From VHS to Betamax, LaserDisc, DVD, HD-DVD, BluRay, and beyond – It seems like just when we have the perfect home theater, something comes along for us to buy. The home entertainment industry is constantly asking us to purchase new technology to make our movie watching experience complete. 37″ Plasma’s gave way to 42″ LCD which has now lose the battle to 70″ LED screens. Our wallets are never given a chance to recover. Choosing winners and losers can be a challenge – how does 3D TV stack up? Is 3D just a fad that’ll disappear with such outdated models such as Saturday mail delivery, Atari and the economy?
One of the greatest challenge to 3D is going to be cultural. Ask most people what comes to mind when they think 3D and it’s those flimsy Red/Blue anaglyph glasses. The image created wasn’t very sharp, and the glasses have been around since the 1950′s. Not exactly a high-tech image. Additionally, 3D Movies have traditionally been the domain of classic horror movies. These two widely viewed opinions greatly harm the perception of 3D Television as a lasting technological advancement. It can be difficult to put down several hundred dollars on a something that has been tinkered with since the 1960′s!
While it’s true that 3D has been around for decades, it’s unfair to compare current technology to that of the 1960′s. Today’s 3D is radically different and likening the two would be like saying a donkey-cart is really about the same as a BMW. Yes indeed they accomplish the same task – passengers are driven from one place to another by an ass. But, that’s where the similarities end. The same goes for 3D technology. The image in modern Active Shutter 3D Glassses is HD quality, without the red/blue tinge that the old-time glasses had.
There has been a lot of talk about content issues with 3D – there’s nothing to watch. In the old days we had such classics as:
September Storm - Snakes on a plane with sharks.
Frankenstein's Bloody Terror - He's not angry just misunderstood.
The Stewardesses - Whatever happened to Airline customer service?!
Things have improved remarkably since then. These days our 3D television titles include movies such as:
Nominated for a Golden Globe and People's Choice Award!
Won an Oscar and a Critics Choice award!
The quality of modern day 3D movies is staggeringly higher than that of the earlier days. And 3D is no longer a gimmick - it’s part of the viewing experience. Movies such as Despicable Me, Alice in Wonderland, and Avatar are made to be watched in 3D. The 3D effects are not distracting or outlandish as in previous 3D releases. You’re not swatting away flying objects, or being inundated by an actresses assets. The 3D effects of modern movies are subtle and become a part of the story line. They add depth and help to surround you in the world of the movie maker. Of course, not everything looks great in 3D - I dont think we are ever going to see the news or weather in 3D. But, there are some forms of visual entertainment that would be great to watch in 3D. In addition to the above mentioned movies, watching sports is a natural fit for 3D. And because of the HD quality of 3D LCD Shutter Glasses, viewers no longer have to sacrifice quality for 3D – images are still in HD (720p or 1080p).
A great advantage off the current 3D revolution is that it doesn’t require you to upgrade very much of your current equipment. While there has been some chatter of late regarding the conspiracy that TV makers are perpetrating to get buyers to invest even more in new televisions, this just realy isn’t the case. If you have an older LCD or Plasma television, you probably don’t have the refresh rate needed for 3D (120Hz). But, anyone purchasing a newer television will not have to make the choice between 3D or non-3D. Most new televisions are going to be “3D ready.” This means that you have the option of watching in 3D if you so choose. And, most BluRay players made after 2009 already have 3D capability, so you most likely don’t need a new BluRay player either. Realistically, the only additional piece of equipment you will need are 3D Shutter Glasses. While these use to be in the outrageously expensive range of $200 per glasses, there are many companies that are now competing with after-market glasses that are in the $60 range. One example is the TekSpree.com 3D glasses which we’ve used with success for about a year now. So, 3D is not the technological shift that we had to go through when we upgraded to DVD, and then BluRay or Cassette then CD. The television makers are not looking to get you to throw away your 42″ Plasm screen. They’re just saying that if you are looking to buy a new television, and you have a choice between two comparable models, then why not choose one that has a higher refresh rate and offers 3D optionality?
In conclusion, I would say that the largest stumbling blocks I have seen to 3D has been the cultural misunderstanding that 3D is an old technology, the lack of 3D content and the expense of switching to a new technology. However, when we study these issues more closely we find that the 3D technology of today is barely recognizable as the 3D gimmicks of the 60′s. The 3D content offered to modern day Shutter Glasses owners is far supperior to the cheesy horror and sex flicks of the early years. And, the 3D setups needed to watch it all are hardly any more expensive than any new television or media player purchase is going to be. So – 3D tech is here to stay as an optional method to enhance several types of media. Go ahead – dive in!
What do you think? Let us know below!