The actor, the monkey and the 3D war of words

Mon, 28 Mar 2011, 10:44am

3D anaglyph monkeyCan a letter of apology head off a legal battle over 3D technology between two of the world's leading TV companies?

Just in case you thought the stakes weren't already high enough in the battle between rival 3D technologies – after all, a major theme of Panasonic's recent European event in Japan was the superiority of its active shutter system over other 3D offerings – it seems things have been getting very heated in Korea, with a war of words, and adverts, between the world's two TV market leaders.

For the past month or so LG and Samsung have been trading blows, in a consumer-confusing war of attrition only now (hopefully) resolved with a letter of apology from a senior Samsung exec to LG display's engineers.

LG 3D adIt all started with an LG advert promoting its new Film-Patterned Retarder passive-glasses Infinia Cinema 3D technology.

It showed a clean-cut model lying down to enjoy his TV, and reaching out to touch a racing-car conjured up by the 3D tech.

It was all to do with LG's claims that the passive system is flicker-free and easier to watch, and suggested that 'Finally, you'll have a comfortable way to watch 3D'.

A senior Samsung executive, Executive Vice President Kim Hyeon-seok, hit back at a media briefing, pointing out there's no 3D system able to work when lying down on your side like this.

'3-D just doesn’t work when you lie down sideways, but it only makes you feel all the more dizzy,' he said, adding that 'Even renowned international organisations advised viewers to watch the 3-D TV horizontally.'

Samsung 3D briefing
Samsung briefs Korean journalists on its 3D technology

LG responded with a statement saying that 'Heads should be fixed horizontally and viewers should sit up straight to view (3-D images) through the shutter-glasses type TVs, but the technology has evolved and it can be viewed at any angle through the FPR method.

'Unlike the shutter-glasses type TVs, through which viewers can’t see the 3-D image at all when turning their heads to either side to 90 degrees, FPR technology can display images, although the three-dimensional effect will be significantly weakened.'

However, what really riled LG was Kim's comments to the press that 'I heard that LG Display CEO Kwon Young-soo had said "Passive glasses 3D TVs are also full HD." It seems that the engineers working under him are all stupid.'

Well, that's sort of what he said. Apparently it may have been a little more sweary than that...

LG apparently came back by saying that abusing a competitor in this way only showed that 'Samsung has lost it.' It also sent a letter to Samsung asking to confirm the media reports about Kim's remarks, and suggesting it may take legal action against him for defamatory remarks about its engineers.

Sources suggest the company wasn't too concerned about the remarks, but the engineers themselves were angry, and demanded action.

“Our engineers pride themselves as global experts on displays but the insult hurt them,” the company said, adding that, if the company hadn’t taken any action regarding the insult, the engineers would have lost trust in the firm they work for. “This was the least we could do,” he said.

Beware of geeks, and all that…

Then came the Monkey Ad, which turned up the row to boiling point.

Samsung monkey adSamsung produced a print ad featuring leading Korean actor Hyun Bin, sharply attired in a suit and active glasses, enjoying his Samsung 3D LCD TV.

Oh, and a little monkey down in the bottom right corner wearing old-fashioned red and blue anaglyph 3D glasses.

Next to the monkey is the woeful lament, 'Why isn't my 3D TV fully high-definition?'.

Seems this didn't go down too well with LG Electronics CEO Koo Bon-joon, who assumed the daft monkey in the retro glasses was meant to symbolise his company.

Lawyers sat up and took notice: this one looked like it could get big and expensive if it went to court.

But now it seems there may be a solution: reports in the Korean press suggest Samsung's Kim has sent a letter to Lee Bang-soo, head of the management support centre at LG Display, in which he apparently apologises for his remarks.

LG is playing it cool: it says it's received a letter, but it hasn't opened it yet, as Lee is away on a business trip; it'll get round to having a look today, when he returns, and 'We will decide what to do after consulting our engineers'.

So, the matter is now in the hands of the people with pens in their top pockets, who must decide how affronted they still feel, and whether whatever's in the letter helps salve their wounded pride.

At best, the apology will put an end to the whole unseemly mess; at worst, it may provide the lawyers with more evidence for a defamation suit.

But whatever happens, the loser – as in all format wars – will be the consumer, who will remain as confused as ever which way to jump when it comes to investing in 3D technology.

