The 3D revolution first came about back in 2010 when Samsung launched its pioneering range of three-dimensional TV sets to the world. Since then, the market has grown steadily, with an estimated 1.3 million 3DTVs thought have been sold in the UK alone. With 3DTV’s sitting in the households of growing numbers of people, is this new technology likely to ever fully replace the traditional 2-dimensional boxes we have become so accustomed to? And what is in store for the future of the TV and broadcasting industry?
The recent 2012 British Olympics saw the first ever live 3D broadcasting of the games, with broadcasters such as NBC, CCTV, BBC, Nine Network, Eurosport and Sky 3D all taking part in the 3D broadcasting. In the UK alone over 113,000 people watched the London 2012 opening ceremony in 3D, and although representing only a small proportion of the record breaking 27 million UK viewers, 3D TV production was certainly starting to make in-roads into the mainstream market.
On a similar vein of thought, it is interesting to note that David Attenborourgh recently became the first man to win a BAFTA in black and white, colour, HD and 3D formats. Such facts and figures seem to suggest that 3D TV production is on the rise, and perhaps even provides a glimpse of what the future might hold for media jobs.
Problems & Critics…
People who work in TV, and have had any exposure to 3D broadcasting, will be well aware of the challenges that are faced in producing 3D broadcasts. In comparison to 2D broadcasting, 3D broadcasts are much more complex and expensive, requiring a very high technical standard to be maintained throughout the filming process in order to prevent any mismatch in colour, alignment, or focus between the two cameras, that may destroy the 3D effect or produce discomfort for the viewer.
Critics of 3DTV often point to the annoying glasses and the lack of depth and excitement compared the immersive visual world that you would experience at the cinema. 3DTV has even recently been linked to the cause of certain health issues.
In 2012, Sony, Toshiba and LG unveiled their latest answer to home entertainment: 8K – or “Super Hi-Vision” (SHV). SHV is the equivalent of sixteen times the resolution of current HD, and is thought could cause considerable threat to 3D, with many people believing this is where the future of TV truly lies.
“I am seeing the future of broadcasting”
One of those people is BBC Director of Sport Barbara Slater, who supervised the 3D broadcasts and SHV experiments in London for the Olympic Games. Barbara was quoted to have said: “3D never really caught fire, it wasn’t talked about. We are proud of the opportunity to show some 3D coverage but it was not something that really resonated.” This was demonstrated by the fact that the men’s 100 metre final was watched live by 20 million people in the UK but only 66,000 of them tuned in to watch it in 3D. SHV on the other hand reportedly wowed audiences at public screenings during the recent Games. “It made you think – My goodness, I am seeing the future of broadcasting”. Others believed that at that scale and resolution, there is so much information and detail before your eyes that you could have a different experience watching the same video depending on where you chose to look.
The enormous price tags and limited SHV TV production makes the current threat of 8K technology less significant, however as technology and production prices fall, consumers and broadcasters will undoubtedly follow, and this is where the industry will go. The future of broadcasting therefore lies in SHV, not 3D.
Author Bio: Oliver specialises in technology, gadgets, and social media. He spends most of his time buying and testing gadgets, learning about technology and wondering about future technologies. All images and data in this article are used courtesy of Real In Media.