pair of ordinary-looking plastic glasses with the legend "LG 3D Cinema" on the lugs. I put them on and looked up at the screen.

    Holy Cow.

    Or words to that effect.

    The TV was displaying a nice little in-store loop provided by LG as a demo. Various scenic bits and pieces, aircraft flying over mountains, a couple of idiots on skateboards, a music video. Nothing earth-shattering in content, but as a demonstration of what a 3D telly could do quite dazzling. Unlike the active glasses, the passive glasses only darkened the picture (and the surroundings) very slightly. The 3D effect gave both an impressive feeling of depth to the picture and a couple of emergent elements (the tip of an aircraft wing and a flurry of confetti) actually had me taking a step back. Another bloke was peering at the Samsung and I beckoned him over and asked him to look at the LG to see if he thought the 3D effect was better. He gave me a look like he thought I was moderately dangerous but agreed that the LG seemed a lot better.

    I spent the next half-hour looking at that set and a second that they had out on the floor (which I could view from a better angle), and trying to find a sales assistant to get some information about the set. Eventually I found a salesman who didn't know a lot about the telly but who could tell me the price and that it might be on special offer after Christmas. If I had been interested in the Samsung, it came with a single pair of active shutter glasses and I could order subsequent pairs for something like £50 a pop and we would need two more to have a pair each. The LG came with seven pairs of passive glasses gratis and was apparently compatible with the Real-3D glasses from the cinema.

    I went home sold on the idea of 3D.

    I am if nothing else, both an information-whore and a careful shopper, so I wasn't simply going to bang down my hard-earned in Tesco and buy that particular telly. I did my research, bided my time, and on Christmas Eve placed an order with Amazon for the model up from the one I had seen at Tesco. This one had Freeview HD and SmartTV built in and was just under £50 cheaper than the Tesco model. It arrived the day before New Year's Eve, as did a 3D copy of Monsters Vs. Aliens and an IMAX-3D presentation about the Grand Canyon that was supposed to be one of the best traveloguey documentaries in 3D.

    We were all blown away by the 3D, but I was just as delighted that the TV for all its 3D tricks was an absolutely stonking display of normal TV as well. More inputs than I could shake a stick at and able to run video straight off a hard drive or USB stick without the need for a server.

    So I'm delighted with my new telly. Is there a down side to this story?

    Actually, yes there is.

    The "C" word. No, not that one. Content. Or the lack of same.

    I managed to blag an ex-rental copy of Spy Kids 4 in 3D, and double-dipped Pirates Of The Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides, but to date that's it. A total of three movies (two of which are double-dips), and I've bought all the 3D movies currently available that appeal to me. There are a few upcoming movies I'll have in 3D - Tintin, Hugo and The Three Musketeers, but again the choice is limited. There's precious little stereoscopic content available through other media although there are suggestions that some Olympic coverage might be in 3D (whoop-de-do). Considering the manufacturers, the movie and tv industries are pushing 3D so vigorously, you'd think they would be flooding the market with content to encourage people to buy 3D capable displays.

    Well, I'm ready when they are.

    Your Opinions and Comments

    10 / 10
    I gave that TV a try in Tesco's too, just before Christmas. It was running a promo for Sky 3D, and I have to say that I was pretty impressed. 3D has come on a long way since the days of anaglyph, and I admit that I flinched when someone on the screen kicked a football out towards me. I was also impressed with the viewing angles at which the effect worked. 

    Unfortunately, my left eye dominance asserted itself a few minutes in, which meant that anything in the background would appear as a double image. I'm just not wired for this form of 3D. I couldn't take more than five minutes of the demo without getting a headache. But still, so much better than anaglyph.
    posted by Jitendar Canth on 28/1/2012 11:59