And may just decide not to jump at all…

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That's not what I said. It is just irritating to see the same mistake being repeated time and time again in the media by supposedly educated people!

greatestape wrote:
That's not what I said. It is just irritating to see the same mistake being repeated time and time again in the media by supposedly educated people!

I consider myself suitably chided: next time I see a mountain I will do all I can to ascertain whether or not it is in fact merely a molehill.

Lawyers were a waste of money.

They just needed a good moderator.

Haha, that's brilliant! Enjoyed reading this, esecially Samsung's reply.

Experts? Bah! Once again, no-one seems able to tell the difference between a monkey and a chimpanzee. A monkey is a monkey and a chimp is an ape!

greatestape wrote:

Experts? Bah! Once again, no-one seems able to tell the difference between a monkey and a chimpanzee. A monkey is a monkey and a chimp is an ape!

Except, of course, in France. Where the same word (singe) applies to both. Probably makes the "I am not a monkey, I'm an ape!" line from planet of the apes a bit more confusing in French (I am not a monkey, I'm a monkey!).

Films so far in 3D have been pretty dissapointing, games on the other hand are where 3D is shining through, Killzone 3 and Grand Tourismo 5 are both jaw dropping.  However 3DTV's with glasses will be short lived as there a quite a few different 'glasses free' technologys on there way. I see these first 3D sets as a way of making a quick buck (especially with the prices of active glasses!) before the decent 'glasses free' sets are released.

It all adds to the drama. When 3d is done correctly it can be great. I saw a panasonic once that was very convincing and flicker free. Was probably a 65 inch. The other time was in the cinema showing Avatar. All the others tvs I've seen 3d on were just plain awful. I'll watch it in the cinema but not at home.

The argument about which 3D system is the best is totaly irrelevant in my case. I am one of the 10% of the population who will never be able to watch 3D due to a medical condition (squint) that only gives me monocular vision. That is, I only view the world through one eye.

Until a glasses free 3D system is developed my TV viewing is limited to 2D.

I fear even the autostereoscopic systems may defeat you too, Harrowman, as again they depend on each eye seeing a slightly different image.

Surprised3D or not 3D that is the question? I just want a television with a good picture,good sound,and comes problem free and last longer than six months.

I am very happy with 2D blu-ray. 3D? Never.

I agree to an extent but it seems this rushed approach to 3DTV is companys getting some money back after Bluray not doing as well as it should have.Last year pricelists for household named DVD players were non-existant,but now it seems like bluray is playing second fiddle,unfortunately.I just hope the format takes hold with optional 3D versions,then i would think about it.

They can fight all they like, I for one won't be buying a 3D TV. As soon as  enough people bought into 3D technology, something else will be along to make everybody change their sets again.

Hilarious! Who wants to sit in their living room watching naff films on an over priced and soon to be obselete system with furniture on their face? I love my technology and admit that you need to push the boundaries somtimes, but does anyone actually buy into this mumbo jumbo  sales pitch? Is there actually a decent 3D film made EVER, and can anyone actually claim that watching said film looks better in 3D than 2D?  I'm yet to be convinced! If anyone can make 3D film that looks as sharp as "Baraka" does in 2D Blu Ray then i'll swallow my pride and buy a set tomorrow!  Wink

With my experiance in testing Blu-Ray 2D and 3D titles before we all get to buy them (my view does not reflect the company I work for) 3D is a lot cleaner and clearer than 2D (we get both versions) We have verious set ups so I get to view content on more than one. That said apart from some things coming out into the audience space (if they have been filmed properly) a correctly set up 2D picture will almost have as much depth as a 3D picture anyway. Watching Preditor on DVD! on my 1st gen Samsung 40" TV had incredable depth and that was before I set the TV up to the best of its abilty. I subsequently can't wait to see it on Blu-ray. (not something we tested at hoo)

Samsung 3D TVs as I believe confirmed in these very web pages (appologies t what hi-fi if I am wrong) show a lot of Ghosting/Crosstalk compared to other 3D monitors. This may have been sorted now on newer modles but LG win out on that issue hands down. I have seen both Active Shutter and Passive and I think passive looked better.

I for one plan to go 3D only with a projector and leave my TV veiwing in 2D, though I have just seen a 3D demo for LG that was very impressive.