IBC: Many still skeptical about 3DTV

Now that IBC 2012 is history, I was reflecting on the perception that industry members have of 3DTV.

While some people are strong believers (and have strong economic interest like James Cameron) there still a lot that don’t see the benefits. For instance at the London Olympics, the director of BBC sports was clearly not thinking that it was a priority and further seemed to indicate a preference about 4k.

I personally have more reserve on 4k than on 3D. See, even with HD today, a part of the audience don’t see the difference with SD. The fact that distributors are compressing the signal a lot is not helping that for sure. You look at an HD picture received at home and the high frequencies, the details are basically all gone. Now 4k? Who will perceive the added value? The cable and sat. operators feel already on the losing side of the HD equation, more bandwidth use but not more revenue. True the advent of new codec like HEVC will help but it is more likely that they will want to use it to gain efficiency on HD. In 3D the audience perceive that this is a different product.

Glasses are also seen as a big issue for 3DTV. I think a large part of that is due to the active glasses technology. You don’t experience most of that downsides wit passive glasses. Those are light, don’t need batteries and just work. They are also not expensive so you can have a lot and are easily wearable over prescriptions glasses. However, once people make up their idea that glasses do not work, it’s hard to convinced them that not all glasses are the same.

A lot of people are betting on auto-stereoscopic displays in the short term. While some people were impressed by prototypes, I think it will still take some time. Most that I have seen produce low quality images and noticeable transitions between viewing angle. The model based on 4k displays were off course significantly better but it’s also much more expensive… too expensive for the home market in the short term.

There is also the question of what 3d experience do we bring to the home? A session on Sunday did explore the differences between 3d is different settings: IMAX, Digital Cinema and the home. The point was that viewing conditions are so different that when you look at it in the home, it is no longer an immersive experience, it is more like looking through a window and most effect that happen in front of the screen in IMAX no longer work.

A session on Monday was supposed to address the question of ENG 3D production but was mostly about EFP… the panel was in agreement that the technology wasn’t there yet for ENG,

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