The present and future of post production business and technology | Philip Hodgetts

Jun/10

15

Consumers Put 3D TV to the Test

I’m somewhat of a 3D skeptic, particularly when it comes to 3D Television in the home.  I’m fairly comfortable with the cinema experience (although the darker images, awareness of the glasses framing the screen and directors throwing things at me all the time are negatives in my opinion), but I just don’t see how the 3D experience will work with the way we view Television.

In the current issue of DV Magazine, editor David Williams asks why anyone wouldn’t want 3D in the home. My response is that, with glasses, it fundamentally does not fit with the way we watch TV. We don’t just watch TV silently. If I wanted that I’d watch on my laptop, and work on email or Twitter or curating my photo library or something else.

In both cases, glasses would get in the way. It can take us 3 hours to watch a 1 hour (44 min) TV show because we’ll stop and discuss something that the show triggered or we remembered. Glass off, back to TV, glasses on. Or Greg will be cooking while watching TV. Again glasses are incompatible.
The same limitations do not apply to color, stereo sound or HD.
It basically comes down to: TV watching is not a monotasking activity. It’s not sufficiently compelling to do that, so we multi-task with conversations, or while working on another screen.
And I see 3D being incredibly difficult in that situation, even without glasses.
OTOH, I see it working for those who are dedicated sports folk who don’t interact much with other people while watching sports (there goes the Superbowl party).
3D gaming, definitely killer. 3D cinema, bound to be good when done well, but 3D TV in the home. I remain skeptical.
Similarly the folk who viewed 3D for the Technologizer article seems interested but not enough to want to spend money:

Glasses, in fact, were the biggest obstacle. “You’re going to ask friends and family to spend $150-$200 on a pair of glasses?” Tom asked. The cost would be prohibitive if he wanted to invite friends over for a football game or a movie. The group was simply incredulous when I explained that glasses from one manufacturer wouldn’t work with TVs from another. Third-party universal models are coming out, however; and Samsung has vaguely promised future interoperable models.

Reactions were the same at the World Cup screening. While I was watching, a family came up to look at the TV. I offered the boy, about 4, my pair of glasses. He tried them for about a second, then pulled them off. His dad, probably in his 40s, was about as enthusiastic. “I like the TV, but will probably never buy the glasses,” he said, adding, “Only one percent of the programming is in 3D. And then you gotta buy the $500 player.” (Samsung’s BD-C6900 actually lists for $400.)

My new German friends felt the same. “We would pay a little more,” said Astrid, “because we’re technology freaks.” But she felt the premium was too much today. “We just bought our first flat screen in the fall,” she added,” saying it would be a while before they got another TV.

Tom, from the first group, may have summed up everyone’s opinion when he said “I could see buying this in maybe five years, when there’s more content and cheaper glasses”

 

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