Published at: 02:07 pm – Monday July 05 2010
You finally thought it was safe to scrap that two hundred pound rear screen projection television, (which had been reliably entertaining you for a decade or two), and you sprung for that thinner, wider, lighter, energy friendly High Definition flat panel tv. Well, the television manufacturers have come up with another way to try to separate us from our hard earned money. It’s my opinion that the idea that 3-D content is going to become widespread within the next few years thanks to Hollywood and sporting events isn’t likely. 3-D has the œchicken and egg phenomenon of needing quality content before consumers invest in the hardware while hardware manufacturers need widespread adoption in order to lower the prices of the equipment so more consumers adopt. It also reminds me of lessons learned while getting my MBA: marketers want to make what they can sell, engineers want to sell what they can make – even if no one is buying. œBuild it and they will come may have worked for a baseball field in œField of Dreams but I don’t think it’s going to translate to 3D. Especially when 3D-capable Tv manufacturers are attaching warnings of motion sickness, perceptual after effects, epileptic seizures or strokes and to consult a medical specialist before using the 3D function. It sounds like a drug commercial to me.
Maybe you’re thinking that there really aren’t that many films that have been released in 3D and it will take years to create enough content to warrant spending your money on a 3D television, and you’d be right, but,
Remember when they started taking old black and white classics and colorizing them so they could re-release them and once again separate us from our hard earned dollars? Well, technology strikes again and a process called depth processing can be used to create 3D scenes from all those old films and videos to achieve a ‘3D look’. I bet that is just what you were waiting for.
My stroll through the mega booths at the National Association of Broadcasters Convention in April in Vegas revealed that LG, Toshiba, Sony, JVC and Panasonic all had plans to introduce 3D capabilities in 2010 and Samsung had already begun selling its first 3D ready Tv in February. 3D Blu-ray players are already on sale, DirecTV 3D broadcasts began with the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Time Warner has 2 slots on its schedule for 3D and others have plans or are already broadcasting.
One of my pet peeves about 3D is that I don’t want to sit at home wearing colored glasses or glasses with wires that plug into something. Interestingly, Philips was developing 3D television sets that wouldn’t require the need for special glasses, but apparently changed their mind due to the current world economy and the slow adoption of customers moving to 3D.
I should clarify that while various manufacturers are developing 3D Tv’s, there is currently no universal technical standard for the format.
Fortunately, the entertainment industry is expected to adopt a compatible standard for 3D in home electronics. But as I recall it took them over a decade to finalize standards for HD, so I’m not holding my breath. In August 2008, SMPTE (one of the major standards organizations) established the “3-D Home Display Formats Task Force” to define the parameters of a stereoscopic 3D mastering standard for content viewed on any fixed device in the home, no matter the delivery channel.
While I have prided myself as a video pioneer and enjoyed experimenting on ‘the bleeding edge’ of video technology during the past 30+ years while producing videos for our clients, I’m going to sit on the sidelines for a while as I did for High Definition DVD’s. On that battle, I waited until the shakeout left only Bluray standing (it was a very short battle). I’ve seen a major shift in the delivery format of the video productions which we produce for our clients as the internet has become more robust. Currently over 90% of our corporate video production work is delivered digitally for use online, as of course are 100% of our multi-camera webcasts of meetings, seminars and continuing education projects. For now, I’m happy with my non-3D High Definition projector, projecting a 10’ diagonal image on my family room wall and watching movies without special glasses and the headache I usually get from extended 3D viewing.