Although it is yet to truly become a phenomenon, the debate about viewer experience with 3D TV is far from over. But things may be looking up for the technology, announces a new study investigating user experience of stereoscopic 3D TV recently published in Ergonomics.
An academic from Newcastle University, UK, has led a lab-based research, involving 433 viewers of ages from 4 to 82 years, in which participants were asked to watch Toy Story in either 2D or 3D (S3D) and report on their viewing experience. The objective of the study was to investigate visual discomfort in relation to 3D display technologies, as well as to determine the impact of people’s preconceptions on their experience of 3D TV. It’s no secret that the format hasn’t taken off in the way many had anticipated.
Research participants were asked to rate their viewing experience according to a number of parameters and soon it emerged that those watching three-dimensional content had a significantly higher incidence of adverse effects than their 2D counterparts. The team suspected that this might partly reflect a ‘nocebo effect’ – ‘an intrinsically harmless substance or procedure causing adverse effects due to negative expectations’. To shed light on the matter, the team devised a harmless ploy; two-dimensional content was shown to a number of viewers expecting to watch a 3D movie, and results were then compared with those from the 2D group. The outcome corroborated the researchers’ suspicions, confirming that, when it comes to 3D TV, some people approach it with a jaundiced eye.
This fascinating new study confirms watching S3D television can cause discomfort to a small number of viewers, but why this is remains unclear. “When cinema was first introduced, people found that very disturbing, and yet nowadays we all watch it happily,” says Jenny Read, one of the authors of this research. “There is a kind of circular effect – as the technology gets better, people will use it more.”
The future may be looking brighter for S3D TV then!
About Ergonomics and the IEHF
Ergonomics, also known as human factors, is the scientific discipline that seeks to understand and improve human interactions with products, equipment, environments and systems. The scientific journal Ergonomics is an international multi-disciplinary refereed publication, with a 50 year tradition of disseminating high quality research.
The Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors (www.iehf.org), founded in 1949, is the professional body for researchers and practitioners in the field of ergonomics, with an international membership in excess of 1700. Its aim is to promote the awareness, education and application of ergonomics in industry, commerce, public sector and government.