The latest 3D revolution isn’t really a revolution at all but merely the evolution of the technology into a more commercially viable solution. Or so it seems. What we’ve got today are 3D solutions that have escaped the big screen and found their way into our homes in the form of 3D ready TV’s and corresponding products like Blu-ray players and movies that support the format. Honestly, that doesn’t really thrill me. What I’ll admit is truly remarkable is 3D content on mobile devices, which I suppose was an inevitable next step. Now that’s interesting technology, even if it’s not really the best way to view the content.
It's in your face but too small to enjoy
The technology has been around since the last couple of decades but has only been perfected to higher definition in recent times. We’re even at a stage when companies like Samsung and others have announced the reality of glasses 3D entertainment. So far, at least from my personal experience, I’m no fan of this technology.
In the initial stages of 3D rendering on mobile displays Samsung had made an entry that didn’t quite seem to get off the ground. Oddly enough, in the latter part of last year, our own Spice Mobiles launched the first 3D enabled handset, the M-67 3D, that supported stereoscopic media content. This was supposed to a breakthrough in the glasses 3D revolution but instead of a smartphone we ended up with a simplistic, mundane offering that was not nearly in the capability range to meet my expectations, even the least of them.
Zen mobile followed suite with their S30 3D handset that was no better than what Spice churned out. While I’m of the opinion that this was not your average sales gimmick and the handsets did manage to offer some (and I use that term very loosely) 3D rendering of content, it was not the kind of experience I’d recommend for fans of the technology.
Firstly you’d be required to create your own 3D content with third party software. Although I was told 3D stereoscopic files could be downloaded off of YouTube’s vast database, you’d still need a bit of compression for these low powered, low resolution devices to actually play them.
Zen's low budget 3D option
As an added “bonus” the handset could actually switch over to a 3D UI if you so desired but you better keep your optometrists number handy as viewing the content for too long was not pleasant. 3D video playback on the whole, will leave you wild eyed (literally). But that’s only because you’d have to make sure that your viewing angle is absolutely perfect to get the best effect. The same scenario works for Televisions as well. You’d be better off with active or passive 3D glasses for this technology that enables you to sit just about anywhere to get a full blown effect. Of course you’d look rather odd sitting in a bus or train with these goggles on trying to watch a tiny screen playing a video.
Glassless 3D technology, as far as I’m concerned, hasn’t yet been perfected even for the latest televisions so what makes a mobile phone company think they could offer subsequent support for it on a small screen.
But as much as the technology is still a work in progress, manufacturers are not suppressed and continue to launch newer and (hopefully) better 3D capable products. Sony recently launched their new Alpha Nex series of cameras that offer high speed, high resolution 3D capture for images but not video. LG’s Optimus Pad, a tablet with an 8.9-inch touchscreen is equipped with dual 5 megapixel cameras to capture images in stereoscopic 3D and their Optimus 3D mobile handset, like HTC’s EVO 3D will be capable of recording 3D video in up to 720p @30fps. The question is, how will this content really look on these large displays? Will the user be able to comfortably watch live action comfortably, or end up with teary eyes after about 30 seconds?
Nevertheless, the technology has progressed to quite an extent. From the good old days of 3D cinema on big screens, they’ve dwindled it down to smaller high resolution (and low resolution) displays that incorporate glassless viewing of media. But I ask you are we truly ready for this ‘revolution’ or is it still in need of refinement? I haven’t yet been able to personally see what the new handsets and tablets have to offer in terms of quality, but I’m not sure that 3D content was meant for the small screen. It’s far more thrilling to see asteroids coming at you on a large projected screen than it would on a small mobile display where they’d look more like tiny rocks. I think it’s a great innovation but one we can do without, at least in the mobile arena. It serves no real purpose.
The most important thought to keep in mind is, there really isn’t too much content out there that justifies owning a 3D product just yet, unless of course you wish to be future proofed.