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3D TV: Biggest Mistake In CE History?
By Swanni

Washington, D.C. (November 8, 2010) -- The evidence that watching 3D TV could cause a variety of illnesses is rising fast and could cause some industry advocates to scale back their efforts to make 3D TV "the next big thing."

The Hollywood Reporter writes that a top CBS executive recently told an industry conference that at least 20 percent of the population can't even watch 3D TV because of physical concerns.

"There's about 8-10 percent of the population that can't see the 3D effect due to a lazy eye muscle; usually if the person is color blind or has any sort of lazy eye difficulty, they can't see the effect," said Bob Seidel, vice president of CBS' advanced technology and engineering.

Seidel added: "There is another percentage that can develop motion sickness or other motion-related issues, and then there are some that develop headaches. What percentage still requires further research, but it could be as high as 20 percent."

Samsung, a leading 3D TV maker, has posted a medical caution regarding 3D viewing at its web site. LG has also issued a medical alert.

ESPN, arguably the format's leading booster, last week released a study that tried to downplay the adverse affects of watching 3D TV. But the network acknowledged that 3D TV viewers probably need to "take a break" from time to time, perhaps as much as 15 minutes.
 
We think breaks are a good thing for 3D viewing," said an ESPN official.

Earlier this year,
Steven Nusinowitz, an associate professor of ophthalmology at the Jules Stein Eye Institute in Los Angeles, told CNN that 3D glasses have a polarized filter that separate two images, thereby enabling the 3D effect.

However, the doctor adds that the separation occurs so quickly that your brain may have difficulty accepting it.

"The movie is telling you 'Hey, I'm moving around in this scene,' but your vestibular system is telling you, 'I'm not moving anywhere,' and that disconnect will make you feel sick, for some people," Nusinowitz said.

The doctor estimated that only about 20 percent of viewers will get sick when watching 3D, but that's a large percentage if you're trying to market a new product. If 1 in 5 people get sick, at least one family member could be unable to watch 3D TV.


Swanni Sez:
Commentary
It's still hard to believe that TV makers (and their content partners) have invested so heavily in 3D TV. Before launching, did they know that the thing can actually make roughly 20 percent of the audience sick to their stomachs?! Did they take into account that an overwhelming majority of consumers say they are not interested in 3D TV? Or, at least, paying premium prices to bring one home?

If TV makers don't slow this train down, 3D TV could become the biggest -- and most costly -- mistake in the history of consumer electronics.

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Phillip Swann is president and publisher of TVPredictions.com. He has been quoted in dozens of publications and broadcast outlets, including CNN, Fox News, Inside Edition, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Financial Times, The Associated Press and The Hollywood Reporter. He can be reached at swann@tvpredictions.com or at 703-505-3064.

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