Do you take 3D TV health warnings seriously?

Summary:In addition to the worry about epilepsy or stroke from flashing lights, the warning says not to watch 3D while drunk, that it can cause motion sickness, and that sitting too close may damage your eyesight.

It looks at first blush like one of those reverse-psychology marketing ploys.

This movie is so shocking it could make you ill.

Of course this stuff can get serious. Remember Pokemon syndrome? A strobe effect on the kids' cartoon show was implicated in real epileptic seizures. Pikachu indeed.

So maybe this is clever marketing, or just someone covering their potential liability. Whatever. Samsung has put a long health warning (PDF) on its new 3D TV.

(The image is from our Crave UK blog, a story on the history of over-the-air 3D broadcasting. If you're having trouble reading the legend, it's "OMG! This is not even remotely impressive." Those Brits.)

In addition to the worry about epilepsy or stroke from flashing lights, the warning says not to watch 3D while drunk, that it can cause motion sickness, to keep the TV away from stairs, and that sitting too close may damage your eyesight.

Cool!

Samsung and Panasonic began shipping the new TVs, with their special glasses, last month, and other manufacturers are jumping into the market.

3D TV works by having video recorded with two slightly different perspectives (corresponding to your left and right eye), then combining the image with polarization. They look blurry until you put on glasses that right-and-left shift the images so they come together, giving the illusion of depth.

Since the huge success of the movie Avatar electronics companies have been falling all over one another to create 3D kit. Sony is planning 3D games, 3D Blu-Ray players for summer, and a line of glasses to use them all with.

But it does come with some concerns. A friend just dropped by as I was writing and recounted stories of people getting nauseous, with symptoms of motion sickness, while watching James Cameron's epic movie. Reviewer Mike Pesce insists 3D is bad for you, and is concerned manufacturers haven't done any health and safety testing on the technology.

So the Samsung release is a sort of lawyer letter. Hey if you get sick we told you. You were warned. And as to why Samsung, perhaps this will explain.

Now is that warning good enough for you? Or are you going to run to your lawyer if you fall down the stairs after watching a friend's 3D over some beers for several hours a few months from now?

Topics: Health

About

Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist since 1978, and has covered technology since 1982. He launched the Interactive Age Daily, the first daily coverage of the Internet to launch with a magazine, in September 1994.

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