At this point there's no disputing the interest in anything 3D. There are however a lot of questions surrounding the quality of many of these products.
While it may not have the ability to address the quality of magazines, printers and posters, THX can address the 3D content delivery process in the home.
Acting quickly, the Bay Area quality and standards company developed a set of 3D home video standards and it introduced its specifications at the annual consumer electronics CEDIA Expo trade event in Atlanta earlier this month.
As part of its research THX examined elements such as color, grayscale, crosstalk and brightness, as well as viewing angles, room environments and screen sizes.
Graham McKenna, director of PR and communications for THX, says the new 3D standards provide a set of benchmarks to help ease eye strain, while improving the quality of the images. “It meets the Rec. 709 [HD picture standards] for both eyes and this eliminates viewer fatigue,” he points out.
“If you don’t have accurate images on both sides you’ll have fatigue.”
John Dahl, director of education for THX, adds that on the trade side of the electronics industry, THX will be supplementing its educational curriculum to include 3D in its learning programs to help electronics professionals spec and install the technology into their system designs.
He also notes the standards and educational materials are important because of the circumstances in place to create 3D aren’t conducive to the format. “Everything we’re recommending for 2D applies doubly for 3D,” he explains.
“With 3D you’re looking at a 2D surface and you’re trying to believe it is 3D. You need to eliminate as many variables as possible.”
For a fundamental improvement in 3D video reproduction in the home THX has outlined three key points for the public to consider:
Bigger is Better
Larger screens offer a more immersive 3D experience because they fill a line of sight, and allow viewers to focus on the picture, without distractions. THX theorizes that a TV or projection screen should create a field of view no larger than 50 degrees and no smaller than 36 degrees. This helps maintain the 3D effect with the right balance of crisp, sharp images.
THX adds that a bigger screen positioned further away from the viewer is better than a smaller screen positioned close to the viewer. It explains this theory in this way:
“In the real world, when objects move closer to you, your eyes must cross to focus on them. The same goes for objects in 3D movies and broadcast programs. As 3D images appear to move off-screen, toward you, your eyes must cross to maintain focus. If the screen is positioned farther away, your eyes will remain more relaxed, tricking the brain into believing the 3D effect,” the company advises.
Seating Position Matters
When depth is added to a movie or broadcast event, objects on-screen must demonstrate movements that are natural for viewers to believe the 3D effect says THX. For example, it says if an action hero dives behind a car to dodge a bullet, the timing and motion needs to be believable. If the viewer is sitting too far off-axis—away from the center of the screen—the 3D effect can appear unnatural, which can distract the viewer from the storyline.
THX recommends creating a seating area within a 30 degree zone, with a maximum viewing angle of 45 degrees. This ensures a direct line of site to the TV or projection screen says the company.
Streamline the Viewing Experience
THX’s final recommendation focuses on the room environment. Furniture, lighting and other objects in the line of sight can negatively impact the 3D experience and cause viewer fatigue the company points out.
As a rule, THX suggests the creation of a clean, 120 degree open space between the main seating area and the screen. It adds that installers and homeowners should consider the elimination of ambient light reflecting on the screen from windows or overhead sources. It adds that glossy bezels and shiny screen surfaces can also lessen the 3D effect from the viewer perspective.
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