I recently attended a fascinating briefing session organised by Samsung to provide background to the brand’s first range of 3D TVs and 3D Blu-ray player. R&D chief Simon Lee has been taking his team around Europe, doing similar sessions with various media. The event was notable for a couple of reasons.
In an effort to push the brand’s on-the-fly 2D-3D conversion technology, the engineers used the 2D release of Avatar on Blu-ray. We were shown long sequences of the world’s most famous 3D movie, released in flat-o-vision 2D, then dimensionalised back into faux 3D by Samsung. The convolution of the demonstration made my head spin.
What was curious is that I didn’t think it looked half-bad. I haven’t seen any TV 2D-to3D conversions that I’ve liked, and I certainly wouldn’t seek out the tech in a 3D TV, but…
Perhaps it’s because the original cinematic composition fit the process? Whatever the reason, the demo proved to be a pretty good advert for Samsung’s tech.
Simon and the Samsung team then compared their LED 3D against an early (US release) Panasonic 3D plasma. As an aside, Lee casually let slip that the 3D glasses for both brands were interchangeable if the lens were reversed (ie worn upside down). I tried it and it worked. Shortly before I left, I quickly took the opportunity of snapping fellow tech writer Jim Hill wearing Samsung’s glasses upside down.
A couple of hours later I posted this on homecinemachoice.com – and the story went nuts. Popping up all over the web. Poor old Jim, his be-goggled visage went everywhere!
Predictably, some commentators took it all a bit too seriously. For the record I wasn’t suggesting this as a serious solution to the 3D glasses incompatibility issue buyers must now contend with. Firstly, the glasses won’t even turn on unless a same brand TV is disgorging IR activation pulses in the same room. But what it does show is just how close the AV industry came to getting the 3D hurdle right, before falling at the final eyewear fence.