May 22, 2009
| by Arlen Schweiger
That’s where Hollywood will need to be as innovative as the manufacturers in keeping the 3D momentum going. DreamWorks, which released Monsters vs. Aliens, announced that starting this year it would produce all of its movies in stereoscopic 3D technology (the traditional layered image approach) throughout the process rather than add it during post-production. Live-action feature Avatar from Titanic director James Cameron is expected to hit IMAX and commercial cinemas this December, capping a year that will see more than a dozen 3D releases.
The hard part may be bringing that Hollywood magic to the small (or not-so-small) screen. So Blu-ray seems to be getting serious this week with its task force announcement. There’s already been a casualty of promising technology—last summer, Philips unveiled “2D-plus-Depth” to enhance Blu-ray discs for 3D viewing in a non-glasses manner, but the company ended up shuttering that division in April.
A handful of 3D titles have been released on Blu-ray for your HDTV viewing pleasure—such as The Polar Express, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and My Bloody Valentine. Reaction has been a mixed bag judging from online user reviews, as commenters have found the 3D video effects everything from dazzling to headache inducing. Don’t expect live sporting events telecast in costly 3D production to your HDTVs quite yet, though, but you can bet on seeing more special cinematic showings after this year’s BCS championship and NBA All-Star successes.
From Blu-ray.com, a couple of comments on The Polar Express in 3D. And remember, these are from positive reviews of the 2D version:
—While the 2-D version is great, the 3-D version seems like a half-hearted effort I really struggled to get through the film and its very doubtful if I can ever watch it again in 3-D. 3-D once again is a great idea yet to be fully realized.
—I never owned any version of The Polar Express, but decided to go with the 2-D/3-D version….thinking the 3-D would be cool…...THINK AGAIN…you feel the depth perception but you still most of the time see double….after 15mins, I was getting a headache….so I switched to the 2-D version…. So here is the breakdown…. 2-D version VIDEO - 4.0 stars, 3-D version VIDEO - 1.0 stars. Buy at your own risk….cool gimick…doesn’t work.
Not withstanding all of the impending movie and Blu-ray releases, perhaps 3D’s biggest foot in your home’s door will come through video gaming. There’s a reason Mitsubishi has teamed with home theater PC (HTPC) maker Aspen Media Products and visual graphics developer Nvidia to demo the 3D solution—PC gaming is the most readily available and easily transferable 3D content out there.
Nvidia’s GeForce processors can convert many standard PC games to stereoscopic 3D—it’s been tested with more than 350 games, so there’s plenty of variety—so the combination of HTPC and 3D-ready HDTV is a powerfully immersive one. Add some surround sound to that 82-inch high-def TV, and you’ll feel like you’re right on the battlefield playing that first-person shooter game. And yes, you’ll still need the glasses.
So are you ready for more 3D, or have you heard enough already?
Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.