Still Skeptical About the Future of 3D
published onNovember 7, 2011

More than a year ago, JD Pro’s Jonathan Joyce was live on Blog Talk Radio’s Technical Tidbits talking about (among many other things) the future of 3D in homes, sports bars, clubs and restaurants.

We basically said the future of 3D just isn’t that bright. And we still feel that way. This year’s CES and InfoCOMM shows brought a lot of buzz about passive 3D (click here to see a video about the technology). But it still hasn’t caught on the way manufacturers and the public was expecting. Maybe people don’t like to sit in bars (or at home) wearing funny glasses, even if everyone else is wearing them, too.

But the truth is, the problem with 3D isn’t so much the technology of the 3D, (which is really cool!) but the production quality, and, according to a new survey by Retrevo Labs, the quantity of 3D content. According to the study, 40 percent of people who plan to buy a new HDTV — but not a 3D HDTV — say it’s because there’s just not enough 3D programming. Another 30 percent don’t like the glasses.

Still, I wonder how many people might change their minds if the 3D content that was out there was good quality, where it didn’t look and feel like an afterthought but actually added to the viewing experience.

You know, if Hollywood would make good 3D — 3D worth watching that was actually better than the 2D counterpart — people might enjoy it. Content is king. (Where have we heard that before?) All the pretty packaging in the world isn’t going to make up for lame 3D effects.

Then there’s the fact that a lot of people just don’t really enjoy the whole 3D, have-random-things-jump-out-at-you-while-you’re-watching-a-movie, experience. And if a good story doesn’t take center stage, there’s even less point to it. It’s the same thing with 2D moviemaking. We love special effects as much as the next guy, but if the story isn’t good, the effects get old fast.

So. Hollywood is making good stories with bad special effects, or bad stories with 3D that’s supposed to impress us but still falls short. And, in either event, they’re not making enough of it, and especially not for TV.

This — not the technology — is the real problem. And until the 3D concept can catch up, I stand by what I said previously… Whether you’re talking about a home theatre or a commercial installation, you can spend your AV budget in better ways.