The term 3D is getting tossed around quite a bit these days and a new product touting 3D capabilities pops up practically every other day. If you believe the hype, then 3D is the epitome of next generation technology and an unbelievable immersive form of entertainment. The pessimists out there feel that 3D is nothing more than a blurry, nausea-inducing eye-sore merely being promoted to stimulate TV/display sales that are stagnating due to an arguable discernible resolution cap. As with most things the truth tends to lie somewhere in the middle. One thing is certain; 3D has to be seen first-person in order to truly understand the effect and experience.
Unlike high resolution imagery, 3D cannot be conveyed merely by posting a screenshot on a website to illustrate its advantages as the viewer would obviously already need a 3DTV/monitor/projector to witness the image. It is this lack of exposure combined with some less-than-accurate marketing practices that have worked to spread more confusion than information when it comes to the "3D Experience". It is this confusion that has beleaguered the 3D industry and made consumers wary of readily adopting 3D tech, instead leaving that responsibility to the early-adopters.
In the following series we will dive head first into the 3D ecosystem in an attempt to clear up some of the confusion surrounding 3D technology and hopefully provide you the consumer with a better understanding of what you can expect from current and future 3D technology. I have been fortunate (cursed?) enough to spend a great deal of time with numerous 3D technologies over the years and I have witnessed the 3D market develop and mature. Therefore I have the unenviable task of trying to convey in written word and 2D pictures what the "3D Experience" truly is. We will be looking at the different 3D delivery methods from a technology standpoint as well as many of their resulting consumer products. With that being said, the intent here is not to create a dry deep-dive 3D technology whitepaper but instead convey the effectiveness of the various platforms at delivering a 3D experience as well as determining how engaging said 3D experience truly is.
The title of this series pretty much explains itself. Instead of relying a 30-minute product demo of cherry picked content to make our determination, I will actually be living with the 3D technologies we review for the long term, testing each technology with varied content, from photos to Bluray movies to games, all in an attempt to determine whether the 3D experience is truly one you want to live with or merely a gimmick that loses it’s luster by the end of a two hour movie.
We will be looking at 3D products from the likes of NVIDIA, AMD, Samsung, Fuji and others. Additionally we will be speaking with 3D industry rockstars such as Roy Taylor of MasterImage 3D to pick their brains on the current state of 3D technology as well as learn about what innovations they are bringing to the table.
This will not be your regular old benchmark-laden review as there is simply no benchmark that can demonstrate the 3D experience… good or bad. Furthermore I understand that I am a hardware geek that loves new technology and that I may be more forgiving of 3D missteps than the average consumer, which is why the products we review will also be vetted by average consumers. We will demonstrate the various technologies to them and include their feedback in the series to provide you with a more rounded assessment of the experience.
Consider this review series to be an ongoing event and recognize that we value your input so feel free to speak up. If there are exciting 3D technologies out there that you would also like to see reviewed please feel free to let us know and we will work to include them.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks to see what we feel will become the definitive guide to the 3D Experience.