|Posted on March 11, 2010 at 1:11 PM|
Can we all get together in a drum circle and bang out a few beats to slow down the marketing juggernaut which is 3D TV? Seriously, it's not even really out yet (though Panasonic had a small roll-out this week at select Best Buy Magnolia stores) and yet it is ALL anyone in the industry can talk about. Google CES 2010 and see if your browser doesn't choke on 3D results. Rather than straddling the fence on 3D, I'm still pretty much in the 2D camp, looking over the fence, sneering and hocking the occasional loog.
Here's a few reasons why I'm already kind of over 3D.
1) Like millions of people, I just upgraded my old HDTV. (Which, incidentally, was an upgrade to a previous HDTV...) I'm not going to replace my 60-inch Pioneer Elite (or, dear God, my Marantz front projector) after about 1.5 years of service.
1A) Did I say upgraded my TV? What about also upgraded my Blu-ray AND my A/V processor. For 3D to work, you'll need all new, HDMI 1.4a compliant stuff. Better call Visa and give that limit a bump. (I'm assuming that my remote control system will be immune, just requiring hours of reprogramming...)
2) 3D kind of feels like a marketing bum-rush. TV manufacturers have run out of compelling ways to get us to buy new sets so they're looking for that next killer app, even if it isn't that killer.
"Quick, boys! We've reached 2 million pixels of resolution, 480-hertz refresh rates, added Web connectivity and dropped the prices to the point where we're losing money on each set. We've used technology like Plasma, LED, and even frickin' lasers! What can we do to sell some sets here?"
"Uhhh, people seem to like Avatar."
"Avatar? The movie that lost best picture?"
"Well, umm, I was thinking more about the movie that has grossed more than any other film of all time."
"Sounds like a winner. What makes it tick?"
"3D you say? Do it! Now, someone get me marketing!"
3) I've seen the 3D demos. In fact, I think I've seen just about all of them, even ones behind closed doors where you can't talk about them, and while it is pretty cool for 10-15 minutes, I don't want to wear glasses when I watch TV. An event movie like (OK, I'll say it, though realize it is begrudgingly) Avatar sure, but even then, at the 2 hour mark, I'm rubbing my eyes.
4) I do other things when I'm watching TV. Much to my wife's delight, I like to surf the Net, check e-mail, sometimes write product reviews, read a magazine, stare into a ruby-red glass of Cabernet and dream, whatever.
5) How many pair of glasses do I need to buy? The first TV bundle will include A PAIR of glasses. I guess that's actually OK, cause the majority of people buying this first batch of sets probably live alone, so.... But, for the rest of us, that will mean ponying up for multiple extra sets of $149-199 glasses. "Gee, I'd love to have you over for a movie, but... Say, here's a jolly of a roger, why don't you give me $400 and I'll buy you and your wife a set of glasses so you can enjoy the show." And you just KNOW that they glasses you buy for your set won't work with my set, so there'll be none of that hey-bring-your-Wii-remote over stuff.
6) Hardware is all well and good, but as my man Bill Gates ("I call him money for short...") likes to say, Software is Emperor. (OK, maybe BG never said that, but you know he thinks it every time he ponders his 10-figure bank statement.) Until there is a BUNCH of good software, your new 3D TV is just like my 2D TV. (Actually, I have a Pioneer Elite, so it isn't even as good as my TV. Sorry.) And how many people are going to spend $3000 to watch Avatar? (PS: Little heads-up; they say it won't even be out on 3D Blu-ray this year. So I hope you really like watching animation!)
7) A great movie (Up) doesn't need 3D, and a bad movie (Journey to the Center of the Earth) isn't saved by it.