3D is the next big step forward in the entertainment industry. Hit movies like Avatar and 2010’s Alice in Wonderland, along with the ever-growing cornucopia of Disney and other animated films, have shown how well 3D technology can be utilized in theaters. It may seem like a stretch to think that technology like this will be coming to your living room soon, but the truth is that certain television companies (Ex. Mitsubishi and Phillips) already have early models available for purchase. The big four in TV manufacturing (Samsung, Sony, LG, and Panasonic) are scheduled to come out with their models at some point in 2010.
We know that COED readers are cutting-edge when it comes to technology, so we wanted to help you stay on top of the latest trend by giving you the low-down on what’s coming.
Price Range: So far, manufacturers are stating and pricing their 3D ready TV sets at a comparable cost to that of a similar HDTV, so somewhere in the range of $1000 – $2499. The problem with that statement is that price is for the basic components (ie. the TV set, some cables, and hopefully the glasses), but there are more costs than that. Broadcasting, players, movies, and so on. Think of the cost of a 3D set up as that of an entirely new set up, since most things will need to be replaced, or upgraded to function in the 3D world.
3D Glasses: As of yet, there is no way to make a static screen 3D to the naked eye. You will need to have glasses with your 3D-TV, although they are very different from the paper copies you grew up with, or the fancy new plastic ones they let you use at the movie theater.
3D Broadcasting: The most lacking part of the 3D-TV canon right now is the content. 3D viewing requires different levels of programming which require expensive and uncommon filming and editing methods. There is currently very few content distributors working on the 3D programming. Although the 3D-TVs do still function as HDTVs just in case you were scared of the thought of a $2500 TV with 3 channels.
Tests are being done on filming football games and other sporting events in 3D with multi-lens cameras. With the exception of Planet Earth, there is very little out there for the 3D viewer. Don’t expect all your favorite shows to go 3D until more people buy 3D sets.
There is also the idea of the 3DDVD (3DVD? I like the 3VD) which are supposedly on sale right now for use with similarly rare 3DDVD players. I undertook a search to find a 3VD, the results were impossibly diluted with movies that are 3D with old-fashioned paper and plastic glasses.
3D Gaming!? Yes, you can currently own (though I don’t know if anyone does) a setup that can be used to play certain video games in 3D. Some game reviewers like to joke that a game can be played in 3D for all 4 people who have the setup required.
And all you need to play a 3D game is a PS3 (Possibly an Xbox 360), a 3D-TV, a cable that can only be formed in the depths of a volcano, and two ancient wizards. Gaming is more of a dream than a usable idea right now. But give it time and add in the idea of the motion controllers of the Wii and the eventual release of Playstation Motion, and Xbox’s Project Natal, the 3D gaming experience may, in time be something revolutionary.
Some Reality: In complete honesty, 3D-TVs are, for now at least, nothing more than pure novelty. It may be a good idea, a good piece of technology that will rule all of our lives in a couple of years. The tech is still new, especially in a commercial sense, so the uses are very limited both by the tech itself, as well as content manufacturers. The only reason you should buy a 3D-TV right now is if you truly want to be an early adopter for the pure honor of being able to say “I had 3D when you were all still watching in 2D.” If you’re not dead set on being a 3D trendsetter, wait a few more months, and put it on your wish list for 2011.