For enjoying 3D video to its full extent, access and consumption of 3D content should be user centric, which in turn ensures enhanced quality of user experience. The experience nevertheless is easily influenced by several factors, including content characteristics, users' preferences, contexts prevailing in various usage environments, etc. Utilizing ambient illumination as an environmental context for the purposes of efficient provision of 3D video to users has particularly not been studied in literature in detail. This paper investigates the effects of ambient illumination on 3D video quality and depth perception for utilizing this information as one of the key context elements in future user centric 3D access and consumption environments. Subjective tests conducted under different illumination conditions demonstrate that the illumination of the viewing environment encircling the users has significant effects on the perceived 3D video quality as well as depth perception. © 2012 ICST Institute for Computer Science, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering.