The dawn, or is this maybe the second or third dawn of 3D is upon us. We have seen 3D promoted heavily in the 80s and early 90s, with cinemas offering films in 3D all that time ago. With the origins of stereotropic 3D going as far back as the 1800s what makes anyone think this will be a big deal now and no less of a gimmick than it has been in the past?
My first experience of this new wave of 3D was Avatar and I have to admit it looked impressive enough on a large cinema screen, but is it the future? I’m not wholly convinced and after a couple of hours wearing the specs I felt uncomfortable enough and feeling slight eyestrain that I actually looked forward to taking them off.
Sony has a very keen interest in this particular area. Not only do they own several film production companies pumping out 3D to your local cinemas, but they also have a distribution platform to push 3D films into your homes via BluRay. Combine this with their own range of TVs and the need to add a differentiating factor to the Playstation 3’s offering and it’s easy to see why Sony have so much attention focused on 3D tech. It’s potentially a major selling point.
Will people jump on-board 3D like they did HD? Long term maybe and I’m thinking that’s a big maybe at present. It all depends on the cost and considerations of how much potential usage we are likely to see from such a purchase. On the TV front even HD isn’t as commonplace as we would like, without mentioning 3D broadcasts I’d like to see HD content becoming the standard first. And we all know exactly where any 3DTV is going it’ll be going Sky TV’s way. Which means more cost and yet another set-top box purchase.
One area I see potentially driving things forward is on the console front. As I mentioned Sony in particular is looking for more ways to make the Playstation 3 console more attractive to people who either own or would own an Xbox 360. If they can offer several must have 3D games then gamers being the tech savvy people they are will most likely jump on-board and make the necessary purchases.
Then you have the issue of glasses. For people like me who already wear glasses and find them an annoying addition to my face, the average person is going to hate the awkwardness of specs just to watch telly and when you already wear glasses you’ll look even more unconventional and feel twice as uncomfortable.
Potentially manufactures are holding back technology as well. What if there were a way to see 3D without the inconvenience of eyewear, wouldn’t that be a massive improvement? Turns out there is such technology and nobody is making a big deal about it. Auto-stereoscopic 3D is a system that involves layering the 3D display with lenses that produce a 3D image without the need for glasses. From what I hear this tech which currently produces a slightly less convincing 3D image is already in working form and being demonstrated but its promotion is currently scarce. Is this potential for a 2nd generation of 3DTVs once the first wave of glasses based versions take off?
I guess this will all come down to one thing, cost, which for the average Joe is going to cost a pretty penny and cost even more to make use of. It doesn’t stop with the TV set, you then need a games console, set-top box and monthly subscription, BluRays and possibly another BluRay player if you own an incompatible one all to service that 3DTV with something to display. In the current economic climate and with threats of VAT and tax increases in the already heavily taxed UK, I can’t see this coming off personally.