One Good Non-3D Use for 3D Televisions

Think 3D TV is an annoying gimmick and want no part in it? Here’s one intriguing use for 3D televisions that you may not have considered: Multi-player videogames where each player gets a full-screen view of his or her part in the action on the same set. Would you be willing to wear glasses for that?

Split-screen gaming could become a thing of the past. The concept is logical enough. A 3D TV works by displaying slightly offset left-eye and right-eye images either in rapid succession (active shutter variety) or interlaced with one another (passive variety). The 3D glasses ensure that each eye only gets the imagery intended for it. With a little tweaking, it should be simple enough to design a system where – instead of left and right views of the same image – two completely separate 2D images are displayed. One viewer’s glasses (both lenses) would be tuned to one of the images, while the lenses of another viewer’s glasses would be tuned to the other image. Both viewers would see their separate 2D images in full screen on the same TV at the same time.

At the recent E3 conference, Sony promoted this feature on its upcoming PlayStation-branded 24-inch “dual-view” monitor. Vizio has a similar design in its “Versus” television.

Can existing 3D TVs do the same thing? In theory, yes, but only if the compatible glasses support the viewing mode of syncing both lenses to one image. I imagine that this would require new glasses specifically for this feature, at the very least. I’m not sure whether the TV would also have to transmit separate sync signals for each viewer, or if these theoretical new glasses could simply tune into the existing sync signals for the appropriate “eye” and ignore the other image.

In either case, this dual-view system will only work with compatible games specifically authored to take advantage of this feature, much like 3D gaming. Existing multi-player games like ‘Call of Duty’ and whatnot will continue to display in split-screen mode.

This seems like an innovative development, but I question how many people it will really appeal to. Don’t most of today’s gamers play their multi-player titles online, rather than in the same room?

6 comments

  1. Alex

    There’s still something very satisfying about sitting around with a couple of friends, churning out a few levels in Gears of War. I love the idea, honestly. I think it would be terrific. Unfortunately, since leaving college and starting a family, the opportunities to have friends over for a Mountain Dew-fueled game-a-thon are quite a bit fewer. Still, love the idea.

    One way to improve it would be to have multiple audio outputs available too. If you had two seperate Toslink ports, one for one person’s and for the others, you could run headphones for each as well. I think it would be great.

    • Yeah, since I finished college about a decade ago, I have seen my gaming go down significantly – especially multiplayer gaming. And if I were still in college, I wouldn’t have the money to spend on one of these sets.

      its an intriguing idea, but I have to wonder how well it would sell, as I got a feeling that the target audience is going to have more limited funds.

  2. javier

    Is it a 3D image as well for each player? I thought it would be too much for my eyes but OOT in 3D has changed my mind.

  3. Marc Saunders

    The new Sony monitor which allows this sounds cool, but at the size it’s available for, I’d rather just have my friend bring over their game system and an extra monitor and do system link type games. With the Sony Monitor, you’d have to sit shoulder to shoulder (what a sight, two people snuggled on a love seat with 3D glasses and controllers in their hands).
    I agree with an earlier post, those with the money probably don’t do split screen gaming in person as it is today. I’m not sure who that feature is going to be marketed for.
    Using a larger 3D TV for this would not be bad, so I could see it there. If it’s an easy alteration to current sets, I could see it, but I’m not buying another one set just for this feature.
    Of course, the game developers would have make it happen. Considering how slowly 3D is being added to non-first party games, and how limited the hardware sell-through will be if these tvs have to be even more specialized than 3D tvs are, it’s a long shot that it will catch on. I certainly could be wrong, but I’m not holding my breath.

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