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Comment: Do 3D TVs pose health hazards?

Posted: 22 Apr 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:3D TV? 3D health hazard? consumer electronics?

If someone already knew of the even remote possibilities that 3D TV viewing could cause an epileptic seizure, why push 3D TV so hurriedly to the mass market?

"Is my 3-D TV going to be safe?"

This is the last question the consumer electronics industry wants to hear right nowespecially as the market's fortunes for the next few years seem to be riding on a wide range of 3D-this, 3D-that gadgets that are aimed directly down consumers' throats.

Nonetheless, Samsung has begged that unwanted question by posting a 3D TV health hazards warning on its Australian website.

It's not entirely clear why Samsung is only posting a 3D TV warning in Australia. But every new Samsung 3D TV setsold today anywhere in the world, the United States includedbears the very same health hazards warning, according to Chris Chinnock, president of Insight Media.

Call me naive, but I couldn't help wondering why such warnings are popping up now. After all, sales of 3D Blu-ray and 3D TV are already out of the barn.

If someone already knew of the even remote possibilities that 3D TV viewing could cause an epileptic seizure, why push 3D TV so hurriedly to the mass market? More important, how does this sort of warning guide your typical soccer mom contemplating the purchase of a 3D TV for her kids this fall? Does she swear off 3D forever, or does she merely put her local seizure clinic on speed-dial?

Insight Media's Chinnock suspects that cautionary move for a Samsung. It's entirely possible that someone could sue Samsung in the future, claiming that 3D TV made him pitch a fit. As a vendor, "you have to think of every possible scenario, and be prepared to say that you are not liable," said Chinnock.

Myths or facts?
OK. So, is the 3D industry saying that the verbiage on the TV box is all legalese that bears little relationship to any actual consumer health issue?

Not exactly. "It's a tough one," said Chinnock. "There has not been enough research out there" to prove or disprove the case for 3D TV health hazards.

When I was talking to Koji Hase, president of worldwide consumer electronics at Real D six months ago, he pointed out that not a single health problem has been reported among hundreds of professionals who've been working, many years, in an environment where similar visual 3D tools are used.


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