Today I watched coverage of the Masters Golf Tournament in 3D. Comcast is offering two hours of 3D TV per day from 7-11 April. (55293-55297) It's on channel 897 where I live.Although they state that you need a 3D TV and 3D glasses, on a 2D TV it appears as a pair of stereo pictures side-by-side. This means that you can see the image in 3D without special equipment simply by staring at the screen and relaxing your eyes, kind of like those trippy 3D posters back in the 90s. It takes a bit of practice, but I've viewed plenty of stereo images before. Of course, without the proper equipment the effect is less than optimal; what you see is three pictures, the middle one being the 3D image, which are squished half-width, so everything looks skinny even on a wide screen, and it's difficult to keep your eyes in an unnatural position, so they keep snapping back to normal. Another problem is that it's golf, and I don't like golf, so it was difficult for me to maintain interest, and that also meant that most of the shots were long-distance, so most of the time it was hard to notice much depth.
It should actually be possible to make glasses that make it easier to view stereo images. They just need to be angled slightly to bring the images together without straining your eyes, and also spread out the image horizontally so it's not squished. They would be more expensive than paper anaglyph glasses, because they would required actual lenses instead of plastic films, but it would be a lot cheaper than buying a new TV, especially at current prices.
Still, it's something that I thought I'd never see, 3D on TV. Oh, sure, I've watched 3D before on TV with the colored filters, such as that episode of Chuck last year, but this time it was in regular color, without any glasses in my case, on a specially designated 3D channel, which looks to be set to become a regular feature, especially now that all the movies are in 3D. Of course, we all just bought new HDTVs and the 3D TVs are currently very pricey, there is minimal 3D programming, everyone in the house has to get clunky glasses (unless you watch it walleyed with squishy images), etc. There is a technology that doesn't require glasses, but it's not much better than the walleyed viewing, so you probably won't be seeing it. But now I really get the feeling that we're moving into "the future", with our giant, flat, super-sharp, wide-screen, 3D TVs, Star Trekky computing/communicating devices that fit into our pockets, voice-recognizing electric cars, etc.
Now, were are my jetpack and flying car?