What happened to the 3D TV system?

I remember back about 20 years ago I was watching the TV show, “That’s Incredible!” The one show featured a segment on a camera system that was developed by a single guy that could capture 3D images. The astonishing thing is that the system could produce the 3D effect on any normal TV without any other setups.
They did a demonstration video on the show, and I have to admit, I was quite astonished to how good the 3D effect was.
I thought, “Here’s a guy that has a system that can project 3D images on everyone’s TV, some network is going to buy that system so that they can broadcast in 3D!”
Well, needless to say, that hasn’t happened yet. Does anyone know what happened to the system? Was it too expensive to put into operation? Was the guy asking a Gajillion dollars for it that nobody would pay for it? Why hasn’t someone else come up with a similar system in the following 20 years if the guy showed it could be done?

From the American Cinematographer Video Manual (article by Gerlad Marks):

However, Marks also says:

Perhaps it was Wiggle Stereo? This is the only 3D image mechanism I know of that can work from one 2D display without glasses. However, it might be rather difficult to work in real time for movement.

As for the deeper reasons why, I suspect it’s because 3D anything has been associated with so much crap since the 1950s (when red-and-blue glasses were first widely used) that to invest in it now would be seen as folly. (What, you want to make another crappy monster movie? You want to make another butt-ugly Jaws sequel?)

The last time 3D was really going was the early 1990s, when virtual reality parlors began to spring up in the larger malls. I personally remember playing overpriced games in them (one game of tag with what looked like Nerf balls and a pterodactyl and one Red Baron knockoff). AFAIK, those places died the death along with their red-and-blue-tinged bretheren: They were too expensive, the graphics were years behind the times (even then they looked like something out of a blocky, pixellated past), and they simply did not achieve the kind of accretion that makes or breaks any new technology.

But maybe we shouldn’t write VR off completely: It took thirty years for TV to gain widespread acceptance.

If (when) holographic TV comes into being, How tall would the characters have to be for us to to able to suspend disbelief?

In medium to long shots, would the characters look like talking dolls? Would extreme close-ups be too jarring?

Could we handle an NFL game?

Has anyone ever produced a holographic drama that really holds an audience?

It would be trivial to build a 3-D TV system. Heck, one way occurred to9 me in a dream. I know that there are lots of patents out there for 3D TV. But there doesn’t seem to be enough interest.

3D movies go back an amazingly long way – there was a rush of 3D movies back in the silent days, well before the 1950s cycle everyone knows about. (It was even before Edwin Land invented Polaroid filters). Then there was the big rush in the 1950s, partly to compete with TV. The system used polarizing filters anmd polaroid glasses, and a special screen to retain polarization. There was a cheaper system used for places out in the sticks that couldn’t afford the special setup – it used the red-and-green (or blue) “anaglyphic” system that most people remember. The 1950s systems, luike the earlier ones, were plagued with problems of synchronization (for the polaroid systems) or separation of the colored images (anaglyphic),

Then there was the wave of 3D in the early 1980s (Comin’ at ya!, Jaws 3-D, Friday the 13th 3D, Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone, Parasite etc. etc., etc.) These movies used new methods to ensure synchronization of the two polarized images, so people couldn’t conmplain about the technology. But the system still didn’t catch on. I honestly think it’s the quality of the movies themselves. That’s probably why 3D TV still hasn’t caught on.

There’s no reason they couyldn’t broadcast anaglyphic 3C TV right now. On rare occasions, people do this, but it’s really rare. (They ran several 3D movies on cavble one week in 1982 – bat that’s over 20 years ago now!) You ought to be able to buy 3D videos or DVDs using anaglyphic images. Such 3D videos have appeared (I’ve got Robot Monster in 3D at home), but even the videotapes are rare, and I still haven’t seen them on DVD.

Again, it’s gotta be the quality. 3D spends too much time doing tricks, that are really awful if they don’t work. Comin’ at ya! was basically nothing but tricks, wrapped around a paper-thin Western. House of Wax had lots of stuff thrown out of the screen gratuitously (especially the huckster outside the Museum with his paddleballs).

Occasionally something good has come through. Alfred Hitchcock was, I understand, forced by the studio to make Dial “M” for Murder in 3D by the studio. But it contains the single most effective 3D scene I’ve ever seen, when Grace Kelly reaches her hand out toward the audience when she’s being attacked (the scene even made it to one of the film’s posters). I think that Jack Arnold’s The Creature from the Black Lagoon was the single best 3D movie ever – lots of natural 3D situations pop up when you’re underwater, with things suspended all around you.

The problem with 3D has been that few directors could effectively use it. Items that are too far away :“flatten out” in everyday life. Things that are thrown at us, or project towards us seem unnatural and theatrical. 3D occurs naturally with items in close to middle ground. 3D ought to be a natural for close-ups, conversations, and the like. Its ability to suggest natural rounded forms ought to convey intimacy and sexiness. (In fact, Playboy noted exacrtly this sort of thing when it reviewed the X-rated film The Stewardesses, eons ago). Modern CGI technology ought to make possible 3D effects and cartoons. Pixar ought to be able to make A Bug’s Life 3D Hecjk, they generated 3D images for the View-Master slides. There’s a 3D Omnimax show using scenes from Antz and The Simpsons right now.

So perhaps soon we’ll have 3D movies worth the effort. And maybe then 3D TV will follow.

I saw that episode of That’s Incredible too. Sad thing is, I saw it on a BLACK AND WHITE TV :(!!!
But I think that it was Wiggle Stereo because the images were all wiggly.
Anyway, I allways wondered what happened and why it never cought on, so I’m glad that this thread came along.