Zach Margolis


The Third Dimension

Sunday February 1st, 2009

3D is a great buzzword. So you'd think 3D movies and TV would be a great thing, like holograms and transporters. However, I think that history has shown 3D won't ever become truly popular.

There's always some new 3D tech that claims to be super realistic, and this year's Superbowl has 3D Commercials. While the video doesn't seem ridiculous viewed without glasses, that fact that you still need to buy glasses is a problem.

At CES in Las Vegas this year, 3D was super trendy. Lots of TVs with built-in 3D, and games like Guitar Hero were modded to have 3D aspects to demonstrate the new 3D specs. I can't say that makes me excited. I remember a trendy 3D dinosaur game back on my grandpa's computer (roughly the early/mid 90')s, and it wasn't a very fun experience.

The glasses are the Achilles' heel of 3D. The glasses for TV shows and Superbowl ads are all disposable, so (go figure) people dispose of them when they're done. In an imaginary world where 3D really hits it big, would people really go out of their way to more permanent ones? I vote no. If you wear perscription glasses, then 3D glasses are still just a hassle.

One possible solution would be high adoption of 3D TVs, without glasses. These 3D TVs basically show viewers multiple separate images at the same time by basically vertically striping them. Depending on your angle from the TV, you see different vertical stripes, and then a 3D angle. Sure, in the case that every home in America gets one of these, 3D will have really caught on.

But not so fast—two other trends claimed to be able to revolutionize regular old American TV viewing: digital TV, and High Definition TV. They've both lagged a lot in adoption. The Digital TV switchover was mandated by the US Government, and has been hitting some snags as the blackout date approaches. Something on the order of 7% of people are completely unprepared (source: Engadget, and a number of small stations are not prepared either. As for HDTV, adoption is accelerating, but even the most generous numbers would put it at 25% of American households. This is a significant number, but still, that means at least three out of four households do not have an HDTV.

So if Digital and HDTV have had such lackluster attach rates, why on Earth would 3D be any better? Either route that 3D takes, glasses or no glasses, it will be met with too much resistance. I think that 3D is a nice gimmick, but I sincerely doubt that it will ever be a regular part household entertainment.

Tags: life ramblings


Those commercials were kind of annoying to watch without the glasses. All I kept thinking was "Is this still in 3D"
Oley on February 3rd at 9:25 AM

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