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Today’s revolution: 3D television

March 10, 2010

How’s that high definition TV working out for you? Shiny, is it? Enjoy being at the forefront of the HD revolution while you can, because that feeling may be short lived. Yesterday Samsung unveiled their latest 3D television at a press conference in New York, and it’ll be in the shops in the UK within weeks. “It’s quite simply the entertainment revolution of our time,” gushed Jeffrey Katzenberg, head of Dreamworks. “It’s as important as the introduction of sound or colour.”

It’s funny he should say that, and not just because he makes 3D movies, but because that’s exactly what they said about HD. “Not since the introduction of colour in the 1970s will there have been such a revolution in quality of viewing” said the Times in 2006. One cable service is still talking about it in the future tense, claiming “High Definition will be the biggest revolution in TV for years”. The latest Sky ad sells HD as “the ultimate TV experience”. I guess not.

It’s also funny because 3D viewing has been predicted as the next frontier of entertainment every decade since about 1890, when the first 3D film was shown. There was Teleview in the 1920s, Polaroid tinkered with it in the 30s, it was a big 1950s craze, and then the 70s had Stereovision. You could enjoy 3D horror films with names like ‘Comin’ at Ya!’ in the 1980s, and then then we had IMAX. None of these technological developments have been as exciting as the one predicted. In 1974,  futurist Bob Mackenzie said 3D television was “technically feasible through ionization of alpha particles in the air that fills the living room”, which sounds much interesting than Samsung’s LED-with-bells-on model.

I doubt that it is a revolution, any more than HD has been. There are only so many revolutions you can experience in one lifetime after all, and I’m still trying to work out how to live with the internet. So I won’t be rushing out to buy a 3D television. Besides, there’s been a recession on, and the technology companies might be pushing the consumer treadmill up one speed too many. I’ve been into the pawn shop in Luton, and it is piled to the ceiling with HD televisions.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 29, 2010 10:09 am

    The 3-D experience is definitely an enjoyable one though.

    We recently saw Avatar in the 3-D IMAX and it was *amazing*.

    Maybe also, if regular TV were in 3-D, people may begin to see “through” alot of b.s. that is on it 😉

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