We found some interesting information posted on the Samsung web site that warns of possible health risks related to watching 3D television. This raises the question of whether or not 3D television and home movies can be hazardous to your health.
We heard about several PDF documents that are downloadable from the Samsung web site that issue this warning. You can find all three by doing a search in Google for “Viewing TV Using the 3D Function”. Two slightly different documents use that title and the third is named, “Important Health Information for 3D television viewing.”
While these look to be typically CYA legal disclaimers generated by corporate attorneys, they do raise some interesting questions about the new technology.
Some of the warnings about using 3D include:
- Some people could experience epileptic seizures or strokes when exposed to flashing images.
- Some viewers could experience dizziness, light headedness, muscle twitching, altered vision, confusion, headaches, fatigue, nausea or convulsions.
- They also warn of motion sickness, disorientation, eye strain, and decreased postural stability (balance).
- They do not recommend that you watch 3D if you need sleep, have been drinking or are in bad physical shape.
Samsung 3D technology uses shutter glasses for viewing movies and games in 3D mode. In some circumstances, it appears that fluorescent lighting or sunlight could cause flickering of the glasses could cause in an adverse physical reaction. It is also possible that certain 3D visual actions in movies could trigger a response. I do know someone who got violently ill with motion sickness while trying to enjoy virtual reality ride in the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas, even though the ride never moved more than six inches.
If a significant percentage of users do experience these types of symptoms, it could result in legal action that could possibly curtail the release and growth of new 3D products. While we have personally never experienced these problems with 3d television thus far, there are certain groups of people who suffer from motion sickness problems and headaches while simply viewing a 3D movie in the movie theater that uses circular polarization and polarized glasses. This technology is fundamentally different that that used with the new Blu-ray 3D technology for home viewing, but it should raise a warning for anyone subject to problems while viewing any 3D movie.
Thus far we have not seen these warnings from any other manufacturer. Samsung may be ahead of the curve with a legal disclaimer or the documents could be the work of overly paranoid attorneys. Time will tell.