Eighteen percent of the world's population cannot see three-dimensional images due to problems with their vision which can be caused by a number of different conditions. This, coupled with the need to wear glasses and the high price of the equipment makes 3D TV a passing fad, at least for now. What about the future?
The film Avatar launched a worldwide furore around Three-D images, bringing a fantasy world into the cinema, playing out the story before the enthralled eyes of millions of movie-goers across the planet. Well, not exactly all. Only around eight per cent, because 18 per cent of the world's population cannot see 3D due to a myriad of conditions which affect their vision.
Among these conditions are myopia, strabismus and astigmatism, because to see 3D images clearly, a person needs to see well with both eyes - having a healthy binocular capacity. This means that for one-fifth of the world's population, watching a 3D movie can cause more discomfort than pleasure, resulting in a headache or nausea.
With prices of 3D TV sets in the USA at 2,000 USD, it comes as no surprise that many consultants in the market of three-dimension television consider that it is not worth making much of an investment and for now, energies should be better spent improving the quality of the television sets in circulation, namely High Definition TV.
Therefore some players in the market are dragging their feet and are more inclined to declare that 3D TV is a passing fad, at least for now. Philips, for instance, is not concentrating on 3D this year but is focussing more on high quality image for TV and on the Internet. Today the buzz-words are very much LCD and plasma.
But what about tomorrow? If we examine the US market, we see the war has already begun and the battle lines have already been drawn up. TV manufacturers and cable programmers have already started work on launching the Avatar effect, and after the one billion-plus-USD this movie made, who can state that it will not sweep tomorrow's world?
As more and more 3D movies are made (Avatar is the first of a series) and with other movie makers already jumping on the 3D bandwagon, with sports TV providers making their images available and with 3D entertainment channels already in the making ready for launch in 2011, it appears that a critical mass is gathering.
Analysts point out that High Definition TV took around ten years from launch to acceptance in the marketplace and as with other technologies, the first buyers will be the curious haves setting the trend for the cautions have-nots waiting for prices to drop as sets are mass-produced.
3D images are produced by sending a different set of images to each eye. The special glasses a viewer wears filter out the images, so that the left eye captures a different image from the right, creating an optical illusion of depth, this being the result of a filming process using cameras which produce images for the left and right eyes.