Monday, June 17, 2013

Technology Update – The Demise of 3-D TV?

By Ken Parker

Among all the announcements of new gaming and operating systems this past week perhaps the biggest announcement for TV fans is that ESPN is ceasing 3D broadcasts by the end of the year.  This is huge because it basically puts the nail in the coffin for the future of 3D TV.  I would expect 3-D on TV to dwindle and finally become the passing fad it was destined to become.  This does not mean that 3-D TVs are done for.  There could still be a market for 3-D blu ray and TVs.  Of course 3-D movies have not been completely dominating the box office.  Sure, they make a lot of money but so does 2-D.  So it would seem that 3-D movies may be showing signs of mortality.

If that is indeed the case there could be a cascading affect that will lead to 3-D’s demise.  I am not a big fan of the current 3-D technology used in movies.  Sure, it can be cool but ultimately it is a gimmick.  The process tricks the eye and creates a fake perspective that, if done properly, can be pretty spectacular.  But that trick grows tiresome as you watch a film.  You get used to it and by the end you become accustomed to the 3-D and it doesn’t seem to be as powerful – at least that is how I see it.

The extra cost, the need to wear glasses and the fact that some people cannot see the 3-D are negatives that cannot be ignored.  The day that 3-D returns without one or more of these negatives is the day it could do well again.

Since there are still many 3-D films out there, the overflow to 3-D blu-ray and TVs will continue for a time.  Niche groups will still take part in this technology but I would expect costs of 3-D Tvs and blu rays to fall drastically over the next year.  This may give fence dwellers reason to go to 3-D for their home movies.
I still think Hollywood wants 3-D in their movies and until something else comes to take 3-D’s spot, you will continue to see it for years to come. 

There is a move toward 4K technology.  Currently HD utilizes up to 1920x1080 lines of resolution.  The planned Ultra High Definition would either be 3840x2160 (4K) or 7650x4320 (8K).  4K seems to be the format that is gaining momentum as there are already 4K TVs in production.  This increase in resolution will improve the quality of TV and movies as it almost doubles the resolution.  I am not sure how much the human eye can discern the differences between HD and UHD on relatively smaller TVs (55” or lower) but 4K will give us the ability to view much larger screens with little noticeable pixilation.  Movie screens would benefit the most. While I was all for HD initially I am not sure if 4K is a huge benefit – time will tell.

Anyhow, 4K could be the next big thing and if Hollywood can climb on board another technology change soon, it may dump 3-D entirely. I don't know anyone who watches 3-D TV so I don't think this is really a big deal but I know many people who enjoy 3-D movies.  We shall see.

1 comment:

  1. I hate 3-D movies. So good glad it is finally waning.