Crosstalk interference is also there with Sky’s 3D footage. Though for some reason, it’s not quite as obvious or common as it is with the Blu-ray disc I had. In fact, during my testing period with the UE50C8000, Sky’s 3D show reel, plus a full 3D ‘replay’ of the recent Man U Vs. Chelsea football match, delivered the all-round most startling and impressive 3D experience.
This is for a number of reasons. Applying 3D to sports footage actually enhances your comprehension of the game. For instance, with football you can tell immediately if the ball is headed for the goal or going wide – something that’s not always obvious when watching in 2D. Or if someone crosses the ball, you can tell straight away where it’s going to end up, and which players are most likely to get on the end of it.
With tennis, you get a remarkably enhanced sense of both the pace and spin of the ball. With golf, you get a much better appreciation of the shots the golfers are facing, and the direction the ball is travelling in.
Furthermore, the 3D effect does a striking job of recreating a sense of the enormity of sports venues like Old Trafford.
So while there is some crosstalk interference to contend with when watching Sky’s 3D platform, it’s much easier to tolerate thanks to the trade-off you get in terms of increased appreciation and understanding of what you’re watching.
This is also true with 3D video gaming – albeit to a slightly lesser extent based on the experience of my ”Avatar” Xbox 360 game. In other words, while there’s definitely crosstalk to contend with, 3D really does enhance your sense of participation in and connection with the game. It also seems to add an extra level of skill – or at least, comprehension – to your gaming experience, in that you have to accommodate depth when trying to line up your target on an enemy.
While ”Avatar” is a third-person shooter, it’s easy to imagine the almost visceral impact that adding depth of field might have on first person shooters and driving games.
The pity with all this is that ”Avatar” isn’t a better game because of 3D. It’s pretty enough to look at, sure, and the depth of field of some of its environments is a great showcase for the difference 3D can make to a game’s presentation. But the basic play and camera mechanics are so frustrating and inept that they actually damage the 3D experience, leaving you feeling queasy and disorientated.
Avatar also delivers a poignant exercise in just how important source material might be in the quality of a 3D experience. For intriguingly it allows you to fine tune to quite an extensive degree the level of ‘3D effect’ the game delivers. This is set to a default 1 value, but even at this point, the amount of crosstalk witnessed on the UE55C8000 is headache-inducingly excessive. Pushing it any higher will have you booking an emergency appointment at your optician’s.
Nudging the 3D effect down to around 0.3-0.4, though, drastically reduces the crosstalk issues, while still leaving you with a game world that’s most definitely no longer flat.
Overall, while I was a little surprised to find Sky’s 3D experience sticking in my mind more than my gaming 3D experience, I still can’t wait to see what a more sophisticated game engine might be able to do with the technology.
Last and most certainly least on my list of 3D experiences with the UE55C8000 is its 2D to 3D conversion. While this doesn’t deliver as much crosstalk trouble or as many serious perspective errors as I would have expected, it also produces a very shallow sense of 3D – a sort of ‘3D Lite’. The relative flatness of the image increases, too, with poor quality sources of the sort all too common with standard definition channels on both the Freeview HD and Sky HD platforms.
Personally, I think 2D-3D conversion on the UE55C8000 rather dilutes the 3D message. 3D seems to me inherently an ‘event’ type experience you’d want to save for true 3D content. I can’t see you popping on your glasses just to watch converted episodes of ”Home and Away”!