3D Moving Out Of Theaters, Into Homes

3d-tvIt’s no secret that, for ill or for nil, 3D is going to be the next big thing for movies. Sure 3D movies are nothing new, but they faded into obscurity for a couple decades and if there’s anything Hollywood likes, it’s taking the old and making it new again. Whenever profits stop climbing at a meteoric pace, they need something to reinvigorate the cash-flow. VHS begat DVD. DVD begat Blu-ray. And so it goes.

At the moment, 3D movies are hot. Hot, hot. Hot to the point that it can take a warmed-over remake like My Bloody Valentine and turn it into a box office monster.

Well yeah, duh, of course movies are going to keep turning up in 3D if it can result in an 80% boost in the gross. The problem Hollywood has is getting these 3D movies into the home. The most workable solution so far has been to give you an analglyphic presentation of the movie and make you wear the red-blue glasses. It’s inelegant and annoying, but it gives something that looks 3D. And of course that always leaves you open to get teased for looking like Dr. Jacoby from Twin Peaks.

The solution, which sounds more like collusion, is to get you to buy a new TV capable of throwing a 3D image at you. Some DLP TVs have been able to do this for awhile, but not many and you still have to wear glasses, though they aren’t as goofy looking as the freakout red-blue paper glasses. This seems a fairly reasonable proposition for Hollywood and electronics manufacturers, as well as the Holy Grail of creating TV that shows a 3D image without the need for glasses, though even to a layman that smacks of pie-in-the-sky.

Then there’s that little fact that you have to buy one of these TVs. Buy a new TV. After they just convinced you to buy an HDTV. Because you needed HD. Now you need 3D, so buy a new TV. It sounds so simple and reasonable and it’ll get you that 3D picture you so badly want, even if you don’t realize how bad you want it.

Me, I’m in love with high-definition and have zero regrets about buying an HDTV. At times the definition is so high it blows my mind. There are a lot of people like me. There are also a lot of people who were told they would love HD and bought a TV, only to never hook it up to an HD source. They dropped a big chunk of change on a TV they didn’t really need because they were told all about how much they really did need it.

The same thing will happen with 3D. There will be some who’ll have no qualms about dropping a couple grand on another new TV so they can watch 3D movies. This will also require buying the required players, discs, glasses, and whathaveyou to bask in all the 3D goodness they can. Then there will be others who will buy a 3D TV because it’s what they’re told they need. They’ll drop a big chunk of change (or ANOTHER big chunk of change) on a TV they’ll never use to it’s full capability.

At this point it’s unclear whether 3D is something that really enhances the movie-going experience for most people or if it’s just a novelty that’ll wear off. Wear off like it already did once. Until that point it cleared up, you’re going to be told that 3D is the future and you better get on board and buy a new TV, relegating your new HDTV to the rumpus room or the kid’s room or something.

Just, before you buy, think about how much you’ll actually watch 3D on your TV and how much you’ll enjoy wearing glasses or trying to wear glasses over your prescription glasses. Or how much it’ll cost to buy 3D glasses for the whole family. Or buy a 3D-capable DVD player. Or a 3D-capable Blu-ray player. You get the drift: it’s more about a new revenue stream than a new presentation platform. Caveat emptor.

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