Study: 20% of Viewers Might Have Trouble Watching 3D on Television

Some people can develop motion sickness or headaches, while viewers with lazy eye muscles and color blindness are unable to see the effect.

A CBS executive warns that as many as 20% of viewers might have difficulty watching 3D on television.

Stakeholders have been moving forward to deliver 3D to consumers' homes, and research firm DisplaySearch predicts that there could be nearly 1.6 million 3D-ready sets shipped in North America by year's end.

That has led some to study the potential physiological effects of viewing the format.

"We owe it to the public to research physical effects," David Wood, deputy director of the European Broadcasting Union's Technical Group, said earlier this year.

The University of California and CBS, which has tested the NCAA Final Four and U.S. Open tennis in 3D for showings in theaters and DirecTV, respectively, is among those doing research on how 3D is perceived.

"(3D) has had good success in Hollywood, but whether you can translate that to cable, satellite and broadcast television has yet to be seen," Bob Seidel, vp of CBS Advanced Technology and Engineering, said during the annual SMPTE conference last week. "There's about 8%-10% of the population that can't see the 3D effect due to a lazy eye muscle; usually if the person is color blind or has any sort of lazy eye difficulty, they can't see the effect.

"There is another percentage that can develop motion sickness or other motion-related issues, and then there are some that develop headaches. What percentage still requires further research, but it could be as high as 20% (in total that would have difficulty watching 3D)."

Samsung has issued health warnings in conjunction with its 3D TVs.