3D television coming with lots of fine print; and not just about the warranty

Over the past year, several companies have issued warnings about the safety of 3D video technology.

The latest was Nintendo, a company planning a 3D version of their Nintendo DS portable gaming system, the Nintendo 3DS (very clever name, Nintendo). However, in a statement today released in Japanese, Nintendo warned that the gaming system is not appropriate for children under the age of six whose eyes are still developing.

From the CBC:

A Google translation of the advisory suggests adults protect young players by setting a code to block the 3D function, a view that “has a potential impact on the growth of children’s eyes.”

In May, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata told the Associated Press that health concerns related to “children’s eyesight” were a key factor in the decision to make a 2D mode available on the 3DS.

All players should discontinue 3D use if they do not feel well, Nintendo said.

For older players, the company’s advisory suggests taking a break after 30 minutes of playing in 3D mode.

To read the hilarious Google-translated version of the press release, click here.

Sony and Samsung issued warnings months ago about general issues caused by too much 3D television watching, including headaches, fatigue, discomfort, disorientation and nausea, especially if you start thinking about how a movie with a plot as bad as Avatar’s made it the most successful film ever.

Nintendo is urging viewers to limit their 3D gaming to half-hour intervals, especially for children. Yeah, good luck with that. When I was a kid, I could keep my gaming sessions going longer than a Sidney Crosby point streak. I didn’t care how much my eyes would bleed; it’s called playing through the pain, and when you’re in the zone, you’re in the zone. Parents may actually need to physically restrain their children to keep them away from their video games.

And here’s the other thing: manufacturers are urging viewers to avoid drinking alcohol during their 3D watching. Hold on: wasn’t 3D TV supposed to be the greatest thing to ever happen to sports broadcasting? What’s so great about watching sports on a TV you can’t have a beer in front of? You pretty much need to drink after some of the crappy Monday Night Football games that have been on this year (and if you’re drunk enough, Jon Gruden actually starts to sound intelligent).

Add in the lack of regular 3D programming available (or even in the works from the sounds of things) and 3D TV is starting to sound like less and less of an attractive proposition. I just shelled out $600 for an HD TV last year, so I am already counting myself out for this first round of 3D TVs. Maybe if they made watching 3D TV as simple as, say, watching TV, it wouldn’t be such a big deal. But it seems like the only people who will be able to watch 3D TV are people who don’t watch much TV in the first place. How does that make sense?