First: I do not want to engage in a discussion of whether 3d is any good or has a future or requires glasses or any of the other controversies surrounding 3d provision over TV or in movies. I have a technical issue.
I just got a new 50" plasma to replace the dieing 7-year-old LDP projection TV. Since it was my first large TV in so long I splurged and got "smart" features and 3d (active) capabilities as well. I don't have a 3d BluRay machine or disks yet, but I tried it on the two free channels from DTV -- 3net and ESPN3d, and I rented the new Hobbit movie in 3d from channel 104 as well. It worked quite as advertised, and it was (for me) pleasant and comfortable. (I've never had headaches or much discomfort from 3d in theaters.) Now as far as I know, these are the only 3d channels DTV claims to have, and DTV has to particpate in the 3d features (appropriate signaling and indicators and so forth).
Much to my surprise, I had the SciFi channel on this afternoon, and shortly after "Star Trek: Generations" started (just after it switched to Next Generation time and the holodeck ship, if you know the plot), my TV put up a small popup screen saying that it had detected a 3d signal and I might want to switch the TV's mode. I did so, and engaged the glasses, and sure enough, the movie was now visible in 3d. One thing that surprised me was that this was apparently completely transparent to DTV; there were no notices or any indication in the "info" screens that the movie was anything but bog-standard HDTV; yet the TV knew, displayed 3d status in its info screen, and the content was definitely 3d. So were all the commercials and promos, to my even further surprise. So (A) I didn't know that the 3d capability was a property of the data stream that DTV does not track but does pass transparently to the viewer; or (B) that there were other channels broadcasting apparently in HDTV but really in a 3d version of same (but backwards-compatible with a TV in 2d mode or without 3d), down to having 3d versions of the commercials. Now I really wonder how many 3d unofficially via high definition TV.
Finally I need to add a word about the quality of the SciFi (I refuse to spell it the other way) channel's 3d. It was worse than the three "official" 3d channels. This was not in the apparent "3d-ness" of the content, i.e. it was perfectly clear that something was close or further away or an object had depth. The problem was the frequent slight glitches in picture quality, not pixel artifacts as you sometimes get on any digital screen, but some weird flashing if something moved across the screen "closer" to you than other objects. My suspicion is that this is related to the fact that this channel was showing in 1080i resolution while the Hobbit movie was being shown in 1080p (1080p/24 for that matter); I think the artifacts I was seeing in the stereo vision resulted from the interlacing of fields in 1080i; and extra processing that DTV might do, if any, for the "official" 3d channels (besides showing them in 1080p) was of course not being done for the SciFi channel.
I'd be interested in any comments.
Edited by levinjb, 12 May 2013 - 06:57 PM.