The emerging world of 3D TVs improves

With 3D TVs now on the market, movie-lovers, gamers and TV-watchers alike can rejoice at being able to experience all the wonders of 3D effects in the comfort of their own home.

“It’s going to be the future of television as far as being able to immerse yourself inside of a movie, a video game or sports,” said Austin Buchanan, home theatre sales associate at Best Buy in Champaign.

To get that 3D experience at home, one will need a Blu-ray player, 3D glasses and a 3D TV, said Buchanan, noting that the glasses use a newer technology than the red/blue lenses that distort color or the polarized lenses that often cause headaches.

“The [glasses] that go with the TVs are active shutter glasses where the TV only displays one image at a time and it’s off-set,” said Buchanan. “The infrared emitter syncs with the glasses wirelessly to turn each lens on and off so that your brain is only viewing one image at a time.”

This allows your brain to more easily put the images together, cutting down on headaches, Buchanan said.

There are four brands of 3D TVs available at Best Buy, which may leave potential customers unsure of which to go for.

Samsung, LG and Panasonic each have built-in 3D emitters, whereas Sony has an external emitter that has to be purchased separately, Buchanan said. But the Sony emitter has more infrared emitters to sync with the glasses than the other brands, making viewing angles wider so that you can see the 3D effects even when you walk to the other side of the room.

With the recent hype over 3D movies in theatre, one might expect 3D TVs to be all the craze. But according to Buchanan, with the limited 3D content currently available and the higher prices, it may be some time before 3D TVs take over.

“They’re generally a thousand dollars more than the 2D alternative. And a lot of people just aren’t willing to spend that much money on a TV anymore,” said Buchanan.

Uday Kanwar, an graduate student in Engineering, said he would like to get a 3D TV, but not yet.

“Right now the implementation isn’t very convenient,” Kanwar said. “You need special discs (and) a separate 3D TV.”

Kanwar said he does not anticipate many people will buy 3D TVs right away because they have already upgraded from regular TV to digital HDTV recently.

For some, the 3D effects of the current technology fall short of expectations.

“I heard (3D TVs) are really bad,” said Andrew Wang, junior in Engineering, adding that a friend of his who tried it out said the 3D effects “weren’t really spectacular.”

For others, such as Abby Hanson, junior in AHS, the bigger issue is the price.

“Being a college student, I wouldn’t invest in getting (a 3D TV),” Hanson said.

Wang echoed Hanson’s sentiment regarding finances. “Maybe once they’re the same price as a regular TV I’d buy one,” he said.

According to Buchanan, advanced models will likely come out in the near future, with greater online capabilities, other special features and more content. Prices may also go down once they become more popular.

People like Kanwar will be holding out for the upgraded technologies that are yet to come.

“I’m sure there are some really smart people out there and they’ll figure it out,” Kanwar said. “When they do, I’ll buy one.”